So far, one of the most interesting MMS classes I’ve taken is Principles of Strategy, taught by Professor Sharon Belenzon. This class was very different from anything I had taken before, and was really thought provoking.
In Principles of Strategy, we covered a different case in every class. Case studies focus on a company’s business problem. (Learn more about case-based learning on the MMS website.) As a class, and in our teams, we examined many different issues, ranging from expansion (in the context of Tashas’, a South African restaurant that decided to franchise throughout the country) to competition (one example being the satellite wars in Britain between Sky and British Satellite Broadcasting) to a variety of other major dilemmas that firms face. Each case gave us insight on how companies deal with potential problems, and helped us learn about different industries and the challenges facing them.
I found this class to be great for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I loved the discussion based nature of the course. The class was more discussion based than any other class we’ve had here at Fuqua, and Sharon gave us the opportunity each day to share our insight on what we would do if we were a decision maker at the company in question. Secondly, I really enjoyed learning about how business is done in different industries and cultures. One case that really stood out was about South African telecom firm MTN, which had to figure out how to make a profit with an impoverished, third-world clientele throughout the African continent. The class was very global in nature, and each case dealt with international companies. It was especially interesting to hear my international classmates’ thoughts on the cases and business problems.
Practical Business Insight
At the end of the course, each team had to write a paper about a company and decide what it should do about a potential business problem. My team’s project dealt with a company pursuing an expansion into the restaurant industry, and our team learned a ton about the industry in the process.
Principles of Strategy gave us all foresight into different industries, cultures, and business dilemmas – the class is a real highlight of the program, and one that I think will be very beneficial to all of us in our careers.