Just wrapped up the first quarter of my second year. And while the chance to return to school to learn about things I’m passionate about is itself a great opportunity, with the core behind me and a huge selection of courses to choose from, this quarter felt particularly indulgent. I was like a kid in a candy store.Of course, in Managing Strategic Networks it turns out, I was more like a fish in a sea. In this class we analyzed both our own networks, the networks of organizations, and ways to leverage consumer networks in marketing strategies. My personal network is a giant fish (see a semi-squished version here)--with SOMers helping to steer at the head, and contacts from my past propelling me forward. You can check out your own network on LinkedIn by going here: http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/.
In Pricing Strategy we learn just where all those increments of exchange come from, e.g. how businesses capture value from consumers and why we see $.99 at the end of every consumer packaged good, but we’d never see it at the end of a luxury item. For this class I’m working on a group project to help a local start-up price furniture in an entirely new category, and answering questions like "How do people value art and environmental impact?" and "Can we capture this through pricing?" In Competitive Strategy we’re tackling industry by industry to see how not only Porter’s 5 Forces but also incentives and the balance of capital can impact a company’s success or failure. For this class, my group project is to analyze the toy industry. Remember all of those privately owned toy stores growing up? Where did they go and why?! That’s what we’re trying to figure out. And finally, there’s Marketing Strategy, Mecca for marketing people (like me). We’re learning how to apply frameworks to decisions around brand extensions, customer management, lifecycle challenges and more. In this class we’re learning not only from our professor, but accomplished visitors from Visa, Zurich, P&G and PepsiCo. Here, my group project is taking a look at the importance of corporate branding and in which cases a strong corporate identity can help or hurt. This second quarter, I’m adding one more class and next semester, I can't wait to start again with the selection process. Alumni: suggestions are welcome!