Ramon Casadesus-Masanell

Herman C. Krannert Professor of Business Administration

Ramon Casadesus-Masanell is the Herman C. Krannert Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He studies strategic interaction between organizations that operate different business models.

Ramon Casadesus-Masanell is the Herman C. Krannert Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He joined HBS in 2000 where he has taught the required MBA Strategy course, an elective course on Competing Business Models, and Ph.D. courses on Strategy and Game Theory. He also teaches in several HBS Executive Education programs including the Owner/President Management Program (OPM), and Strategy—Building and Sustaining Competitive Advantage.

Casadesus-Masanell received his Ph.D. in Managerial Economics and Strategy from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. He received his BA in Economics from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain.

Casadesus-Masanell’s fields of specialization are management strategy, managerial economics, and industrial organization. Casadesus-Masanell studies strategic interaction between organizations that operate different business models. He is also interested in the limits to contracting and the role of trust for management strategy. He has published in Management Science, the Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, the Strategic Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, Long Range Planning, the Journal of Law & Economics, the Journal of Economic Theory, the USC Interdisciplinary Law JournalABANTE Studies in Business Management, and the Harvard Business Review, among others.

Together with Prof. Daniel F. Spulber (Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University), Casadesus-Masanell edits the Journal of Economics & Management Strategy (JEMS), the leading academic journal on the economics of strategy. JEMS is based at Harvard Business School, where Sarah Shumway (sshumway@hbs.edu) serves as the editorial assistant. 

  1. MBA Required Curriculum-- Strategy Course

    by Ramon Casadesus-Masanell

    The objective of this course is to help students develop the skills for formulating strategy. It provides an understanding of:

    • A firm's operative environment and how to sustain competitive advantage.
    • How to generate superior value for customers by designing the optimum configuration of the product mix and functional activities.
    • How to balance the opportunities and risks associated with dynamic and uncertain changes in industry attractiveness and competitive position.

    Students learn to:

    • Develop a mastery of a body of analytical tools and the ability to take an integrative point of view.
    • Use these tools to perform in-depth analyses of industries and competitors, predict competitive behavior, and analyze how firms develop and sustain competitive advantage over time.
    • Particular attention is paid to competitive positioning; understanding comparative costs; and addressing issues such as cannibalization, network externalities, and globalization.

    Keywords: Strategy; Competitive Strategy; Competitive Advantage;

  2. MBA Elective Curriculum-- Competing Through Business Models

    by Ramon Casadesus-Masanell

    The  words  “business  model”  are  inescapable  in  our  daily  fare of  business  news.  These  two ubiquitous words seemed to effortlessly rise up to prominence during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. When businesspeople, journalists, academics, and other observers could not easily relate to “new economy” businesses given the difficulty of pointing to specific assets and tangible products, they  needed  something  to  latch  on  to.  That  something  became  “the  business  model.”  When companies produced valuations with frenzied multiples, people justified the future profit potential through “the business model.” Later, when that potential was wiped away, savants confidently proclaimed, “The business model was simply not viable.”

    The popularity of describing success and failure through business models has stayed with us. Today, when companies fail, journalists write that the business model was flawed. Contrarily, if a company continues to beat quarterly forecasts, analysts jubilantly write about the advantage realized through the company’s business model.

    But, strangely, for all of this talk about “business models,” it’s hard to find a common operating definition. To some, business models are ephemeral flights of fancy created by a backroom business engineer, and to others business models are static foundations etched in stone. Many assume that just mentioning the business model of a particular company will engender in everyone a common understanding of how that business model works.

    In this course, we aim to give an operational definition of “business model” and provide a set of tools  to  determine  the  business  model  for  any  organization.  We  relate  business  models  to  the “engine” of an organization (i.e., how it works). By studying how it works, we’re able to apply the same technique to both for-profit and not-for-profit firms. The cases take us around the world to industries as diverse as computer software and hardware, cellular telephony, commercial aircraft, airlines, apparel, aluminum, pulp and paper, retail stores, consumer packaged goods, environmental NGOs, cults, and even art auction houses.

    This course is for students who want to                                                 

    • be able to quickly determine the business model of any organization;

    • ascertain how a particular business model helps the organization create and capture value over time;

    • understand how business models of different organizations interact; and

    • learn how to improve a business model.

    Regardless of your intended career path after graduation, understanding business models will place you in good stead. For those who wish to pursue investment banking or private equity, you will be constantly pressed to understand that “engine” which produces profits. In a consulting career, you’ll be assigned to find fixes—and it will be hard to fix anything without understanding how the business model works. Finally, if you opt for a career in industry, whatever company, discipline, and position you find yourself in, you’ll have to be able to understand the context in which you operate and how your actions fit into the policies, assets, and decision making of the firm.

    Keywords: Business Model; Strategy; Competitive Strategy;