Top 5 Strategy MBA: Data Analysis and Decision Making, Develop Critical Analytical Thinking & Strategic Leadership

MBA in StrategyThe study of strategy basically revolves around the question - Why do some firms do consistently better than others? Strategy stresses on the awareness and skillsets required to grasp, analyze and create ways to succeed in a competitive, complex and dynamic business situation. Expertise in strategy is vital in all business, especially for consultants. It is also of great benefit for careers in Marketing, Finance and Entrepreneurship.

Careers in a strategy role involve data collection about the industry and the competition, analysis of data, and creating forecasting models. This process helps in spotting new opportunities, business threats, and creative solutions. MBAs will also learn to predict competitor’s behavior with strategy studies. Strategy jobs are among the most sought after because they involve attention to details, thorough analysis and creative solutions. It provides great scope for value addition, and decision making. Not surprisingly, many CEOs tend to have strategic decision-making background.

1) HBS

HBS has a Strategy Unit, one of 10 specialized academic units, from which the school derives its #1 ranking. It analyzes firms as competitors, and studies their financial competency. Key areas of studies include development and effectiveness of strategy, competitive environment analysis and the effectiveness of strategy over time. The unit gains its expertise from various disciplines including sociology, economics and political science. Its focus is on both American and international competition.

The Strategy Unit offers the required Strategy course as part of the 1st year MBA curriculum. With the course, students get an understanding of the market environment and the techniques to gain competitive advantage. Students will also learn how to create greater value for customers and balance risks and opportunities. MBAs will master analytical tools, and use them to understand how companies maintain their advantage over a long period.

The unit offers a wide array of choices when it comes to the 2nd year MBA Elective Curriculum, with as many as 16 subjects
. They include Competing Globally, Competing with Social Networks, Contemporary South Asia: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Social & Economic Problems, Creating and Sustaining Competitive Advantage, Entrepreneurial Management in a Turnaround Environment, Games of Chance and Strategy, Knowledge-Based Strategy, Strategic IQ and Strategies beyond the Market.

Harvard Working Knowledge has in fact published more than 195 articles exclusively on strategy. In addition to the articles, Cases like Yum! Brands and books like Redefining Global Strategy by Pankaj Ghemawat and Jordan I. Siegel have delved deep into topics related to strategy.

2) Kellogg

The Kellogg School of Management has a Management and Strategy Department that gives the MBA program an edge when it comes to strategy. It brings together current researchers, faculty, experts and consultants. The extensive research is based on economics and strategy. Faculty members regularly consult for business and government, and also sit on the editorial boards of leading American journals. The department itself publishes the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy while The Economics of Strategy - the world's most popular advanced strategy text for MBAs - was written by the Management and Strategy Departments faculty.

The department offers courses that combine intense thinking with attention to detail. They cover all aspects on company behavior, market scenario and organizational structure. It offers the Business Strategy course as part of the required core curriculum. The course covers how a business positions itself to succeed in the market using various policies, objectives and resources. Students will learn how to evaluate and formulate a business strategy.

The department also gives MBA students the option of majoring in Management and Strategy, by choosing electives that include Strategic Management in Non-Market Environments, Personnel Strategy, Strategy & Organization, Technology & Innovation Strategy, Empirical Methods in Strategy, Advanced Business Strategy, International Business Strategy, Competitive Strategy & Industrial Structure , Advanced Business Strategy, Entrepreneurship & New Venture Formation and International Business Strategy in Non-Market Environments.

3) London Business School

At LBS, the Strategy & Entrepreneurship group is one of the focus areas for faculty and research. It examines company competitiveness and seeks to uncover how a company can reach the top and stay there over time. The topics of interest include innovation & entrepreneurship within large firms, the theory of the firm & corporate scope, technological change and its impact on firm strategy and industry structure, behavioral and cognitive foundations of strategy and the impact of informal and formal structures on firm performance.

Strategy is a subject that is part of the core curriculum. It teaches how to identify and pick an advantageous competitive position, how to analyze a scenario strategically, and how to modify the organization to make a strategy work. The course teaches concepts and models for analysis of situations and provides insights into strategic management. It involves analysis of real-life industry structures and value chain dynamics to select the best position in a competitive environment. It also helps understand how company resources can be aligned with a given strategy. Students learn about how to implement strategies, with the help of two simulation sessions.

Strategy and Entrepreneurship also offers a wide array of electives including Achieving Strategic Agility, Corporate Strategy, Global Strategy and Management, Managing Corporate Turnarounds, Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances, Strategic Innovation and Strategies for Growth. The school also features Business Success Review, which regularly publishes about global businesses.

4) Stanford

The Stanford MBA differs from others in that it has four courses in the Core curriculum that covers strategy. They are:

1) Critical Analytical Thinking: Helps identify critical ISSUES, develop well-reasoned inferences and make clear arguments.

2) Strategic Leadership: Teaches how to determine a company's strategic path, aligning the organization to the strategy, and lead each individual in a new direction

3) Data Analysis and Decision Making: Helps make the right inferences, and with that, the correct decisions

4) Strategy beyond Markets: Helps resolve complicated decisions that involve political, legal, social and environmental issues.

GSB also offers a wide choice of electives under Strategic Management. They include Global Strategic Management and Talent Management Strategy.


INSEAD's Blue Ocean Strategy Institute is at the heart of all strategy activities. It is based on the school’s core Blue Ocean Strategy theory, which states that instead of taking the competition head on, companies must find vast blue oceans of new market space. Instead of competing, the competition is made irrelevant, which helps sustain high profits over the long term.

The Strategy Core Course introduces concepts and tools to help identify what contributes towards higher performance. It helps in selecting the right business model or even formulating new models to reach corporate goals.

The electives focus on three areas - Business Strategy, Corporate Strategy and Strategic Management. With Business Strategy, the focus is on gaining the highest-profit market position. With Corporate Strategy, the topics covered are acquisitions, tie-ups and global expansion. Strategic Management brings new dimensions to calibrating an organization. They include Blue Ocean Strategy Simulation, Industry and Competitive Analysis, Managing Media Companies, Strategies for Latin America, China Strategy, Global Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Alliances and Corporate Strategy (MAACS), Strategic Management, and Strategy, Structure and Incentives.

Related Downloads

1) Harvard Essay Guide
2) Harvard Interview Guide

3) Kellogg Essay Guide
4) Kellogg Interview Guide
5) London MBA Essay Guide
6) London Interview Guide

6) Stanford Essay Guide
7) Stanford Interview Guide

8) INSEAD Essay Guide
9) INSEAD Interview Guide

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