Order of MBA courses

Chas. A. Barclay (BARCLAY@busadm.cba.hawaii.edu)
Fri, 18 Nov 1994 12:17:59 -1000


It is a serious mistake to take the capstone strategy course first for
two reasons.

1st, strategy encompasses the major functional areas of accounting,
finance, marketing, and operations. It even depends on lesser areas
such as law and HRM. You would be shortchanging your education to
take strategy before knowing NPV's, CAP-M, auditing, promotional
planning & activities, costing, pricing, CQI, MRP, planning,
scheduling, and economics of the firm.

You'll need the decision criteria and methods from decision sciences
& managerial accounting courses to evaluate strategic decisions. And
you'll need a thorough understanding of regression analysis and
statistics to understand how/why your strategic plans interact in a
competitive environment.

At least you'd need all that in my strategy course.

2nd, most courses in strategy have a significant element of teamwork
involved. Without those other classes you'd be a drag on your team.
This will earn you the reputation of leper and pariah. Bad thing to
have at the beginning of your program. If you don't understand the
subtle differences & limitations between IRR, NPV, and payback
periods you can hardly make an informed decision regarding expected

Many strategy courses are geared to making studnets recommend
specific strategies. Without evaluation tools you might as well
throw some dice or consult noted psycho-babbologist Kebrina Kincaid
for your answers. And why the hell not? Many strategists look that

I recommend instead Andrew for you to do this during the Christmas
break. Get Michael Porter's Competitive Advantage (1985), Competitive
Strategy (1980), and read them cover to cover. Go to a local
consultant and ask to assist them in conducting an industry analysis.
Then read strategy articles from Harvard Busienss Review, and
BusinessWeek cover to cover from here on out. You will then be so
much better prepared than your classmates they will clamor to be on
your team. And your professors will fear your titan-like command of
the facts which are ordered in a phenomenal framework from Porter.

In learning about business there is no substitute for hard
theoretical work combined with practical applications of those
theories. Check out BusinessWeek's October 24 issue on the best B-

Do this and you will be a formidable force in your school.

Charles Barclay 2404 Maile Way
Dept. of Mgmt & Ind Relations Honolulu, HI 96822
University of Hawaii Fax: 808 956-2774
barclay@busadm1.cba.hawaii.edu Phone: 808 956-8545

BTW, "It's the policies & philosophy, Mr. President!"