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F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management

Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding


Professor Waverly W. Ding Class Room: VMH 1314
Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship Section 601: Tu/Th 12:45-1:45pm
Office: 4524 Van Munching Hall Section 701: Tu/Th 2-3:15pm
Email: Section 801: Tu/Th 3:30-4:45pm
Webpage: Office hours: Tuesday 9:45-10:45am,
or by appointment

Course Overview
The course introduces you to the role of the strategic manager, someone (like a CEO) who is concerned with
the problems of and/or responsible for the overall and long-term well-being of a firm or a non-profit
organization. Implicitly or explicitly, every firm must define the scope of its business operations and, within the
chosen scope, how the firm will compete against its rivals. Decisions about the scope of business (i.e. in what
markets or industries a firm wants to compete) constitute the firms corporate strategy. Decisions about how to
compete (e.g. cost leadership or differentiation) within the chosen market(s) reflect the firms business-level
strategy. This course focuses on how a firm can formulate effective business-level and corporate-level strategies
to achieve competitive advantage and earn above average profits.

Learning Objectives
By the end of the semester, you should be able to use specific analytical tools or frame works to answer the
following questions concerning any firm:
1. Appropriately use information to assess how well the firm is doing over time and relative to its peers;
2. Describe the firms strategy and assess whether the strategy is appropriate;
3. Propose changes to the strategy to enhance, maintain or turnaround the performance of the firm.
By the end of the semester, you should be able to master the following critical thinking skills:
4. Critically think and analyze a problem including the critical evaluation of data; testing of assumptions;
and the synthesis of multiple perspectives and data points;
5. Transform research and analysis into strategic formulation;
6. Build and present strategic analysis, including organizing the data and information, drafting executive
reports, and making the presentations.

Harvard Business School Cases

All four cases we use in the course can be obtained individually from the Harvard Business Publishing
Case #505-078: Narayana Hrudayalaya Heart Hospital: Cardiac Care for the Poor (A)
Case #712-416: Wii Encore
Case #607-138: Netflix
Case #707-485: Santanders Acquisition of Abbey
Alternatively, I have also created a course pack that includes all four cases we use for the course:
BMGT495 Stragegic Management 2016 Spring HBP Course Pack
F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management
Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding

Required and Suggested Article Readings

Required article readings are listed in course outline can be accessed though university library online
database. Some of these readings are also available on Canvas.

Optional / Recommended Textbook

There is no required textbook for this course, as I rely on readings and slide for explaining core concepts and
frameworks. However, if you find it convenient to have a textbook on hand for reference purpose, the
Rothaermel textbook is recommended, or any used textbook by other authors should work fine in most cases.
Strategic Management, Concepts by Frank T. Rothaermel, ISBN: 9780077324452
Older version is fine, or any alternative strategy textbook by other authors.


Class Participation 20%

"Weekly" assignment 28%
Midterm: Interim Project Presentation 10%
Integrative Case-based Exam 20%
Course Project Report and Presentation 20%
Research Study 2%
Peer evaluation Used to adjust team-based grade component when red
flags regarding your team contribution arise

The guidelines set by the school for grading core courses are as follow: The minimum letter grade needed in
BMGT495 to satisfy the degree requirement is a C-, and the target GPA for the course is 3.25.

Course Grievance Procedure If you feel you have been graded unfairly on an assignment, exam or project, you
may use the following procedure to voice your complaint:
Within five days of receiving the grade, provide me with a written appeal. After five days, I will
consider the grade to be final.
The written appeal should detail why you think the grade is unfair. Be sure to document your reasons
by referring to inconsistency in grading standards, misinterpreted meaning, etc. Stating simply that
you feel you deserve a higher grade because you worked hard is not sufficient grounds for an
If I decide to re-grade your deliverable, I will re-read your entire deliverable. This means that while I
may adjust upward your grade regarding the point you bring up in your appeal, I may also catch
mistakes where I previously failed to notice. In total, a re-grading may end up either way: increase
grade if your appealed point has merit and I dont catch other mistakes, or decrease your grade if

F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management
Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding

Class Participation (20%)

This is a discussion-intensive class. Your classmates and I expect all students to be mentally present and ready
to be engaged in class and team discussions. To earn a high class-participation grade, the simple rule is: (i) be
prepared (reading the pre-class assignment and preparing for the discussions), and (ii) be present (by that I
mean not only being physically present, but mentally as well), and (iii) be engaged (ready to contributor to
class discussions; if you come to surf the Facebook, I prefer your not coming to class). Regular attendance is
necessary but not sufficient for an excellent grade on class participation.

