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Admission requirements



This course focuses on a critical managerial challenge; how to deal with competition and cultivate a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. Through lectures, case study seminars, readings, and group assignments, students learn about foundational theories and frameworks from the strategic management literature. Students learn to use these theories and frameworks to answer questions such as: why are some firms more successful than other firms in a specific industry? How do I assess the competitive advantage a firm has over other firms in a market? How can managers harness industry dynamics to strengthen a firm’s competitive advantage? What is the role of organisational design in a firm’s competitive advantage? And what are the challenges associated with capitalising on intellectual assets (as opposed to physical assets)? The emphasis of the course is on industrial sectors that intersect with research agendas of Leiden’s Faculty of Science and LUMC, such as the life sciences, ICT, high-tech electronics, and instrumentation sectors.

This course is intended for anyone interested in working in industry as an entrepreneur, manager, consultant, analyst, or investor. Moreover, the course will provide an analytical background for scientists, engineers and medical doctors with an interest in understanding industrial aspects of of their academic work. The course emphasises small-scale, interactive teaching that focuses on real-life case studies.

Topics covered:

  • Students will learn about frameworks and concepts that are useful for conducting market and industry analyses. These include the concepts of competitive advantage, economies of scale/scope, network economies, complementary assets, Porter’s Five Forces Framework, Value Chain/System analyses, and SWOT analysis.

  • To conduct organisational design analyses, students will learn about competing demands of organisational exploration and exploitation, dynamics capabilities, and the ARC framework.

  • To assess strategies for securing and exploiting a firm’s intellectual capital students will learn about intellectual property protection, the dynamics of markets for knowhow, and platform versus product strategies for commercialising R&D.

Course objectives

This course provides students training in the use of key concepts and frameworks for formulating and implementing corporate strategies with an emphasis on firms in technology-intensive industries. At the end of the course students will be able to:

  • conduct analyses of industry structure and competitive dynamics;

  • assess a firm’s competitive (dis)advantage in an industry vis-à-vis other firms;

  • design business models around the commercial exploitation of a a firm’s intellectual capital (e.g. patents, trade secrets, copyright, tacitly held knowhow);

  • formulate recommendations about optimising a firm’s organisational design for its position in the marketplace.


Semester 1:

  • Course: Monday to Friday 14:00 – 17:00 hrs, September 4th – September 20th 2017

  • Exam: 14:00 – 17:00 hrs, September 22nd 2017

Semester 2: click here for the schedule

Mode of instruction

The course emphasises small-scale, interactive teaching that focuses on real-life case studies. Students will be debriefed, in hindsight, on what really happened.

Course Load

10 3 hour seminars
Case preparation before each seminar
Final exam

Assessment method

Final exam (50%); Group assignments (30%); Class participation (20%)



Reading list

A study pack with course readings and case studies will be provided at the start of the course.

  • User fee: €42,-

  • Full price: €60,47


Students can register for the course in uSis. Click here for instructions.

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