Build the skills you need to formulate and implement an organization’s key strategies.

The Strategy & Innovation concentration prepares students for a career in consulting, or ones that involve firm and industry analysis, such as business-development jobs, leadership or rotational program positions, or business-analyst roles. The concentration is also well suited for students seeking general management or project-based work at small, family-owned or entrepreneurial firms, or careers in innovation or technology commercialization. It teaches students to apply tools and concepts from industrial economics, strategy, and organization theory to analyze and solve real business problems and formulate practical solutions.

In addition, the Strategy & Innovation concentration can be coupled with the Health Sector MBA, Public & Nonprofit MBA, or MBA+ MS in Digital innovation programs, or with one of the other concentrations such as marketing, finance, or international management. The choice is yours – you’ll receive a personalized degree because we give you the freedom to tailor it to fit your goals.

MBA Core (1)

The following course is part of the MBA core and is also required for the Strategy concentration:

  • Competition, Innovation, and Strategy (QSTSI750)

    "Competition, Innovation, and Strategy" is an integrative course designed to capitalize on your understanding of Finance, Operations Management, Marketing, and other functional issues. The course draws on a number of academic disciplines, especially economics, organization theory, and sociology, to build a fundamental understanding of how and why some firms achieve and sustain superior performance. We also study why some firms persistently generate returns that are lower than average. The course is analytically focused and requires that you evaluate both the external environment and the internal capabilities of organizations. Corporate diversification and global management are important topics that are also featured.


  • Competition, Innovation, and Strategy (QSTSI751)

    "Competition, Innovation, and Strategy" is an integrative course designed to capitalize on your understanding of Finance, Operations Management, Marketing, and other functional issues. The course draws on a number of academic disciplines, especially economics, organization theory, and sociology, to build a fundamental understanding of how and why some firms achieve and sustain superior performance. We also study why some firms persistently generate returns that are lower than average. The course is analytically focused and requires that you evaluate both the external environment and the internal capabilities of organizations. Corporate diversification and global management are important topics that are also featured.

Required Courses (3)

Three courses from the following list are required:

  • Intellectual Property Strategies (QSTSI814)

    This course covers the ways in which companies use intellectual property to protect their investments in knowledge assets. Traditionally a concern for technology-intensive businesses, patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets have become important business tools throughout the knowledge-based economy. A good understanding of what IP assets are and how they work has become essential for managers in all types of organizations. This is not a law course, nor a how-to manual rather it is intended to develop your analytical understanding of fundamental economic and legal aspects of intellectual property systems, and how they drive competition and strategy.

  • Corporate Strategies for Growth (QSTSI830)

    This course will examine strategies for firm growth that involve expanding the range of the firm's business activities. We will study strategic logics underlying vertical integration, franchising, related and unrelated diversification, alliances, corporate venturing and spinouts, and other such strategies. We will also study the management challenges associated with these strategies, including designing organizational structures and managerial incentives, managing acquisitions, structuring supplier relationships, and fostering organizational cultures.

  • Design Thinking and Innovation (QSTSI839)

    This class will examine how managers and leaders can create the conditions for innovation at the individual, team and organizational levels - and how those conditions differ for startup and mature organizations. Managing innovation includes the generation of ideas; the integration of ideas into new product concepts; and the commercialization of ideas. While core strategy courses address the questions of what innovations to pursue and whether and when those innovations will bring value, this course addresses the question of how managers can create organizations to deliver innovations of value. Thus, the course will focus on the practices and processes that mangers need to put in place to enable organizations to execute on an innovation strategy. In doing so, students will evaluate how to balance the challenges of organizing, managing and leading innovation with the need to produce concrete, routine and expected outcomes within the organization. To be innovative, any new idea must resolve the innovation paradox - introducing enough novelty to appeal to new markets while retaining enough familiarity to tap into existing behaviors. Because design and innovation are frequently inseparable in managing this paradox, the class will assess how design contributes to innovation in product, process and business models across industry sectors. The course will also consider the role that all sources of innovation play - including communities, networks, brokers and other forms of open innovation. Students will be asked to reflect upon innovations that have been critical to their lives, and how these innovations were produced and gained market traction. Final group projects will explore how to "rescue" innovations in trouble with turnaround teams.