"Weekly" Assignment (28%)

There will be "weekly" assignments throughout the semester (see below) through which you can earn the
28%. The double-quotation mark is used here because these assignments happen fairly frequently during the
semester, though not strictly on a weekly basis.
5 (out of 6) write-ups x 5% each = 25% of course grade: There will be 6 write-up assignments set up
for the cases and topics we are discussing in specific weeks. It usually takes the format of a write-up
less than 1 page. Each of these assignments accounts for 5% of the final course grade. I only record 5
of the highest scored assignments among all you have turned in, hence in the most ideal situation, you
can earn 25% of course grade with these assignments. In other words, you have scored perfectly for 5
write-ups, you can skip the 6th write-up assignment I listed on the course calendar.
1 ad hoc assignment x 3% each = 3% of course grade: Each student receives one of such assignment
during the semester. The format of this assignment is flexible, and based on my email communication
with you. This assignment may be asking you to prepare for leading a discussion on a topic, or asking
you to provide some examples to your class, or asking you to post a video link of yourself answering
certain discussion questions. Each person will get one of such "surprise" assignment, which, upon
completion, earn yourself another 3% of course grade.

Midterm: Interim Course Project Presentation (10%)

You work in a team of 4-6 students to study the strategy of a firm. This team project runs through the entire
semester. You will present during the dedicated mid-term presentation week interim results of your project

Integrative Case-based Exam (20%)

Think about this element as the final exam of our course. This exam is in week 12, specifically on April 21.
The exam is integrative of all concepts and frameworks learned in the course. It will be in the format of essay
questions based on cases and media examples we have discussed throughout the semester and/or current
news articles. The exam will be administered in class on April 21 and no make-ups will be considered. Hence,
please plan in advance to ensure you dont miss the scheduled exam. Note that there will be no final exam
during Smith school Finals Week.

F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management
Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding

Course Project: Final Report and Presentation (20%)

See Appendix for details on the course project report and presentation.

Peer Evaluations
Team members are encouraged to contact me with input on relative contribution of team members and
identify situations where freeriding may pose as a problem. Such information helps me notify low performers
and give them an opportunity to ramp their contribution to the teamwork. I will ask each of you to complete
a peer evaluation of members in your project team at the end of the semester. The peer evaluation will be
evaluative in that it will affect each team members grade. If your peer evaluations are not satisfactory, a
penalty will be assessed on all the team elements of the grade.

Research Study (2%)

This semester you will have the opportunity to earn 2% of credit for participating and completing two hours
of research offered by the Management and Organization (M&O) department for BMGT 495. M&O faculty
conduct experimental research that is aimed at exploring different organizational dynamics and phenomena
that relate to effective leadership, employee motivation, team competition and coordination, team
performance and effective decision making at the workplace, to name just a few. Through participation in the
studies you will be able to experience firsthand and learn about the kind of research conducted at Smith, and
reflect upon ideas you discussed in your business and management classes during your undergraduate studies
at Smith. In addition, the research conducted in the behavioral lab is published in top academic journals and
plays a crucial role in enhancing the reputation of the Smith School of Business as a leading research school
worldwide. So this is a great opportunity for you to contribute to this research endeavor and to enhance the
reputation of your school!

To earn the 2% credit, you must participate in a total of two hours of research offered for BMGT 495. Please
note that no partial credit is offered--if you participate in fewer than 2 hours of research, you will not earn the
2% of your course grade. You should therefore have completed a total of two hours of research participation
to earn 2%. The studies offered may involve work online and/or at a site in Van Munching Hall.

If you are unwilling to participate in any of the available studies but wish to earn the credit, you will be given
an alternate assignment of comparable duration by the research team in charge of the studies and you will
never be forced to participate in any specific research study. Information about the available studies and
procedures for enrolling in them will be sent to you via email by the Influence in Teams Research Group
running the studies. If you have at any point any question about research participation please email

F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management
Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding

Course Schedule

Note: Unless otherwise noted, readings, case studies and assignments should be completed before the relevant class session.

Course Overview and Foundations of Strategy (2 Weeks)

Week(Dates) Topic Cases, Readings and Assignments Teaching Goal

Week 1 Course Overview: What is Strategy? Suggested article to read for Jan 26 class: Hambrick, Overview of the course; explain requirements
(Jan 26 & 28) D. C., and Fredrickson, J. W., Are You Sure You Define strategy; consider factors that drive
Have a Strategy? Academy of Management Executive, strategic choices; discuss concept of fit
Vol. 15, No. 4, Nov. 2001 (Article on canvas)
The main idea of the above article is also captured in
this video: "What is Strategy?"
Required reading for Jan 28 class: information of
Haystack Mobile (
Prepare for discussion on Haystack. I will email a few
of you to prepare slides for a lead discussion. All
others look for discussion prep questions on Canvas

