RSM2061HF Strategic Networks

Bill McEvily

Applicable Major:

Innovation and Entrepreneurship (c)

Leadership and Change Management (c)

Consulting (r)

Business Design (r)

Health Sector Management (r)


Some see it as unpleasant and offensive, others view it as a necessary evil, and there are those that find it just plain baffling.  Although the concept of networking is not new, the core principles that make this activity valuable to individuals, entrepreneurs, and organizations are often misunderstood.  My purpose in this course is to cut through the clutter and help students gain a better understanding of how to create, use, and evaluate networks to generate value.  To do so I will introduce students to some simple, but powerful principles that explain: how networks form, what benefits are associated with different positions in networks, and the social dynamics (e.g., reciprocity, trust, norms, reputation) upon which networks are based.  As a result, students will gain valuable insights about developing a strategy for managing their own professional networks and will learn how to leverage organizational networks to achieve strategic outcomes. As a way of gaining insight into how networks operate, students will: conduct an audit of their own personal networks, practice networking behaviors, and consider how organizations can influence the formation and evolution of networks to create value.

This course will be of particular interest to students in the Consulting, and Leadership & Change Management, Innovation & Entrepreneurship majors.  This course is a complement to several other strategy electives including: Strategic Change & Implementation, Entrepreneurship, Network & Digital Market Strategy. Since one of the main assignments for the class involves analyzing students’ networks with other students in the MBA cohort, this course is open to Rotman MBA students only.


This course is offered in the intensive format.  All sessions will occur over two half days (Fridays) and two full days (Saturdays).  The format is concentrated and ambitious, but also well-suited to focused and in-depth coverage of the topic.

We will use a combination of case discussions, guest speakers, in-class exercises, breakout group discussions, videos and lectures.


44 students


Class Contribution20%
Network Audit30%
Success Habits for Networking20%
Networks by Design30%


An electronic course packet of cases and readings will be provided.