Strategy, Environment, and Organizations

BSEO 2034—Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility—1.5 credits
This course is for managers who will be faced with the challenges and opportunities provided by environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) issues.  This course will address such topics as managerial approaches to the ESG issues and opportunities that occur across business processes, sustainability and social responsibility as business opportunities, environmental management systems (the 14001 standards), social responsibility guidance (ISO 26000) and reporting, and methods of dealing with stakeholders concerned about the firm’ ESG performance.  It introduces students to sustainable business management practices and to the role of the private sector in global sustainability development and environmental initiatives. Throughout the course, the emphasis will be on real-world managerial experience and guidance, based on numerous current cases.
Prerequisites: none.
BSEO 2315—Business Law—3 credits
The primary objectives of this course are (1) to identify the many types of business actions which require decision makers to analyze ethical issues; and (2) to teach students when, why, and how ethical issues should be made a part of the decision-making process.
Prerequisites: none.
BSEO 2401—Business Ethics and Social Performance—1.5 credits
This course examines concepts, issues, and tools related to the management of ethics and social responsibility in business. Students learn how to recognize and respond to ethical problems, to understand their personal responsibilities as business managers, to evaluate various ethical frameworks, to apply a process of moral decision making to ethical problems, to grasp relationships between ethical behavior and organizational structure and processes, and to manage the ethical and social problems and opportunities arising from organizational, institutional, societal, and global dimensions of the business environment.
Prerequisites: none.
BSPP 2409—Strategic Management—1.5 credits
“Strategy,” in the context of management, focuses on creating a harmonious relationship between separate units within an organization, and between a firm and its environment. The core Strategic Management course explores this classic concept of strategy and how it can be adapted to today’s changing and turbulent environments.
While the course adopts the perspective of a general manager (e.g. head of a strategic business unit), it provides critical insight to functional managers who must align their departments’ activities with the firm’s overall objectives and approach to creating and capturing value (i.e. its competitive strategy). The Strategic Management course employs a multi-method pedagogy. Students learn a set of perspectives, conceptual frameworks, and tools - drawn from industrial organization economics and the behavioral sciences and sociology, with which to understand the opportunities and challenges involved in developing world-class capabilities for competing effectively in globally-linked economies. Through case studies, we explore how a firm’s competitive strategy shapes the way it engages customers, suppliers, competitors, and others comprising its value net. Through project assignments, we investigate how competitive advantage can be quantified using publicly available data. Together, the multiple modes of inquiry will provide insight into why competitive advantage is fundamental to a firm’s long-term success; how the various activities in a firm’s value chain can contribute to competitive advantage; and why, although industries support many competitive strategies, each firm tends to employ only one at a time.

This 1.5-credit course is designed to provide a solid foundation in Strategic Management for all Katz MBAs, while also serving as an introduction to the discipline for those who will take advanced Strategy courses as part of relevant Certificates.

