For the Strategic Management course I co-teach, we chose one industry and gave each student team an organization within this industry to study from a strategic point of view. The industry was higher education and the organizations were the University of Michigan, Arizona State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Western Governors University. Each school had two student teams studying it.
The main question we asked the students to answer was: What would you do if you were in the driver’s seat of this organization? The answer, of course, must be backed up with quite a bit of research and analysis.
The teams turned in their papers Monday and we started presentations in class on Tuesday. Some teams did quite a bit of analysis on the school’s core strengths, the overall higher education industry, nascent trends and future implications, and competitive threats. Interestingly, the answers to the question posed vary considerably, even for the teams studying the same university, which creates some rich discussion about assumptions they have and implicit tradeoffs they made in formulating strategy.
We will be doing more of this type of analysis and discussion in several upcoming two-day professional development programs in Strategy and Competition in Higher Education. If you are interested in this area, please join me for one of the sessions in April, July or November of next year.