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RSM2021H – Corporate Strategy

General Information


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Applicable Major(s):
(c) = Core, (r) = Recommended

  • Brand Management (r)
  • Business Design (r)
  • Consulting (c)
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis (r)
  • Investment Banking (r)
  • Leadership and Change Management (r)

Target Audience

This course is suitable for those pursuing careers in general management, strategy consulting, and corporate finance.


12 regular sessions. Teams are required to present one case analysis and four in-class case challenges during sessions 8-11.  That is, you must be prepared to present in all 4 sessions.  Please note:  Classes are not recorded and you are unable to attend other sections; please take this into consideration as well as the need to be present and participate in classes 8-11 when making your choices.

Course Mission

In Corporate Strategy, we extend the analysis of business level strategy from RSM1201 to the corporate or multi-business level.

Course Scope

You have studied synergies, ownership, and structure (the three pillars of corporate strategy) in your core class.  In this class we focus more deeply on these principles to help understand how multi-business unit firms can gain (or lose) an advantage.  We address questions such as:  What strategic factors influence the optimal size of the firm in terms of scale and scope?  How might corporate managers employ diversification strategies that create or capture more value than that which investors could accomplish by diversifying their portfolios?  How might multi-business unit firms identify potential threats with respect to weaknesses relative to single-business unit competitors? How might corporate managers exploit commitments in one business area to benefit another?  What types of pricing advantages might multi-business firms exploit over single-business competitors?  What are the tradeoffs in ownership, and how can theory help us make better alliances and acquisitions?  Why, when, and how should we divest or outsource?  How does organizational structure impact issues such as growth and innovation?  To what extent are clever strategic tactics congruent with the overall welfare for humankind?  We will explore such questions through the lenses of economics, sociology, and psychology, apply the concepts in the context of case analyses, and discuss implications for corporate strategy.  A critical part of this course is the belief that to really understand these ideas we must practice developing strategies repeatedly.  A significant amount of the course is devoted to strategic problem solving via case analysis to develop your skills and avoid shallow, buzzword strategy.

Evaluation and Grade Distribution

ComponentDue DateWeight
Team CaseVarious, depending on team number20–30%
In-Class Case ChallengeVarious, depending on team number10–15%
Class ContributionOngoing5–20%
Final ExamExam Period – December 6-17, 202140–55%

Required Resources

Readings package, including cases (no required text).

Last Updated: 2021-06-16 @ 11:59 am