Which begs the question: How can today’s MBA, Executive MBA, and DBA students prepare themselves with the knowledge and skills they'll need to innovate and act in the ever-changing business landscape? Strategic management studies can make a profound difference. Here’s a closer look at what business strategy is, why it matters, and how current and future top managers can gain the business strategy skills they need.
What is strategy?
While we all have a basic idea of what “strategy” means, many attempts have been made to define it. In an article for Forbes, founder of consulting firm Uncommon Clarity, Ann Latham, proposes, “A strategy is a framework for making decisions about how you will play the game of business.” These decisions pertain to a range of priorities, including business model, capital investments, operations, marketing, branding, production, hiring, and sales. In addition to overarching “big picture” strategies which address the structure and core functions of a business, specific strategies are also vital. These comprise manufacturing strategies, hiring strategies, marketing strategies, and sales strategies.
Strategy does not delineate how to make everything happen, but it does set forth the basics regarding how an organization will deliver value to owners, customers, partners, and society. In providing the guidelines by which an organization will reach its goals, a strategy becomes a roadmap for organizations to follow as they move forward. “Without a strategic framework to guide these decisions, the organization will run in too many different directions, accomplish little, squander profits, and suffer enormous confusion and discord,” adds Latham.
It’s not enough to merely deploy strategic management, however. In order to understand whether their strategies are succeeding or falling short, organizations must also have the mechanisms in place to assess, measure, and review results.
Why business strategy matters now more than ever
Business strategy and Strategic management have always been important. However, they may be more important now than ever. As innovation and technological advancement continue to rapidly galvanize global economies, companies with the ability to respond and react will gain a competitive advantage.
Strategy and leadership thought leader Anthony Taylor explains, “If you are going to run a successful organization in the future, you need to understand what's going on both within and beyond your competitive environment. You need to be quick to adapt to these shifts and changes by creating organizational structures that support all levels of your organization to implement changes that align with your strategic goals.”
There’s no more relevant example of the value of strategic management than the COVID-19 crisis. The seismic changes to the business world caused by the pandemic underscore the importance of agility in the face of abrupt disruption. It’s not just about the ability to pivot, however; but also to do so in a sustainable way. Strategic priorities highlighted by COVID-19 include resilience, planning for the upheaval resulting from ecological and environmental threats, preventative planning over short-term profits, and the integration of government policies alongside business economics.
Putting strategy front and center
We’ve established the importance of business strategy knowledge and skills for the next generation of business leaders. If you aspire to a career in business, then the Eurasian Management & Administration School’s (EMAS) fast track DBA in Strategic Management or Global Executive MBA in Strategic Management programs may be exactly what you’ve been looking for. Russians are traditionally strong in Strategy, which is proven through the history of humankind.
Russia’s top-ranked MBA and DBA programs offering online and blended learning, the programs are designed to help students recognize the unique aspects of organizations in order to build smart strategies and capitalize on them. In a crowded field of business schools, this is what makes EMAS stand out from the rest: it views strategy and strategic management as the most important discipline for managers, and offers in-depth training on the subject and applicable methods.
EMAS’s DBA and Executive MBA in Strategic Management stand out in other ways, too. These online and blended learning programs integrate a project-based implementation learning component to ensure students don’t just get theoretical knowledge but implement that knowledge in the real-life practice of their companies and acquire real-life valuable practical skills. Furthermore, a mix of asynchronous and synchronous learning offers students the ‘best of both worlds’ experience.
Graduates of the EMAS’s DBA and Executive MBA in Strategic Management walk away with at least 31 business management skills and extensive business connections forged both through their online studies and opportunities for face-to-face interactions in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. Alumnus Stefano from Switzerland, says of the experience he had during his Executive MBA studies at EMAS, “I had the pleasure to attend the EMBA program at EMAS. The implementation projects approach is what made the difference from other schools. Through this method the student not only has to study the classic Theories of Business, she/he also has to learn a more practical approach and implement this, in 15 projects, into their own company. This method allowed me to better understand my company and to develop a strategic mindset Based on practice and not only on theory. I highly recommend this school! The workload is quite high, but it is worth it!"
In the fast-moving business world where today’s skills may be obsolete tomorrow, EMAS also offers ongoing value to its alumni in the form of continuous learning opportunities: All alumni have access to updated programs online and free of charge.
More than 20 years ago, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos explained the importance of strategic thinking in a letter to shareholders. “We believe that a fundamental measure of our success will be the shareholder value we create over the long term.” While the pressure to think myopically in order to deliver short term results can be both overwhelming and counter-productive, Amazon’s status today as a multinational e-commerce behemoth speaks for itself. Those looking to join Bezos and visionary leaders like him can position themselves for success with strategic management studies.
Article is written in association with the Eurasian Management & Administration School (EMAS Business School).