Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise

Course Number 1504

Senior Lecturer Chet Huber
Senior Lecturer Stephen P. Kaufman
Associate Professor Rory M. McDonald
Senior Lecturer Derek van Bever
Fall; Q1Q2; 3 credits
28 sessions

Professor of Management Practice Willy C. Shih
Spring; Q3Q4; 3 credits
28 sessions

Career Focus

In this course we will study the challenges of building and managing an enduring, successful company or renewing the vitality of an existing organization, from the point of view of the general manager. This course will prove valuable to future general managers, as well as those who will consult for or invest in operating companies.

Educational Objectives

The focus of this course is to learn how to use well-researched theories about strategy, innovation and management to understand why things happen the way they do in businesses, and to understand what management tools, strategies and methods will and will not be effective, in the different circumstances in which our students find themselves.

Course Content and Objectives

In the early sessions of the course, we will introduce models about the key jobs of the general manager, who must integrate the marketing, product development, operations, strategic planning, financial, and human dimensions of the enterprise. We will employ these models throughout the course to understand the root cause of the challenges the general managers in our cases are facing, and to develop action plans for resolving them. During the case discussions, we will seek to answer some of the following questions; which are relevant to start-up companies as well as large, established ones.

How can I beat powerful competitors?
How can I create products that better connect with customers?
How integrated should our company be?
How should we set strategy?
From whom should we get funding for new growth initiatives?
How should we structure our organization?
How can we build and exploit a valuable brand?
How can we create and sustain a motivated group of employees?
Who should we hire or promote to manage this effort?

The paper for the course will not require field or library research. Rather, it will require students to apply the theories that we learn in the course to understand and resolve a complex problem or opportunity that they have seen in a company that they know. As compared to a typical course paper, you might think of this as an extended, take-home final exam, where the student selects the "case" and the exam question, and can work with one or two other students in the analysis and write-up.

Please note that Prof. Kaufman will run a slightly modified schedule in the late afternoon time slot, eliminating two sessions and running half of the others 20 mins longer to accommodate guests and some special exercises. Details will be available through Canvas closer to term start.