Prerequisites: BACC 2401 (Accounting), BECN 2401 (Economic Analysis), and either BMKT 2409 or BFIN 2409 (Financial Management). It is strongly recommended that students complete all of the aforementioned courses prior to enrollment into this course. It is also desirable to have completed BOAH 2409 (Organizational Behavior) prior to enrollment. 
BSEO 2509—Business and Politics—1.5 credits
The financial crisis, international negotiations toward a climate change agreement, and crises in such industries as pharmaceuticals and even toy manufacturing have highlighted the increasing interdependence of business and government, as well as the means by which business gains strategic benefits from government regulation. This course will examine methods and patterns of business influence on government, policy-making on issues affecting business, the performance of regulatory agencies, and the behaviors of groups and trade associations in politics. The course begins with an extended case study that asks, what caused the current financial crisis that some call "the great recession"? The crisis had multiple, often interacting causes, and involved both public sector and private sector failures. Besides examining the bases of the crisis, we will ask what institutional reforms, and what critical decisions, might have ameliorated the crisis, and might prevent a future crisis. The course will examine both regulatory failure patterns and the means by which firms gain strategic, competitive advantage through shaping government decisions and programs. In examining techniques of lobbying, the course will focus on the US setting and identify both effective and ineffective methods of lobbying. By the end of the course, students should have obtained a good working knowledge of the US regulatory system, the major instruments of regulation, and the typical interactive patterns of regulators and regulated parties.
Prerequisites: none.
BSEO 2511—Management of Strategic Alliances 1—1.5 credits
Strategic alliances and cooperative relationships between two or more firms is rapidly becoming a common feature of a firm's competitive environment. The purpose of this course, therefore, is to examine the nature of both domestic and international alliances, the reasons behind their formation, and the issues related to their management. The topics covered in the course include conceptual frameworks, the nature of the contract, management and performance of the alliance, transfer of technology and information, and organizational learning. Although a variety of strategic alliances will be discussed, particular emphasis is placed on joint ventures.
Prerequisites: none.
BSEO 2525—Competitive Intelligence—1.5 credits
Competitive intelligence is a process, a product, and, most importantly, a philosophy. An effective competitive intelligence program (CIP) is one of the foundations on which strategies and tactics are built, assessed, and modified. A CIP can be defined as a formalized, yet continuously evolving process by which a management team assesses the evolution of its industry and the capabilities and behavior of its current and potential competitors to assist in maintaining or developing a competitive advantage. This course focuses on how to design a CIP and produce actionable intelligence based on my Intelligence Driven Strategy framework. The methods of intelligence collection, analysis, dissemination, and counterintelligence are framed within a global context. The course is particularly relevant for students interested in the areas of strategic planning, marketing, MIS, international business, and finance, although everyone is welcome.
Prerequisites: none.
BSEO 2528—Legal Environment of Business 1—1.5 credits
This course is designed to provide students with the pervasive dimensions of commercial law in society. Through the pragmatic vehicles of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Antitrust Laws, the course will examine the operations and interactions of the judicial, legislative, administrative, and executive processes as reactions to commercial society and as causative factors in commercial society. Heavy emphasis will be placed on preventive law through business planning in the context of commercial law.
Prerequisites: none.
BSEO 2529—Legal Environment of Business 2—1.5 credits
Continuation of BSEO 2528.
Prerequisites: BSEO 2528—Legal Environment of Business I
BSEO 2531—Entrepreneurship and New Venture Initiation—3 credits
This course describes the entrepreneurial process, from developing a framework for analyzing prospective new ventures to examining typical problems encountered in the early life of new ventures, as well as exploring some potential areas for future entrepreneurial activity.
Prerequisite: BACC 2401—Financial Accounting; BMKT 2409Marketing Management; and BFIN 2409—Financial Management I.
BSEO 2538—Strategic Leadership—3 credits
Leadership is under immense pressure today. Organizations have become more complex than ever in confronting the realities of our interconnected world. Strategic endeavor engages us not only to think critically, but also to acquire essential elements to succeed together as organizations offering our products and services. This course highlights the ABC's behind strategic leadership in these changing and challenging times.
Through case studies, guest and student presentations, lectures, and related film documentaries, executive leadership and their range of partners - colleagues, followers, and officials from the public and private sectors - can all participate to foster the necessary attributes for organizational success within the common interests of today's global society, both nationally and internationally.
Prerequisites: None.
BSEO 2543—Acquisition and Divestment—1.5 credits
Given the frequency and magnitude of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity, most Pitt MBAs can expect their careers to be impacted by M&A transactions sooner or later—whether as analysts in the pre-merger phase, as managers or consultants in charge of implementing the merger, or simply as professionals whose career trajectories are inevitably shaped by the event. In order to help you prepare for these roles, Managing Post Merger Integration will address the strategic and organizational challenges of integrating companies so as to realize the promise of value creation. Building on the premise that the real work of M&A begins after the deal is signed, this course will utilize current research findings, case studies, and practitioner experiences to equip you with a working knowledge of effective post-merger integration. At a time when most companies realize that M&As have a poor track record of success precisely due to poor post-merger integration, the educational experience in this course will provide you with a valuable skill set.
Please note: This course will not duplicate discussion of the financial aspects of structuring M&A transactions that are very well covered by elective courses in finance and accounting. Instead, we will address topics such as planning the integration effort, putting an implementation team together, integration approaches that work pitfalls to watch out for, integrating functional strategies (e.g., IT, marketing) dealing with political and stakeholder issues, etc. The course should be of special interest to students interested in management consulting careers, or who expect to have significant general management responsibilities in their jobs, or who want to be knowledgeable about M&A events that are likely to affect their careers sooner or later.
Prerequisites: none, although prior completion of BSEO 2409 (Strategic Management) is recommended.
BSEO 2549—The Effective Global Manager—1.5 credits
BSEO 2549 examines the management practices of effective global managers. In many ways, global managers and domestic managers approach their jobs similarly. But there are differences as well, differences that must be recognized and handled if the manager is to be effective outside his/her home country. Such differences include:
  1. Anticipating unfamiliar competitors;
  2. Dealing with distance;
  3. Responding to strange markets;
  4. Acquiring knowledge faster, and putting that knowledge to work;
  5. Evolving meaningful alliances; and
  6. Calibrating constantly his or her ethical compass.

The course introduces the student to both the similarities and the differences. Delivery of the course includes lectures by experienced global executives, case studies, and a group project in which student teams work directly with a locally-based global executive.

Prerequisites: none.
BSPP 2060—Independent Study in Strategic Planning and Policy—variable credits
An independent course of study in strategic planning and policy may be arranged with a faculty member and a student advisor.
Prerequisites: none.
BSPP 2111—Commercializing New Technologies—3 credits
This course covers theory, conceptual frameworks, and tools used to formulate strategies for commercializing new technologies. The analytical frameworks cover elements of commercialization strategy that are equally critical to start-ups and to corporate technology ventures. In addition, we discuss some of the key challenges that differ for start-ups versus established firms. The primary deliverable in the course is a professional quality project which evaluates the commercialization alternatives for an emerging technology. Your project team will be paired with a local inventor, unless you prefer to evaluate a technology of special interest to your team. Experienced entrepreneurs and expects in financing new technology ventures will also address the class.
Prerequisite: BSPP 2409 (Strategic Management) is preferred but not required.