Strategic Management 02 – Basics of Strategic Management

This is the post of the second class of strategic management at the Estonian Business School. This time we discussed the roots of strategic management by visiting Henry Mintzberg’s classics to see what are the core definitions and perspectives of strategic management. Thereafter we opened our practice sessions with two conceptual tools of analysis:
– Root cause analysis and
– PESTLE analysis.

We used the example of Estonian Business School to practice both analyses. Hence – the groups prepared several root cause analyses on why there seem to be clashes of timing between the various classes and thereafter contemplated the variables of the environment surrounding the Estonian Business School.

Below you may find homereading assignments for the next week:

Prepare by reading the Apple 2008 Case Study by David B. Yoffie and Michael Slind and answer to the questions:
1. What were Apple’s competitive advantages?
2. Assess the dynamics of the PC industry. Are these dynamics favourable or problematic for Apple?
3. Has Steve Jobs finally solved Apple’s long-standing problems with respect to the Macintosh business?
4. The iPod-iTunes business has been a spectacular success. Will this success endure? How Jobs found a new formula to create a sustainable competitive advantage for Apple?
5. How would you assess Apple’s initial strategy for the iPhone? Why did Apple change so quickly to a different strategy?
6. In what ways are iPod, iTunes, iPhone and Macintosh related? Unrelated? Does having them under one roof create value above and beyond what each could achieve individually?

Porter (1996) What is Strategy? Harvard Business Review.
Porter (2008) The Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy. Harvard Business Review
Campbell & Alexander (1997) What is Wrong with Strategy? Harvard Business Review

Strategic Management 01 – Business Model You and Alaska Gold Mine Case

Today we met for the first time with the MBA students of Estonian Business School for a strategic management class. A group of 32 managed to kick off the semester and discuss the main requirements of the course for the upcoming seminars. A couple of words about the topics covered.

Business Model You Canvas

  1. As most participants did not have previous professional work experience then we started off with the basic introductory building blocks of strategic management and thereafter focused to Business Model You, which is a nice and practical tool to reflect upon our own experience and try to build up our own business plans. Especially when starting with a school or a new study programme it is worthwhile to spend some time in analysing what is really important in our lives and how can we all be one-person businesses. Sometimes our one-person may strategy materialise in a grandiose future business plan. In other instances the one-person strategy could just serve us with some tools of thinking on how to be a better employee in your existing organization.
  2. At the final part of our discussion we opened a quick pandora’s box into decision making and risk handling by using Alaska Gold Mine case.

You may find the slides of the class below.

Please remember the homework during the next week:

In addition – I suggest you to group rather soon so that you could have a nice 3-person team for your upcoming homework. Please add here the information about your team and about the case company that you select for your analysis (deadline 19.10, presentation on 20.10)

Remark about the home reading for the next week:

  • Barney, J (1991) Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of Management. Vol 17, no. 1, pp 99-120.
  • Christensen & Raynor, 2003. Why Hard-Nosed Executives Should Care About Management Theory. Harvard Business Review, 81(5): 67-74.
  • Weihrich, H. (1982) The TOWS Matrix—A Tool for Situational Analysis. Long-Range Planning, April.

Strategic Management Course Postponed

As many ERASMUS students will be arriving two weeks late to Tallinn, we decided with Estonian Business School administration to postpone the start of the Strategic Management course to 15 September 2015. Will post the updated study programme soon!

Strategic Management Course

On 1st of September I will start with a new strategic management course at the Estonian Business School with a group of 30 international students. I will continue to add the full course information on this website. If you are one of the students I suggest you to bookmark the link For Students because this is the location for all your study materials and course discussions.

Introduction to Lego Serious Play – Video and Slides


20-minute presentation about the core concepts of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® presented by Marko Rillo from SeriousPlayPro.com – the global community of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitators.


Slideshare presentation

The presentation focuses on three reasons why LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® makes a difference
1) stronger engagement of a team
2) play helps to understand better
3) metaphors help conveying messages and remember the most important.

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