Business Strategy Sequence
A hallmark of the Vanderbilt Executive MBA program is the year-long Business Strategy Sequence that takes place throughout the second year of study. The sequence is comprised of two in-class experiences—one in the fall, one in the spring—and a C-Team consulting project with a client company that runs throughout the year and is completed during the summer, just prior to graduation.
Like other Executive MBA courses, the classroom component of the Business Strategy Sequence emphasizes learning by instruction—lecture, reading, case analysis and facilitated discussion. In contrast, the Strategy Project is defined as learning by construction
—a total immersion experience in which students are challenged to call upon all of the tools and concepts learned to date and build an integrated strategic plan for a real client company.
C-Team group members have the opportunity to choose the client company that will benefit from this valuable service; teams begin exploring possible Strategy Project clients during the summer prior to the second year of the program and nominate final choices by the end of August. The size and nature of companies chosen for Strategy Projects vary widely, but each must meet the following three criteria:
- Access—Will the client make available to you the quality and type of information and support that the team needs?
- Strategic challenge—What is the nature of the issue(s) the client faces? Does the team have the collective expertise to succeed with this challenge?
- Personal fit—Is this company in an industry and/or market space that interests the team members?
Before graduation, each C-Team will deliver its final recommendations both in writing and in person to the executives of the client company. Topics covered by these reports include a corporate valuation analysis, an internal and external situation analysis, a critical issues assessment as well as recommendations and anticipated results. These projects—and the work done on behalf of client companies—are governed by a strict confidentiality agreement.
Client companies have told us that they truly value the services they receive from these projects, generally estimated upwards of $250,000 of consulting time. As a result, most C-Teams find their clients very accessible, highly transparent and forthcoming with confidential information. A majority of clients implement some, if not all, of the C-Team’s recommendations.