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Strategic Thinking for Growing Your Enterprise

Monday, May 2, 2016 to Friday, May 27, 2016
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Economics professors Paul Oyer, Mike Mazzeo, and Scott Schaefer have spent the past six years visiting small to medium-sized ventures around the world, gathering stories of success and failure.

This course uses those stories to provide lessons that can help business leaders identify new opportunities and avoid pitfalls as their company reaches for the next level. We will do a deep dive into key strategy concepts, based on economic fundamentals, that will help you think about growing your business. You will learn about these concepts through the examples of real-life businesses and then practice applying the concepts to your business (or a business you know well).

During the course, we'll ask you to think about questions like:

  • What scales and what doesn't?

  • What does your cost structure tell you about your future?

  • Where can you add value for your customers so that they will be willing to pay a price that can ensure you stay profitable as you grow?

Strategic Thinking for Growing Your Enterprise will conclude with a final team project where you will analyze and address a key strategic growth challenge of a business.

Most of the course material will be self-paced, but there will also be live webinars where you can ask the professors questions about challenges you face and participate in discussions with business owners whose companies you learn about in the class content.

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Understand the economic foundations of strategy (but we promise not to do too much math to get you there)
Make an analytical case to support a strategic growth initiative

  • Be in a position to make analogies from cases/examples to other organizations
Hopefully, have a lot of fun!




You need a computer that allows you to watch the video lectures, and the ability to upload your assignments, which will be images, videos, slides, and text. You should also be prepared to collaborate with teammates via email, Skype, and other free online tools.


Paul Oyer

Fred H. Merrill Professor of Economics in the Stanford University Graduate School of Business

Paul Oyer has been on the Stanford faculty since 2000, where he teaches classes in Economics, Strategy, and Human Resource Management. He is also a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economics and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Labor Economics. Paul does research in the field of labor economics. In addition, he is the author of two books -- "Roadside MBA" (with Michael Mazzeo and Scott Schaefer) and "Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating". Thanks to his ongoing collaboration with the other instructors of this MOOC, Paul has visited all fifty states, spent a day on a dairy farm, and driven across shockingly expensive toll bridges throughout Scandinavia.

Scott Schaefer

Kendall D. Garff Chair in Business Administration at the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business

Scott Schaefer joined the University of Utah faculty in 2005, and served as Associate Dean from 2009 to 2012. Prior to moving to Utah, he taught for ten years Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, where he held the Richard M. Paget Chair. Scott does research on the economics of organization, with an emphasis on employment relationships and decision-making inside firms. He has won multiple teaching awards at both Kellogg and Utah, and has co-authored the booksEconomics of Strategy and Roadside MBA. Scott holds a PhD from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and enjoys driving rental cars on two-lane roads with spotty cell coverage.

Michael Mazzeo

Associate Professor of Strategy at Kellogg School of Management

Mike Mazzeo is an Associate Professor in the Strategy Department of the Kellogg School of Management, and a Faculty Associate at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research. He teaches Kellogg's core MBA and EMBA classes in Business Strategy, and is a three-time recipient of the school's Core Course Teaching Award. He is the Academic Director of Kellogg's open enrollment executive program in Competitive Strategy. He joined the faculty in 1998 after completing his PhD in economics at Stanford University.


Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment?

Subject to satisfactory performance and course completion, you will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructor.

How much of the time commitment will this course be?

Expect to spend between 2 - 3 hours per week on the course over the four-week period. This class is mostly asynchronous and does not meet at specific times. Live webinars will be recorded for those who are unable to attend at the scheduled time.

Any additional textbooks or software required?

There is no textbook for this course. The instructors have written a book called Roadside MBA: Backroad Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners if you are interested in learning more about the material covered in this course.

Strategic Thinking for Growing Your Enterprise

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