Strategic management involves the formulation and execution of the major objectives and initiatives taken by a company’s top management. Focusing on the analysis of business strategies Coursera is starting up a new online course, “Foundations of Business Strategy” in alliance with University of Virginia.

In this course, students will get a chance to explore the theories and frameworks that provide the foundations of a successful business strategy. This course will help in molding students’ thinking in terms of strategies by providing them the tools for conducting a strategic analysis. Strategic analysis is critical for analyzing the competitive context in which an organization operates. It also helps organizations to position itself and what actions it should take to maximize its value creation. Aspiring managers, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, analysts and consultants all may find value in mastering these fundamentals.

Course Timeline

This course will start from June 16, 2014.

Course Period

This course will run for 7 weeks and estimated effort of 5-6 hours/week is required from each student.

Online Course Provider

Coursera and University of Virginia

Online Platform


Course Syllabus

Week One: We will introduce the concept of strategic analysis plus explore the impact that competitive markets have on business success.  Will include a case discussion of Google.

Week Two: We will explore how industry structure impacts competitive outcomes and learn how to analyze industry forces.  Will include a case discussion of the microbrew industry.

Week Three: We will learn how to analyze firm capabilities and how they may provide competitive advantage. Will include a case discussion of Apple.

Week Four:  We will learn how to analyze competitive dynamics; the interplay between businesses as industries evolve. Will include a case discussion of the game player industry.

Week Five: We will combine our learnings to date to determine how an organization best positions itself competitively to create value.  Will include a case discussion of Piaggio.

Week Six: We will extend our analysis to consider how businesses compete in multiple markets and will learn how to analyze firm scope.  Will include a case discussion of Disney.

Eligibility Requirements

No prior knowledge required. Anyone who is interested can apply for this course.

Verified Certificate

Students will receive Statement of Accomplishment if they will meet the grading policy course requirements.

Online Course Staff

Michael J. Lenox

He teaches the core MBA strategy course at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also serves as Associate Dean and Executive Director of Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He has acquired his Ph.D. in Technology Management and Policy from MIT and the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Science in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia.

You can apply for the course by following this link.