Strategic Thinking and Action

  • Outdated business models, dysfunctional teams, units that act like separate entities—these issues can topple even the healthiest organizations, especially those who have enjoyed historic dominance or rapid growth and expansion. Smart leaders step back to assess their performance and proactively incorporate fresh ideas into their corporate strategy.

  • At a Glance

    Elevate your strategy to win against global competitors. In Strategic Thinking and Action, you'll discover how businesses actually succeed in today's crowded marketplace, identify specific opportunities for your organization, and design a strategy to harness these advantages while responding confidently to new threats.

    The Program

    Unlock the secrets of internationally competitive firms and deploy them across your departments. You'll begin with classroom case studies of global firms like Enron, working with faculty leaders in the fields of strategic planning and implementation, decision analysis, entrepreneurship and post-merger integration to pinpoint when, how and why certain strategies are most effective. You'll share expertise among small groups of peers from around the world and dedicate time to building a single, unified strategy for your firm that aligns business units in the name of sustainable growth and performance. You'll also have the chance to workshop your ideas and receive expert advice for turning thought into action.

    Where You'll Excel

    • Engage high-level thinking that out-maneuvers industry transformations, profit pressures, new competitors and evolving business models.
    • Evaluate your firm against new organizational models and online threats.
    • Prepare for the future by envisioning potential scenarios and the best and worst outcomes for your organization.
    • Capitalize on every advantage in your corporate value chain.
    • Spot gaps and fleeting opportunities in the shifting global marketplace and practice positioning your organization to take advantage of them.
    • Assess and communicate the value of advanced strategies to secure approval from management and buy-in across business units.    

    Schedule & Topics

    • What Is Strategy?
    • Strategy Within and Across Industries
    • Competing Globally
    • Competitive Advantage Workshop
    • Sustaining Competitive Advantage
    • Taking a Company Global
    • Strategy in the Digital Age
    • Building Corporate Advantage
    • Strategy for Turbulent Time
    • The Strategy of the Rise of Enron and Lessons to Be Learned in the Fall of Enron
    • Strategy and Multi-Business Firms
    • Putting It All Together


    After Strategic Thinking and Action, you'll walk away with:

    • A customized strategy to drive your business toward a more secure and profitable future
    • A personal action plan that translates your winning idea across individual roles, functions or companies
    • Ways to road test your strategy, incorporate stakeholder feedback and update or revise as needed
    • The ability to stay calm under pressure and maintain your focus on long-term goals
    • The flexibility to overhaul strategic plans in response to breaking news, and the ability to determine which market conditions and corporate changes actually necessitate those shifts


    This program is designed for managers and executives who want to secure their businesses against internal breakdowns and global threats. It will provide immediate answers and hands-on experience to those who must create winning strategies for their teams, business units or organizations.


    Samuel E. Bodily

    John Tyler Professor of Business Administration
    Samuel E. Bodily researches decision and risk analysis, strategy modeling and analysis, forecasting, and lifetime consumption and investment planning. He has written several books, a wide variety of journal articles in publications ranging from Operations Research to Harvard Business Review and more than 120 cases and technical notes on quantitative analytics. In addition to teaching strategy and decision analysis, he is a consultant to many corporations, utilities and government agencies. Previously, he taught at Boston University and the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, INSEAD Singapore and the University of Washington.

    L.J. Bourgeois III

    Professor of Business Administration; Senior Fellow, Darden Center for Global Initiatives
    L. J. Bourgeois III is an expert on strategy and post-merger integration. He has consulted for a variety of North and Latin American, European, Asian, Australian and African corporations on strategic planning, strategy implementation and post-merger integration, and has designed and conducted various seminars in strategic thinking. Prior to joining the Darden faculty in 1986, Bourgeois taught at Stanford Business School. He previously was employed as a financial analyst in the corporate planning department of Castle & Cooke Foods and held several assignments in the firm's Latin American operations.



    S. Venkataraman

    MasterCard Professor of Business Administration; Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research
    Sankaran Venkataraman ("Venkat") teaches MBA and executive level courses in strategy, entrepreneurship and ethics. He facilitates strategy discussion for firms and is an adviser to companies, universities and government organizations. He has been a speaker and adviser for the Entrepreneurial Forum, a program of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce aimed at promoting trade through entrepreneurship around the world. Venkat was the first holder of the Bruggeman Distinguished Chair at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and, from 1989 to 1995, he was Paul Yeakel Term Assistant Professor of Management at the Wharton School. The Academy of Management, the largest professional body of management educators in the world, has recognized his research by awarding him the inaugural IDEA award for Foundational Research in entrepreneurship.

    Location & Accommodations

    Darden School of Business
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    As a participant, you'll stay in a private room at the  Inn at Darden, our highly rated hotel adjacent to the classroom buildings and dining center. Accommodations are included in your tuition.

    Tuition & Certificates

    $8,500 covers materials, meals and accommodations at the  Inn at Darden.

    By taking this course, you will earn one week of credit toward a Certificate in General Management.