What I Didn't Learn in Business School: How Strategy Works in the Real World

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Overview

Meet Justin Campbell. He's a new MBA graduate who's landed a job with a strategy consultancy. His engagement team is on a mission: help HGS Inc., a specialty chemicals firm, define and execute a strategy for exploiting a textile technology the company developed.

Justin and his team deploy state-of-the-art strategy tools to analyze the attractiveness of potential markets for the technology. But they soon realize the tools don't help them grapple with the human side of ...

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What I Didn't Learn in Business School: How Strategy Works in the Real World

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Overview

Meet Justin Campbell. He's a new MBA graduate who's landed a job with a strategy consultancy. His engagement team is on a mission: help HGS Inc., a specialty chemicals firm, define and execute a strategy for exploiting a textile technology the company developed.

Justin and his team deploy state-of-the-art strategy tools to analyze the attractiveness of potential markets for the technology. But they soon realize the tools don't help them grapple with the human side of strategy—including political forces swirling within HGS. Everyone involved in the engagement is biased and insecure, brilliant and hardworking, selfish and lazy, loyal and dedicated.

Justin and his cohorts aren't "real"—What I Didn't Learn in Business School is a business novel. But they're realistic: they're just like us. Their story reveals the limitations of strategy tools and demonstrates tactics for navigating the messy, human dynamics that can make or break a company's strategy efforts.

This engaging book uses the power of story to present potent lessons for anyone seeking to excel at strategy management. It's a compelling read—whether you're an MBA grad struggling to apply what you learned or in the fray and eager to see what MBAs get wrong when they land in the real world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Written as a novel, this book is an engaging way to give readers a glimpse of what’s really involved in developing business strategy.” T+D Magazine

“A worthwhile read if you are taking your first steps to developing corporate strategy.” Business Standard (India)

“… interesting, important, unique, and realistic business novel…”

“Highly recommended.” – CHOICE Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781422157633
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 592,084
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jay Barney is a professor of management at the Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business. He has published numerous articles in strategy and management journals, as well as five bestselling textbooks on strategy. Trish Clifford is formerly the Director of Global Strategy Learning at McKinsey & Company, and now spends her time in private practice working with mid- and upper-level managers in a variety of companies to strengthen strategic capabilities through a tailored mix of consulting, workshops, experiential learning, asynchronous and classroom learning. She works throughout the US, Asia, and Europe.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Series Introduction ii
Preface vi
Acknowledgements ix
Prologue x
Part One: The Team and the Problem 1
Chapter One: Turbulence 2
Chapter Two: The Consulting Team 7
Chapter Three: The Client Team and a Surprise 18
Chapter Four: A Coffee Disaster 29
Part Two: What Is the Problem? 41
Chapter Five: A Present Value Mystery 42
Chapter Six: It’s the Industry 54
Chapter Seven: It’s Not Just the Industry 64
Chapter Eight: Which Industry Is It? 74
Chapter Nine: It’s All About Synergy 82
Chapter Ten: On Synergy and All that Stuff 92
Chapter Eleven: On Value Chains and Sustained Competitive Advantages 101
Chapter Twelve: Turbulence 110
Part Three: Mid-Course Corrections 113
Chapter Thirteen: Exercised 114
Chapter Fourteen: Jackie 118
Chapter Fifteen: Throw Out All the Rules 125
Chapter Sixteen: Well, Not All the Rules 135
Chapter Seventeen: Options 143
Part Four: Analysis Is Not Strategy 153
Chapter Eighteen: How to Evaluate the Alternatives 154
Chapter Nineteen: Me Cracking the Case 158
Chapter Twenty: The Case Cracking Me 165
Chapter Twenty-one: An Informative Cab Ride 169
Chapter Twenty-two: Back to the Lab 175
Chapter Twenty-three: What Are the Core Competencies 183
Chapter Twenty-four: Reflections 185
Chapter Twenty-five: Romance 194
Part Five: Making Strategy Happen 199
Chapter Twenty-six: Getting Ready for the Final Push 200
Chapter Twenty-seven: First Time Out of the Box 212
Chapter Twenty-eight: Planning for Change 221
Chapter Twenty-nine: Final Presentation 227
Chapter Thirty: On the Beach 238

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  • Posted April 9, 2013

    What I Didn't Learn in Business School: How Strategy Works in th

    What I Didn't Learn in Business School: How Strategy Works in the Real World by Jay Barney and Trish Gorman Clifford reveals the shortfalls of the principles learned in the idealistic academic environment when applied directly to the messy, unpredictable and politically charged business world. Through a storied approach, Jay and Trish reveal the inadequacies of modeling to fully predict business outcomes and the challenge of creating alignment among leaders with differing points of view and personal agendas. They go on to illustrate the power of moving leaders past the limits of these barriers and their own collective experience to gain significant marketplace advantages and organizational prosperity.

    I like What I Didn't Learn in Business School because it so clearly illustrates the premise for our website, namely, that while highly beneficial, academic principles must be adapted from the ideal environment of the classroom to the unpredictable environment of the shop floor in order to provide real value to any organization. Furthermore, no single model or performance measure can adequately portray a given situation in such a way that a definitive decision can be made. Rather, multiple models and measures should be employed to create a complete picture of performance from differing perspectives to enable robust decision-making.

    Its well supported, fully illustrated assertion that strong business performance is achieved through the application of sound academic principles tempered by real-world business experience makes What I Didn't Learn in Business School a StrategyDriven recommended read.

    All the Best,
    Nathan Ives
    StrategyDriven Principal

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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