  • Technology Strategy (QSTSI845)

    Technology Strategy focuses on the interface between technological innovation and strategic management. This advanced strategy course covers the tools and concepts needed to understand how technological change creates new markets and new wealth; how technology-intensive industries differ from other industries; and the type of capabilities that technology-based firms need at different stages of their rapidly evolving industries. Some of the key topics covered include: platform dynamics and business models, standards wars, technology diffusion, technological discontinuities and disruptive innovation, models of industry evolution, dominant technological designs, complementary assets needed to profit from an innovation, and mechanisms to protect intellectual property. The course provides a rigorous treatment of the topics covered, combined with hands-on exercises and projects to help students apply the concepts to specific companies and technologies. Teaching methodology is a combination of interactive class discussions, online simulations, digital multimedia cases, paper-based cases, and guest speakers from industry. The course has been designed to provide students with a solid foundation of theories, tools, techniques and practices that will allow them to understand how to compete successfully in technology- intensive environments.

  • Strategy Implementation (QSTSI859)

    Gain the skills and know-how to manage up and across your organization, passing the normal organizational tests along the way from technical expert to cross-functional integrator to directing the future course of your organization. This is strategy implementation for the middle manager who needs to 1) size-up the situation and 2) determine how to gain the power needed to achieve their objectives. One of the qualitative factors that will be explored in great detail is personal style choice vis a vis different stakeholders and organizational politics and the resultant perceptions of you and your programs. Students will study both successful and less-successful managers through cases and readings, honing their own, personal managerial style.

  • Public Policy Analysis (QSTPL882)

    This course explores the economics of the public sector and the impact government policy and programs have on society and business. The course provides students with tools to systematically examine the financing and measure the impact of government policies and regulations. It explores the rationale for government intervention, appropriate levels of intervention and how to measure the effectiveness of policies and regulations. This course is helpful to those who desire a deeper understanding of the central role government plays in the economy and how government impacts the business and nonprofit sectors.

Elective Courses (1)

One course from the following list is required:

  • Corporate Financial Management (QSTFE820)

    This course provides an in-depth analysis of financial considerations relating to corporate growth. It addresses the setting of financial and corporate goals in terms of maximizing shareholder wealth and relationships among working capital, debt levels, capital costs, dividend policy, growth and the value of the firm. It also considers the requisite financial analysis associated with mergers and acquisitions and bankruptcy.

  • Platforms and Information Markets (QSTIS827)

    To thrive in modern economies, managers, entrepreneurs and investors need a thorough understanding of business platforms. Thousands of firms, from Facebook to Salesforce, now operate as open ecosystems that match buyers and sellers, gain value and market share from network effects, and harness their users to innovate. Drawing on cases from social media, entrepreneurship, enterprise software, mobile services, healthcare, and consumer products, students will analyze and learn to negotiate platform startup, convert existing businesses, and make vital decisions on issues of openness, cannibalization, and competition. Students will interact with execs of major firms such as Cisco and SAP and with startups. They will learn to apply concepts from two sided networks, industrial organization, information asymmetry, pricing, intellectual property, and game theory to real problems. Known worldwide for his work on network business models, Professor Van Alstyne provides students with the tools to leverage key principles into hands-on creation and management of real-world platforms.

  • Global Strategic Marketing (QSTMK853)

    This course focuses on the key strategic marketing decisions managers must make: deciding whether to market globally; selecting countries in which to market; choosing marketing strategies and tactics for entry and growth; and organizing for and managing the implementation of global marketing strategies. The course uses a combination of cases, recent articles, current events and frameworks to provide evergreen lessons for application in ever changing real world situations. Global CEO, CMOs and GMs will provide real world experience as guest speakers in the class. Every business person has to have a global perspective and this class provides that for all business and/or marketing students.

  • Branding (QSTMK854)

    This is a course about branding, and the ways that brands acquire and sustain value in the marketplace. Cases, readings, in-class discussions, and team/individual assignments are designed to provide: An appreciation of the strategic discipline of branding and its role in creating shareholder value; an understanding of brands as co-creations of consumers, marketers, and cultures, and brand management as a collaborative process of meaning management; a sound foundation in consumer-brand behavior to inform brand decisions; and a capacity to think creatively and precisely about the strategies and tactics involved in building, leveraging, defending, and sustaining strong brands. Select topics may include brand equity, brand (re)positioning, brand relationships, brand loyalty, brand community, open source branding, branded entertainment and other cultural branding strategies, internal branding, brand architecture design and portfolio strategy, brand leverage and extensions, brand metrics, crisis management, and brand stewardship. Guest speakers from branding services, consulting, and practice provide insights throughout the course. While this course has obvious relevance for those contemplating brand management careers in product or service markets, it is appropriate for a range of future professionals within for-profit and not-for-profit C2C and B2B worlds, and others who share a simple passion for branding.

