A general plans an army's strategy for war, and a coach plans his football team's strategy for a game. Likewise, an organization's leaders will plan a business's corporate strategy. Learning to formulate and implement strategy is part of the coursework for an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.
Defining corporate strategy
A corporate strategy cannot always be boiled down to one sentence, one paragraph or one set of steps to follow. It is an overall picture of what a company is striving to accomplish. It involves knowing where the company is today, where it hopes to be in the future and the steps required to get it there. In some ways, corporate strategy incorporates elements of the mission statement, business plan and action steps, all rolled into one. Corporate strategy also requires a company to have a clear understanding of its organizational identity, its market placement and its company capabilities, in order for the corporation to accomplish its goals.
Importance of corporate strategy
Having a corporate strategy can give a company razor-sharp focus. It allows an organization to know how best to use its resources to pursue its objectives. When companies define their corporate strategy, they give themselves a direction and course to follow for years to come, especially when challenges arise.
In turn, having a corporate strategy allows the company to easily recognize areas where it does not need to focus. Anything that does not contribute to achieving the company's goals should not be included in the business plan, corporate strategy or corporate culture. Having this type of focus helps companies eliminate wasted time, money and effort.
Components of corporate strategy
Look back to the analogy in the introductory paragraph. A general develops a strategy for the overall war he is fighting, not just for one battle. A football coach must have an overarching plan for the entire game (or entire season), not just for the next play on the field.
In the same way, corporate strategy covers a broad vision of what the company wants to accomplish over a long period of time, not just their yearly goals or desired project outcomes. A corporate strategy will include the essence of a company's mission statement, their why in all that they do, and it will involve all the areas of their business plan. Each of the company's short-term goals and action steps should be contributing in some way to their corporate strategy.
Students in an online MBA program will study aspects of corporate strategy in the course of their graduate work. They will gain knowledge of how companies can gain strategic advantage in competitive markets through industry analysis, evaluation of alternatives and processes and using appropriate controls. As with other classes in an MBA program, the coursework on corporate strategy engages students in practical, real-life activities that will prepare them for success in their business careers.
Learn more about the UT Tyler online MBA program.
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