Week 2 Economic Foundations and Review any previous course reading or slides related Investigates the factors that affect industry
(Feb 2 & 4) External Analysis to industry analysis (e.g., 5-forces, etc.) before Feb 2. average profitability and determine long-lived
Here is a video link from HBS to review: Porter 5- differences in profitability across industries.
Forces Strategy Apply two frameworks in thinking about
Required reading for Feb 2-4: Freakonomics, Chpt. 3 differences in structural conditions across
Write-up assignment (#1) due on Feb 4: on industries: PEST and Porters Five Forces
Freakonomics, Chapter 3 (by student ID); instruction Framework.
on Canvas
Prepare for discussion on the example in
Freakonomics, chapter 3; prep questions on Canvas

F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management
Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding

Business Strategy Module (3 Weeks)

Week(Dates) Topic Cases, Readings and Assignments Teaching Goal

Week 3 Positioning Cost Leadership Watch video: Generic Strategy Identify generic strategies related to cost
(Feb 9 & 11) advantage.
Required case reading for Feb 9: HBS Case #505-
078: Narayana Hrudayalaya Heart Hospital Discuss how value chain analysis helps firms
Write-up assignment (#2) due on Feb 9: on NH optimize on cost advantage.
Heart Hospital Case (questions randomized by
student ID); instruction on Canvas
Prepare for discussion on the case; prep questions on

Week 4 Positioning Differentiation Feb 16 class canceled; instead students are Identify generic strategies related to
(Feb 16 & 18) encouraged to attend the Pitch Dingman differentiation advantage.
Competition, Feb 16, 6-7:30pm at Stamp Student
Union (Pitch Dingman Competition
Write-up assignment (#3) due on Feb 18:
reflection on one the finalists' business plan from the
Pitch Dingman Competition

Week 5 Resource-based View of Firm Suggested reading: Collis, D. J., and Montgomery, C. Discuss resource-based view of firm (RBV).
(Feb 23 & 25) (RBV) A., Competing on Resources Harvard Business Review, Introduce the concept of core competencies
July-August 2008. and review VRIA for evaluating core
Required reading for Feb 23: (i) Browse The Walt competencies.
Disney Co. Website for its corporate history, current
businesses, and strategy; (ii) Read Disney related
articles on Canvas
Prepare for discussion on Disney; prep questions on

F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management
Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding

Innovation Module (2 Weeks)

Week(Dates) Topic Cases, Readings and Assignments Teaching Goal

Week 6 Disruptive Innovation Required case reading for March 1: HBS Case Identify how industries evolve due to
(March 1 & 3) #712-416: Wii Encore disruptive and sustaining innovations.
Suggested article reading: Bower, J. L., and Identify first-mover advantages and
Christensen, C. M., Disruptive Technologies: disadvantages.
Catching the Wave, Harvard Business Review, January- Discuss dynamic capabilities
February 1995 (on Canvas)
Write-up assignment (#4) due on March 1: on
Wii Encore; instruction on Canvas
Prepare for discussion on Wii Encore; prep questions
on Canvas

Week 7 Innovation Eco-system Required case reading for March 8: HBS Case Discuss the evolution of innovation eco-
(March 8 &10) #607138-PDF-ENG: Netflix system
Suggested article reading: Shapiro, Carl, and Hal R. Explain the concept of network externality
Varian, "Networks and Positive Feedback." from and complementors, and how they affect
Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network strategy
Write-up assignment (#5) due on March 8: on
Netflex; instruction on Canvas
Prepare for discussion on Netflix; prep questions on

March 13-19 Spring Break

F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management
Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding

Corporate Strategy Module Including Project and Midterm (4 Weeks)

Week 8
Project Preparation Week 2 sessions to work on course project
(March 22&24)

Week 9 Corporate Diversification (Scope of Required article readings for March 29: news Understand drivers of corporate scope
(March 29 & a Firm) articles about Google (on Canvas) (diversification) decisions.
Suggested article reading: Collis, D. J., and Evaluate factors related to the "make" or
Montgomery, C. A., Creating Corporate "buy" decision by a firm
Advantage, Harvard Business Review, May-June 1998
Prepare for discussion on Google's product
diversification strategy; prep questions on Canvas

Week 10 Midterm Project Presentation Teams present preliminary work on their course
(April 5 & 7) project
Class gives anonymous feedback to each team's
presentation; feedback need to be considered in
finalizing the project report and final presentation.

