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This course introduces you to the tools and frameworks used in market evaluation and assessment of the competition. As you explore MBA-level business concepts and practices, you'll learn what makes a particular business profitable and how it achieves competitive advantage in a given market. You'll dig into real-world case studies and gain a more nuanced understanding of business and organizational mechanics. Your grasp of the essentials will prepare you to think practically about developing a competitive, profit-driven business strategy.

How do you define the vertical market you're in? How big is your potential reach? Who are the other players and what kind of threat do they represent? Is your business structured to be profitable?

Central to your business strategy is identifying your strategic position. Strategic positioning is essentially how your firm "stacks up" to the competition and helps to define the scope and scale of your business. To survive and thrive you need accurate data-driven models for self-assessment and competition analysis.

This online course will cover product or service differentiation and help you stake your claim in a particular market segment. You'll delve into fascinating case studies from fashion icon Gucci to jewelry giant Zales and review several of the greatest do's and don'ts in the history of strategic positioning.

In this online course, you will see how mergers and acquisitions can shake up entire industries, such as the disastrous AOL/Time Warner merger or the Sirius/XM satellite radio takeover. You'll also study how niche industry maneuvers can escalate into full-blown monopoly cases, such as the Whole Foods/Wild Oats debacle. You'll learn why some businesses openly court corporate takeovers, while others resist M&A to the bitter end. Every business strategy should account for the eventual possibility of merging with another company or acquiring a competitor.

One way to grow and take market share away from the competition is through a merger or acquisition. Vertically integrating your supply chain (assuming control over previously outsourced processes, such as parts manufacturing) is another way to control costs, increase efficiency and ensure quality in order to grow business, but vertical integration is not suitable for every business.

In this online course, you will learn about supply chain challenges and compare and contrast the "manufacture in-house versus buy from outside vendor" approaches. You'll use MBA-level models for reviewing case studies. You'll explore and critique real-world business maneuvers to identify pitfalls and drawbacks and make smarter choices in your own strategy formulation.

The introduction of Game Theory to business is a natural, as it serves to answer the central question "what are my opponents thinking and what is their next move?" Chess masters know how to think a few moves ahead, and put themselves "in the shoes" of their rival.

Known as "Allocentrism", the Game Theory approach can give your business an advantage and allows you to find synergies, even with your competition, counterintuitive as it seems. Learn to get inside the motivations and strategies of your rivals, exploit their weaknesses and bring more value to your business proposition. Discover how to "change the game" and turn the odds in your favor.

In this online course, you will review the fundamental elements of pricing, including cost issues and monopoly pricing. See how nuanced approaches to price discrimination such as discounts and linear tariffs can influence pricing decisions and positively influence the bottom line.

Learn competitive techniques like targeted discounts, poaching, and the value of upgrades and trade-ins in pricing models. Understand how the role of product line choices and competitive product lines can keep other firms out of your market and positively influence your market share.