Module code: MANM428

Module Overview

Strategic thinking, and ability to do effective strategy formulation and execution are key to businesses across industries. The need for and benefit of these skills is no longer limited to elite staff groups or top executives. Increasingly, companies expect their product managers, senior business analysts and mid-level executives in diverse functions to possess the ability to understand strategic contexts, and think and act strategically. Therefore, this course will focus on the craft, the opportunities and the challenges of developing strategies in these roles. As we do so, the most basic strategic question is: How do we best position and compete among significant uncertainty and ambiguity to maximize value created and profits made in a sustainable way? This is a particular relevant question in Africa and other emerging economies. This course provides students a combination of analytical and engagement tools for strategy projects for internal or external executive clients. Among the analytical skills are methodologies and frameworks for product, firm, industry and market analysis. Among the softer engagement skills are diagnostic skills. Seminal cases and contemporary contexts are used to apply tools and concepts in strategic management. Participants will acquire a critical understanding of strategy formulation, how the field of strategy is scoped, and its implications for managerial practice. Frameworks for analyses will help participants formulate successful business unit or corporate strategy aimed at establishing sustainable competitive positions.

Module provider

Surrey Business School

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 90

Lecture Hours: 12

Seminar Hours: 30

Guided Learning: 6

Captured Content: 12

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Evaluation of the external international business environment and exploiting future trends

Industry attractiveness, industry value chain and industry lifecycle

Internal business resources, capabilities, and core competencies

Strategic planning process and strategy cycle

Business models and generic business strategy

Value innovation and blue ocean strategy

Digital platform strategy

Strategic intent and mission, vision, values

International strategy

Corporate strategy

Growth strategies

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation Group Project Presentation 40
Coursework Individual Assignment 60

Alternative Assessment

Individual Essay to replace Group Presentation if required

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the relevant concepts and theories and showcase their ability to use them in practice. There are two pieces of summative assessment: a group presentation (accounting for 40% of weighting) and an individual essay (accounting for 60% of weighting) provide students with ample opportunity to demonstrate learning from the module. Students will be working on their group assignment project throughout the duration of the module and make incremental progress as the module progresses, receiving formative feedback along the way. There will also be a dedicated supervised session, whereby students will be able to integrate the insights from the entire module into their group project with guidance from the tutor. The individual assessment will be a reflective essay on a set topic, which will require students to draw upon their own experiences, reflections and reading. Alternative assessment will be by individual coursework. Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: group presentation (40% weighting) and individual essay (60% weighting).  

Module aims

  • Introduce a range of management, international business and sustainability issues pertinent to understanding how organisations integrate these elements to form an effective and sustainable strategy

  • Systematically analyse organisations from a process rather than a functional perspective with the emphasis on integration
  • Equip students with a sound understanding of the process of strategic management and the different components of the strategy development cycle
  • Help students understand the challenges associated with international business
  • Provide a platform for developing an awareness of sustainability issues and their link to strategy
  • Provide practical reinforcement of the issues discussed in class via case study learning
  • Introduce students to a range of practitioners

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Critically understand the idea of schools of strategy to create a contextual analyses platform K
002 Formulate strategy aimed at establishing sustainable competitive advantage based upon the deployment of superior resources and capabilities K
003 Use a set of operational tools of analysis aimed at gaining short- to medium-term advantages in markets where long term advantages are difficult or impossible to create CK
004 Deploy the strategic contexts of innovation and leadership P
005 Examine the relationship between strategy and sustainability KP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to focus on learning fundamental theories and critical evaluation, by giving students the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of relevant theories, models and research, from a cross-cultural perspective.

The module will comprise lectures and discussion groups, as well active and self-directed learning. Whilst the lectures are mainly designed to illustrate and explain theoretical concepts and models, the seminars/discussion groups explore and illuminate the theoretical concepts and models by reference to and explanation of a range of topical issues and case studies. Group discussions are therefore designed to develop a more practical insight into the applied nature of the various topics covered. Active learning includes engaging in classroom practical exercises, video and case analyses, and, group work on the practical component of the assessment. Self-directed learning pertains to engaging in reading material relevant to the module.

Prior to attending the lecture and seminar, students are expected to undertake the essential reading for the sessions.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Teaching concepts and then learning through case studies

Video and simulations

Conversations with external senior managers

Presentations by external clients and Q&A sessions

Workshop activities conducted in teams and with clients

Self-directed learning

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MANM428

Other information

Digital Skills: The module provides students with an opportunity to be proficient in communicating a detailed strategic plan succinctly through an integrated use of PowerPoint for presenting and MS Word for putting together the final proposed strategic plan with key recommendations.  


Resourcefulness and resilience: Students will develop their collaboration skills through group work to develop their strategic thinking, draw on their experiences and learn from others. These skills will be developed and refined through the student’ active participation in the group discussions and team meetings either f2f or remotely via MS Teams and Zoom when/if geographical dispersed whilst understanding the critical roles of strategic thinking in developing firm level competitive advantages. 


Employability: The group work provides an opportunity to interpret theory to practice and it requires strategic decision-making skills when examining their case studies. There is an application of critical thinking skills and and the use of qualitative/quantitative information for analyzing stakeholders, business environments, competition and threats that will impact their chosen organizations. 

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Master of Business Administration MBA(MBA PART-TIME YEAR 1) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.