Week 11 Merger & Acquisition (M&A) Suggested article reading: Christensen, Clayton, Understand the evaluation of M&A
(Apr. 12 & 14) Alton, R., Rising, C. and Waldeck, A. The New Apply quantitative analytical techniques to
M&A Playbook Harvard Business Review, March 2011 the case
Required case reading for April 12: HBS Case #9-
707-485: Santanders Acquisition of Abbey
Write-up assignment (#6) due on April 12: on
Santander; instruction on Canvas
Prepare for discussion on Santander's case; prep
questions on Canvas

F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management
Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding

Integrative Case-based Exam and Project Presentations (Approximately 3.5 weeks)

Week 12 Integrative Case-based Exam Duration: 1 class session, done in class, on personal laptop
(April 19 & 21)
Use Respondus, a lock-down browser in to complete the exam
(The exam is scheduled for the
2nd class of the week; on April 21) Essay question format: 3 essays (2 short and 1 long)
Questions drawn from all previous class discussions; refer to my slides and article readings for
conceptual guidance

Week 13 Project Preparation Week 2 sessions to work on course project

(April 26 & 28)

Weeks 14-15 Project Presentations Project presentation slides due before class, on Canvas
(May 3, 5 & 10)
Project report due by 11:59pm, May 10
Final peer evaluation due by 11:59pm, May 11

Note: As we progress through the course, it may prove necessary to make adjustments to the schedule. You will be notified in advance of any

F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management
Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding

Appendix A: Group Project Report and Presentation Guidelines

Groups will be self-selected, with about 4-6 members. Assume that your team works for a leading strategy-
consulting firm. You pick a firm from outside the course syllabus. Prospective future employers or their
competitors are frequently good choices. You will have a 20-minute meeting with your clients CEO and a
group of business student interns, and you can send them a written report of maximum 12 pages to
recommend a strategic plan. These people are busy, so you need to be concise, specific (numbers help), and

Your executive report should discuss one strategic question/issue/challenge/triumph of your chosen
company. For examples of good questions to ask, refer to the questions we discussed in class for our cases
and articles. Gather information and use adequate frameworks to analyze the issue at hand, and present your
recommendations. The assessment criteria follows Smith Schools Critical Thinking Evaluation Criteria and is
enclosed below.

Below is a general guideline for the timeline of your course project:

By week 7: team formation (you reach out to your classmates to form your project team); get to know
your team members.
Weeks 8-9: Identify a target firm; narrow down to an focal aspect (or a few focal aspects) of the firms
Week 10: Midterm project interim presentation--introduce your company, your target question, and
your analytical framework;
Week 11-13: Analysis and report/presentation prep.
Week 14-15: project presentations

Format Requirement of the Project Report:

The page limit for this report is 12 double-spaced pages (not including cover page, exhibits, and bibliography).
Note that quality is not necessarily associated with the length of your report, hence you can write a report
shorter than the maximum page limit if you think you have explained the relevant points. Use Times New
Roman 12 point font, and 1 margin all around. There will be a penalty if format requirement is not met.

Your strategic analysis is to be presented in slide format and must not take more than 15 minutes plus 5-10
minutes for Q&A. Expect strict enforcement of time limits. The final length limit will be announced once I
know the number of groups in your section.
Be judicious with your presentation. Time is limited. Concisely cover the most important items. In the slide
pack you turn in you are free to include supplemental slides that offer additional details.

F BMGT 495-Sections 601, 701, 801 Strategic Management
Spring 2016 Syllabus Prof. Waverly W. Ding

BMGT 495 Business Policies Project Report Evaluation Form

Points Evaluation Dimensions Score

Purpose and Question at Issue:

10 - Are the key strategic question(s)/issue(s)/challenge(s) of the firm clearly identified? Has
the report identified worthy question(s) to investigate?
15 - What information, data, or evidence do you need to draw to answer the questions at
issue? Are they clearly presented, accurate, relevant and comprehensive?
- What are the main concepts or theoretical frameworks used to organize the
information/data/evidence to support your argument? Have the concepts and theories
taught in this course been properly applied in the analysis of the target question(s)?
Interpretation and Inference
25 - Has the report provided a clear, accurate, relevant and deep interpretation of the
evidence? What inferences can be drawn from the data?
- What are the assumptions used in your interpretation and inferences? Have the
assumptions used been clearly spelled out? Are these assumptions reasonable?
25 - What is your detailed and specific recommendation based on your analysis of the
question(s)? Is there a clear logical link between the analysis of the question and the
- What are the assumptions used in your recommended actions? How reliable are some
of the assumptions you have used?
- Is the report well integrated in the sense that message conveyed consistently from the
beginning to the end?
Creativity To what extent has the report approached the research question(s) in a
creative way?

Writing Competence Is the report well written, grammatically correct, easy to

understand, well formatted and logically well structured?

100 Final Score