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RSM2920H – Top Manager’s Perspective

General Information

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

  • Leadership and Change Management (c)
  • Social Impact & Sustainability (r)

Target Audience

The course should be of interest to future consultants, general managers, investment analysts and entrepreneurs. The course demands a lot of work outside the boundaries of text books and lectures so it is not for everyone.


Online Synchronous.

Course Mission

The objectives of this course are to make you a better decision maker by:

  • Making you think logically and teaching you to communicate in a clear, memorable and compelling way
  • Developing your understanding of the theory and concepts of strategic management in complex business organizations
  • Providing you with a set of practical analytical tools to enhance your strategic skills
  • Building your self-confidence as a decision maker at the most senior managerial level

Course Scope

This is a course designed to make you a better strategic decision maker and to integrate all the skills you have acquired in your career and at the RSM.

The course is built on some high level frameworks, such as LogicWorks, that enhance your capacity to reason logically, to identify effective solutions and to learn continuously from your own experiences.

The course works with practical tools and techniques such as momentum analysis, Porter’s 5 forces, core competence, the GE/McKinsey 9-box and others. These tools and the exercises designed to make them useful will assist you in making real world, real time decisions in complex business environments.

The course perspective is that of the CEO of large, global businesses as well as smaller entrepreneurial start-ups.  Companies studied in the past include Four Seasons, Gildan, CAE, Loblaws as well as Longslice Brewery, Dick Duff’s Inc. Organic Jerky, Open Door Productions and Mobile Klinik.

Students will be required to develop insights from the provided readings (Annual Reports and Analysts’ Reports) and from their own independent investigations. There are no boundaries. Each day’s newspapers may add further dimensions to the course.

If you are prepared for hard work, aggressive thinking and insightful reflection about yourself this course may well transform your career trajectory.

We supplement the “in class” work with visits to or from CEOs often in their corporate boardroom. These exchanges are normally held from 7:30-8:30 and require full business dress. We ask the CEOs to talk about:

  1. Themselves: background and career trajectory.
  2. Current job as CEO – almost nothing can prepare you for the responsibility of being the top boss.
  3. Advice for you as you set out upon the next stage of your career.

Evaluation and Grade Distribution

ComponentDue DateWeight
Participation in class and externally (individual)Ongoing20%
Case presentations in class (group)Various40%
Final paperExam Week40%

Required Resources

The readings will be drawn from Corporate Annual Reports, Investment Analysts’ Reports and selected HBR articles on relevant topics.

Students will also be required to develop their own information sources from interviews, literature searches or company/industry reviews.


Please note that this course has both graded and ungraded work. You should not sign up for the course if you are not prepared to commit fully to the work. To give you a sense of the expectations, here is what the weekly workload consisted of in 2020:

  • Attend “coffee with….” sessions with CEOs. It is expected that you show up for all of these 12 -15 sessions. After each session, within 24 hours you must submit a journal entry for each guest speaker. At the term’s conclusion, you will be asked to summarize your key “take-aways” from these “coffee with…” sessions.
  • Thoroughly prepare the case and any readings for each week.
  • Prepare a short presentation every week on the case, using a framework to be provided. Each group gets to present at least once.

Enrolment in this course is limited and very competitive. If you are not sure you are willing or able to do the work, please let someone else join the class who is.

Last Updated: 2021-06-17 @ 3:15 pm