  • Pricing Strategy and Tactics (QSTMK864)

    This course focuses on the practical needs of the marketing manager making pricing decisions. Students learn the techniques of strategic analysis necessary to price more profitably by evaluating the price sensitivity of buyers, determining relevant costs, anticipating and influencing competitors' pricing and formulating an appropriate pricing strategy.

  • Management Consulting Field Project (QSTOB840)

    The purpose of this course is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the management consulting process and its practical application. Students will explore dimensions of the consulting framework, engagements, work methodology, client relationship management, value creation, developing and delivering presentations and client follow-up. This course requires a series of interim deliverables contributing toward the final deliverable. This course is primarily a field-based course supported by lectures, readings, guest speakers and case discussions. The course simulates a small consulting firm where you are the consultant. By working on a consulting assignment with team members as well as using your classmates as resources for your project you are gaining the "real world" experience of working in a small consulting firm. This class is designed and best suited for second year students who have 3-5 years work experience in the public, private or nonprofit sectors. Management consulting experience is not required though it is helpful.

  • Competitive Decision Making (QSTPL815)

    This course explores the strategies of decision-makers in a variety of competitive situations. The main topics apply game theory in a number of settings: 1) market competition; 2) competitive bidding; 3) bargaining, negotiation, and arbitration; and 4) group decisions in organizations. In most of these settings, optimal decisions call for cooperation as well as competition. Examples are drawn from a wide variety of managerial settings. Extensive use is made of interactive exercises, games, and simulations. OB 853 and PL 815 take complementary approaches to the study of negotiation. The former emphasizes key psychological, interpersonal, and organizational insights, while the latter focuses on economic factors and strategies. Students are free to take both courses.

  • Social Entrepreneurship (QSTPL850)

    The Social Entrepreneurship course is designed to: (1) explore the concepts, practices, opportunities, and challenges of social entrepreneurship; (2) provide frameworks and tools that will help students be more effective in this sector; and (3) provide an opportunity for students to create a business plan for a new social enterprise or an income-generating initiative of a nonprofit organization. In the business plan project, student teams will partner with external organizations. Students will identify and analyze opportunities, resources, and risks and apply skills from marketing, accounting, organizational behavior, strategy and other disciplines. Special emphasis will be placed on aspects of business planning and organizational strategy that are particularly challenging or distinctive in the social sector, including mission definition, leadership, organizational structure, raising capital, and measuring results.

  • Foundations of Environmental Sustainability (QSTSI836)

    The changing relationship between business and the natural environment offers both challenges and opportunities for firms. In this course we will discuss many facets of business, including financing, risk management, measurement, competitive positioning, innovation, and strategy in the context of increasing pressures for improved environmental sustainability. The course will be interactive and discussion-oriented, with a case discussion in most class sessions, supplemented by debates, simulation exercises, visitors, student presentations, discussions of recent news articles, and mini-lectures. The course is appropriate for all students interested in how demands for sustainability will continue to change the business environment.

  • Real Estate Development (QSTSI842)

    The course provides a framework for evaluating the aspects underlying successful real estate development from concept and feasibility, through site control to regulatory review and construction. The course is taught utilizing class discussion, cases and outside speakers to reinforce the functional areas in the development process.

  • Corporate Sustainability Strategy (QSTSI849)

    Focuses on embedding sustainability (ESG/CSR) into corporate strategy as an approach for creating long-term shareholder/stakeholder value, where value covers the broad spectrum of economic, environmental and social outcomes. Through readings, lectures, case discussions, in-class exercises, lab session and a team project, this course will: 1) Introduce students to problem framing and environmental scanning techniques as methods for understanding macro-level social, economic and environmental systems and their implications; 2) Apply a variety of long-range strategic forecasting and analysis methods, techniques and tools through a scenario planning lab simulation; 3) Develop decision frameworks for corporate strategy development focused on creating/capturing value and managing risk through a sequence of strategic actions over time; 4) Explore newly emerging paradigms for sustainability-driven innovations in product/service, value chain and business model development and stakeholder-based, non-market actions.

