Hello, and welcome to this course in strategic management. And thank you so much for your interest in exploring this course. My name is Deepak Somaya. I am truly delighted and excited to be your instructor. Let me begin by giving you a little background about myself. I'm originally from India and grew up in the large bustling metropolis of Bombay or what is called Mumbai today. After getting a degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta. I worked for a few years in business, primarily, as a management consultant. I came to the United States to get my PhD in Business Administration at the University of California at Berkeley, which was just a phenomenal and eye-opening intellectual experience. I've been at the University of Illinois since 2008, and I'm a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the College of Business. And I also have an appointment at the College of Law. I want to share with you that a major part of my job, a part that I truly love and enjoy, is to be a researcher and scholar. My main research program is on the strategic management of knowledge assets. Assets such as technology, talent, and relationships, which you might recognize are absolutely critical for the success of 21st century businesses. As a teacher and educator, which is my other role, I feel truly blessed. I have this amazing opportunity to interact with so many eager and inquisitive learners like you. And to share with you my expertise and insights, which are often directly informed by my research. In this introductory video, I will go over some important preliminaries that will help orient you through the rest of this foundational course in strategic management. First, I want to give you an idea what strategic management is all about. Strategic management is the set of knowledge and skills used by leaders and managers to achieve the overall long-term goals of their organizations. Making choices and decisions is an important aspect of strategic management, which includes decisions about what an organization should do as well as things that it should not do. Learning about strategic management can be very useful and interesting no matter what your current job or career path is. If you want to understand how and why businesses succeed or fail, you can learn something from this course. This type of knowledge can be of great value if you're planning your career, and need to get a holistic perspective on your company. Or if you're an entrepreneur or a manager developing a new business venture. Or even if you're an investor or strategic partner on the outside trying to understand the future prospects of a company that you might be doing business with. Because strategy is closely tied with the goals and work of leaders and companies, we will be taking the perspective of a corporate leader. Say a CEO or a business manager or general manager, throughout this course. This holistic strategic perspective is very useful even if you're not currently in a leadership role. Top business leaders are often frustrated with employees who might be very competent at their functional tasks, but cannot comprehend or connect with the big picture, the strategy of the company. In other words, learning strategic management is about learning the language of corporate leaders. If you want to have a meaningful conversation with a top manager in a company, you need to speak strategy. Let me also say that the focus of this course is on business strategy. That is the strategic management of a single business unit. After completing this course, you might also want to take the companion course on corporate strategy, which deals with topics related to multi business firms and to corporate governance. This course is organized as four modules, each with a set of core interrelated topics. The first module focuses on strategic leadership. In it, you will learn about how leaders set the stage for strategic management by providing a company with a mission, vision, and values, and by developing or modifying this business model. In Module 2, we will focus on the analysis of the external environment that businesses operate in. An important component of external analysis is industry analysis. And you will learn how to apply an important tool, the five forces framework, for analyzing industries, and predicting if an industry will be more or less profitable. In module 3, we will turn our attention from the external environment to looking inside companies to understand how and why some of them develop a competitive advantage, and others do not. A key idea that you will learn about is what makes a company's competitive advantage durable or sustainable in the long run, which is an important goal for most companies. In module 4, you will combine what you learned in internal and external analysis to understand how firms can strategically position themselves in their environments by using what are known as generic business strategies. We will also learn about some ways in which companies can respond to adversity and change by strategically renewing or dynamically repositioning themselves. In each of these modules, and in this course as a whole, I have three main learning goals for you. First, modern companies can be quite large and complex organizations, and often operate in difficult and dynamic environments. So what I want you to understand is how a company's strategy is critical for making its different functions and activities fit together. And for also aligning these internal elements with the external environment to create overall performance. Secondly, I would like you to learn the main strategic management tools and frameworks that we will cover, and appropriately apply them to real-world business context. For example, you'll be learning how to analyze business models, the industry environment, competitive advantage, strategic positioning, and so on. Last but not least, a core skill for any strategic manager is the ability to process diverse business and industry data, separate important information from noise, and synthesize it into a coherent and actionable strategic plan. To achieve these learning goals, you will have a variety of resources at your disposal. I will, of course, be explaining key concepts for each of the topics using video lectures. And my lecture slides would be available to you as a reference. Often, my lectures are interspersed with questions or exercises to engage you and enhance your learning. Do them diligently. I guarantee you they'll help you learn better. In addition, this course includes a series of video interviews with executive experts, CEOs or leaders of billion dollar companies. These videos connect the key concepts you learn through my video lectures with the real-world practical application of these concepts as seen through the eyes of incredibly accomplished managers and entrepreneurs. Each module includes a case study exercise, which in addition to being a key part of the assessment, is also a great way to apply and learn key concepts. Here, you get to apply the main framework or tools you learn to a real-world company or industry, which is a fantastic way for consolidating and deepening your learning. Last but not least, some of your lessons in strategic management will come directly from the soccer field. Yes, you heard me right, soccer or football, for those of you who are not American. Now, football can be a confusing term for many people. So just to be clear, I will call it soccer throughout. I think team sports, and soccer in particular, can provide some very nice analogies to learn about strategic management. As it turns out, I still play a little soccer, and you can actually see some footage of me and my soccer teammates in this course. Now, in addition to these main resources, I have also recommended a free online textbook as supplemental reading. Some of you might find it useful. Also, your learning will be considerably enhanced by engaging with your peers who are taking this course with you. In particular, I strongly encourage you to use the discussion forums to discuss topics related to the cases with your peers. For example, our first case is on Uber. And you may be specifically interested in Uber strategies, say, in China. Create a thread on this topic or join one if it already exists. I'm certain they'll be others who want to discuss and debate it with you. Ultimately, strategic management is not a subject where there are clear right and wrong answers. Only better and worse ways of thinking about strategic issues. So the more you discuss and debate with others on the discussion forums, the better you will become at strategic management. I hope this video introduction has helped you understand what to expect from this course on strategic management. I look forward to seeing you in class.