ECO 351M • Managerial Economics
The course is about the strategies that firms can use to gain an advantage in markets that are very competitive (such as product/service differentiation, pricing strategies, corporate re-organization, mergers/acquisitions, etc.) Preston McAfee's book mixes theory about the kinds of competitive strategies that are available with examples of how they have been (or are being) used. The case studies provide real world discussions of corporate efforts to apply particular strategies. The case study write-ups give students a chance to focus on how the strategies work in actual practice. The course organization is based on the 'case study method' used in the Harvard Business School. It gives students practical experience in 1) reading and interpreting real world competitive analysis, 2) meeting recurring writing deadlines, 3)presenting material to an informed audience, 4) participating in group projects where their grade depends partly on the work of others, 5) thinking about what an economist can contribute to corporate strategizing. Students seem to enjoy the class, the participation in the presentations is enthusiastic. Also, I've received email from some students of last spring's class saying their use of ideas from the class had made a difference in their job interviews.