  • Starting New Ventures (QSTSI852)

    This course focuses on the process of identifying and obtaining the necessary resources to launch an entrepreneurial venture through the development of a business plan. A well-written business plan will communicate the business concept in a way that attracts the various resource providers necessary for the venture's success. Students will individually develop a business concept and prepare and present a professional business plan.

  • Entrepreneurship (QSTSI855)

    The course is a comprehensive introduction to the entrepreneurial process from idea generation through venture launch and later growth. Initial lectures and case studies focus on idea generation and concept feasibility along with the skills, competencies and perspectives entrepreneurs must develop to manage the organization through each phase of development. Later lectures and cases emphasize the issues faced by entrepreneurs in scaling innovative enterprises; use of strategic alliances, attracting funding and managing investors, managing growth expansion and choosing among exit options.

  • International Entrepreneurship (QSTSI856)

    This course focuses on international entrepreneurship, covering the development of skills to identify, evaluate, start and manage ventures that are international in scope. Specific topics will include market entry, forming alliances, managing growth and cross-border financing in different regions of the world. Support from local governments and the cultural, ethical, legal, and human resource issues facing the entrepreneur will also be discussed. Readings will primarily be in the form of case studies and will be supplemented with outside articles and guest speakers. Team projects addressing current events, international negotiations, and business strategies will be used to integrate the course material.

  • International Consulting Project (QSTSI868)

    Have you ever dreamed of climbing the Great Wall of China? How about consulting to a Chinese firm in Beijing? The International Consulting Project is an MBA course that involves consulting work during the fall semester on campus, with a trip to Asia in to deliver the team's recommendation personally to the client at their offices. Examples of past projects and more background can be found on this link: Much of the past students' work over the years has both been implemented and widely published in the Chinese business press.

  • Strategies for Sustainable Development (QSTSI870)

    SI870: Strategies for Sustainable Development is an advanced strategy course that explores the analysis, conceptualization and development of innovative, market-based solutions for sustainable development challenges for a future defined by natural resource, environmental and biological constraints. Specifically, the course the explores 1) the complex global context for sustainable development, 2) key stakeholders, 3) the emergent strategy (entrepreneurial) development process, method and practice, and 4) the structure, governance, and financing/microeconomics of new, emergent organizational forms and business models for sustainable development, such as cross-sector cooperative alliances, public-private partnerships with a particular focus multi-stakeholder platforms. Note: Market-based solutions for sustainable development are economically self-sustaining alternatives to traditional governmentally-funded or aid-based programs for addressing systemic social, economic and environmental problems. These solutions engage public, private, NGO and civil society actors and employ a variety in emerging organizational forms (both for profit and non-profit), innovative business models and strategies to deliver effective solutions at scale. The course takes a stakeholder-oriented, system-of-systems approach to the issues of sustainable development with a specific focus on the network of interrelated actors and interdependent issues within the class of "wicked problems"; .i.e. social, economic or environmental problems that are difficult to frame, scope and seemingly insoluble because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements. Cases, readings, video and lectures will establish global context and sustainable development worldview across nine countries; Brazil, China, India, Israel, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Africa, and explore solutions to a range of issues from energy, food, water and climate change to health, education, economic inclusion, gender equity, security, organized crime and the informal. Students will work in teams to initially identify, frame and scope a complex, global sustainable development challenge and then work throughout the semester to research, conceptualized, evaluate and propose a global initiative for a market-based solution to that challenge.

  • Strategies for Bringing Technology to Market (QSTSI871)

    Strategies for Bringing Technology to Market is a unique course that guides student teams as they undertake commercial go-to-market strategy for scientific and engineering breakthroughs. By collaborating with faculty and graduate students in the University's research labs and mentors from the business community, teams will assess the economic and social prospects of recent technology innovations, outline the technical and market risks and the key commercial milestones and make recommendations for the most effective commercialization strategy. 

Project work is supported by lectures that focus on critical skills required. Guidance will be provided in assessing critical commercialization milestones by a combination of faculty and mentors from the business community.