Economic Analysis & Policy Group


Fall 2012 EAP Courses


Full-time MBA Program


Course Name Course Description
Economics for Business Decision Making

The goal of this course is to teach you how to use the tools of microeconomics to understand your business environment. There are two ways in which microeconomics is useful to
managers. First, it will help you understand markets. Since business is filled with markets-from product markets to input markets to labor markets to financial markets-this tool will be useful in
many contexts. Second, an understanding of microeconomics in general and markets in particular can help you think systematically about managing your firm's resources. This, in turn,
will help you formulate strategic decisions to create and capture value.
We will analyze many practical questions faced by managers, including: How should the presence of uncertainty affect my decision process? How should I account for costs in deciding
whether or not to enter a market or how to price a product? What are the effects of different pricing strategies? We will use readings, in-class exercises and cases to equip you with the economic tools to manage for competitive advantage.

Competitive and Corporate Strategy

This is a course that deals with the management of strategic adaptation and change within highly competitive markets.  We are currently living in one of the most intense eras of market transformation in recent history, and many firms and organizations are having serious difficulty in adapting to new realities, as traditional managerial theories and tools are not working as well as needed.  Why is this: does it have to do with the velocity of change in the business environment— the speed with which change is occurring being too rapid for easy adjustment?  Or is it ill-equipped managers who are unable or unwilling to understand market dynamics quickly enough to reallocate resources to the new conditions that surround them?  Or is it due to a combination of these external environment - internal behavioral and organizational forces? 

To respond to these questions we will utilize the emerging management construct of “Dynamic Capabilities” to organize the course.  Dynamic Capabilities can be described as “the firm’s ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing environments” (as stated by Prof. D. Teece of The Haas School, who is credited with the development of this new approach to strategic management). Traditional strategic management concepts, such as the famed “Porter Model” of competitor analysis, are under stress for their difficulty in resolving problems presented by the global, technologically driven, knowledge-based, and extremely dynamic marketplace that characterizes many industries today.  As an example, our conventional models of management continue to presume that firms compete primarily in a manufacturing environment in which scale, heavy fixed investment, externalization of production byproducts (such as waste), unlimited supplies of inputs, rigid organizational hierarchies, tightly controlled management-subordinate relationships, and defined industry structures (typically oligopolies) are the order of the day.  Clearly, this characterization is becoming less prevalent if not outright obsolete-- and indeed, clinging to it may be the reason for the failure of so many firms in the face of market change.  As such, an evolution in thinking is perhaps inevitable in how business firm managers approach their task in the new and dynamic 21st Century economy.  The emerging concept of “dynamic capabilities” is designed to address these shortcomings.
We will utilize a number of pedagogical approaches in this course, including case studies and  lecture/discussions sessions.  Since there will be a case assigned for each class, students should be prepared to engage these course materials with vigor, actively participate in classroom discussions, and embrace your classmates as professional colleagues in our quest for the new truth about business organization management.

Strategy, Structure, and Incentives

Business success depends upon strategy, structure, and incentives. The focus here is on using insights from economics to develop structure, tactics, and incentives to achieve the firm's goals. Competitive advantage is achieved through the management of the firm's resources, as well as those of upstream suppliers, network and alliance partners, and downstream distributors. We develop a framework for analyzing organizational architecture, focusing on the allocation of decision rights, the measurement of performance, and the design of incentives. We focus on managing the vertical chain of upstream suppliers and downstream distributors, including the fundamental make or buy decisions that determine the limits of the firm. Our discussion links the competitive landscape to the firm's external and internal strategic decisions. We also examine techniques for dealing with informational asymmetries. A major focus of this course is the design and operation of incentive and performance management systems both within the firm and in external contracts.

 

 


Evening & Weekend MBA Program


Course Name Course Description
Economics for Business Decision Making

 

Strategy, Structure, and Incentives

 

Game Theory

This course is a survey of the main ideas and techniques of game-theoretic analysis related to conflict and negotiation. As such, the course emphasizes the identification and analysis of archetypal strategic situations. The goals of the course are to provide students with a foundation to:

(i) Recognize and assess archetypal strategic situations in complicated settings.
(ii) Apply game-theoretic analysis, both formally and intuitively, to business situations.
(iii) Feel comfortable in the process of strategic thinking.

The course has a strong experiential component. Students will repeatedly participate in a variety of experiments thereby developing the ability to translate their analyses into practice.

Topics in Economic Analysis and Policy

The Dynamic Capabilities Approach is a course that deals with the management of strategic adaptation and change. We are currently living in one of the most intense eras of market transformation in recent history, and many firms and organizations are having serious difficulty in adapting to new realities, as traditional managerial theories and tools are not working as well as needed.

Dynamic Capabilities can be described as “the firm’s ability to integrate, build, and reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing environments.” Traditional strategic management concepts, such as the famed “Porter model” of competitor analysis, are under stress for their inability to resolve problems presented by the global, technologically driven, knowledge-based, and extremely dynamic marketplace that characterizes many industries today. As an example, our conventional models of management continue to presume that firms compete primarily in a manufacturing environment in which scale, heavy fixed investment, externalization of production byproducts (such as waste), unlimited supplies of inputs, rigid organizational hierarchies, tightly controlled management-subordinate relationships, and defined industry structures (typically oligopolies) are the order of the day. Clearly, this characterization is becoming less prevalent if not outright obsolete; indeed, clinging to it may be the reason for the failure of so many firms in the face of market change.


Executive MBA Program


Course Name Course Description
Global Economic Environment
This is a course in introductory macroeconomics, with a strong emphasis on international
applications. There are two objectives for this course. The first is to develop simple models of the
goods and services, asset, capital, and labor markets which can be usefully applied to generate
realistic predictions regarding the behavior of such macroeconomic variables as: output;
employment; inflation; the current account; and interest and exchange rates. The second is to apply
these models to understand and interpret current and historical macroeconomic developments,
primarily in the industrialized OECD countries

 

 

 

Undergraduate Program

 

Course Name Course Description
Microeconomic Analysis for Business Decisions

Microeconomics is the study of the economy at the level of consumers, firms, and individual markets. It is essential as a tool for business decision-making, as well as for general understanding of how markets work. The emphasis of this course will be on the aspects of microeconomics that are most relevant to business management. Compared to a typical microeconomics course, there will be less emphasis on the theory of the consumer (e.g. utility functions), and more emphasis on firm strategy (e.g. price discrimination). Basic calculus and basic probability will be used.

 

 

Competitive Strategy

 

Competitive strategy focuses on the strategic interactions among competitors in dynamic business environments.  In this course, we will assume a senior-executive perspective on the management of organizations with the intent of improving your strategic decision-making skills.  We will use basic applied economic perspectives to examine strategic decision-making in both competitive and cooperative settings.  You will learn the analytical tools used by firms to examine the ways in which companies can interpret and anticipate strategic actions among competitors. With these tools, you will be able to analyze the rational and irrational behaviors displayed in strategic interactions over time.

The course will address questions such as: What determines the balance of power in an industry?  Why is the timing of market entry critical?  How can companies use signaling to their competitive advantage? How can competitive bidding situations be turned in one company's favor? How do firms use tacit collusion to influence the profitability of their firms and of their competitors? 

This course will encourage you to develop a dynamic, interactive view of organizations a view in which competitors do not sit idly by while you carry out your strategy (they react!). This course is relevant to any student who anticipates eventually becoming involved in the strategic decision-making of organizations either as consultants or as executives.

 

International Trade

 

No course description provided