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Competitive Strategy

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München via Coursera


In this six-module course, you will learn how businesses and organizations behave in situations in which strategic decisions are interdependent, i.e. where my actions affect my competitors' profits and vice versa. Using the basic tools of game theory, we will analyse how businesses choose strategies to attain competitive advantage. This course is also available in Chinese. Please go to our course catalog to access the Chinese version of Competitive Strategy.


  • Take Care of Your Competitors
    • In this module, we introduce the basic concepts of game theory and use strategic games to learn competitor analysis. We answer “what is a strategy?” and look at the different ways to determine a best or dominant strategy. We also discuss the concepts of Nash Equilibrium and Prisoners’ Dilemma - and learn that it is important to anticipate and take into consideration the actions of the other players. Lastly, we analyse what happens when we change the game from simultaneous (where everybody acts at the same time) to sequential (where players move after each other).
  • Why Firms Work Together
    • According to economic theory, companies compete with each other in the marketplace. In reality, they are often friendly and cooperate with each other. In this module, we attempt to understand this strategy, and why it is good for the organizations involved. With this, we evaluate the factors that encourage or hinder cooperation and apply them in different examples.
  • Complementary Products and Strategic Partnerships
    • In this module, we introduce complements and discuss what they mean to us in economic terms. We study why companies like to sell their products in a bundle - and how complementarity creates switching costs. We also discuss the importance of that coordination among companies with complementary products. Finally, we look at strategic partnerships as a powerful tool to align companies’ interests in this specific setting.
  • Entering a New Market
    • This module is about market entry. We first look at different tools to assess the attractiveness of a market – and then discuss strategies that have proven to be helpful for entering a new market, such as positioning and marketing strategies. We also look from the other perspective, and analyse what established businesses can do to keep new competitors out of the market.
  • Why Worry About Research and Development
    • In the context of R&D, a number of important strategic questions arise consistently; in this module, we take a closer look at these questions. Though many innovations are created by a stroke of luck, it seems that the majority of innovations are created because their inventors actively strive towards this specific innovation and differentiation strategy.
  • Designing Products Wisely
    • In this module, we focus on strategic aspects of product design and pricing strategy. We analyse how companies can adjust their products in a way that lowers the competitive pressure in the market. Later on, we look at some generic strategies for product design and pricing – and discuss the problems related to being stuck between these strategies.

Taught by

Tobias Kretschmer


4.7 rating, based on 22 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 3067 ratings

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  • A nice, simple yet well-thought out introduction to competitive strategy provided by Prof Kretschmer, and I am now mid-way through his second course Advanced Competitive Strategy. This course is easy to follow even for a non-specialist, but introduces the concepts in a very broad manner allowing the knowledge to be applied across a wide range of situations.
  • Daniel O
    Feedback from last year's participants: Bram, United Kingdom: I am head of strategy for a FTSE 10 company and find I do much of this work daily (pricing , market entry, resource allocation, etc.). This course is very interesting to me as it gives m…
  • Daniel Oehling
    Feedback from last year's participants: Bram, United Kingdom: I am head of strategy for a FTSE 10 company and find I do much of this work daily (pricing , market entry, resource allocation, etc.). This course is very interesting to me as it gives m…
  • Thank you for this great course. I especially liked the approach of the course. The interesting course material was condensed with lots of examples and embedded tests in videos with perfect lengths. The instructor explained the topic by using many instructive examples which made studying and memorising theories easy. The tests - especially the ones embedded in the lectures - were well designed and helped me to stay focused.
  • Anonymous
    This course touched on several important areas of competition. We started with game theory discussing simultaneous and sequential games. We went on to topics such as cooperation among competitors, ways to enter a market, and how to deter entry. We then developed different differentiation strategies for new and existing products.

    I enjoyed everything about this class. The professor made the subject fun to learn with wit and humor and always brought up interesting case studies. I also had some lengthy discussions with other students in the forum.

    This is an introductory class without too much math or heavy theory. I spent about 2-3 hours a week on it. If you want a nice overview of strategy this is just the thing.
  • Sagar Ladhwani
    Probably the best course on Competitive strategy out there. The course is very well structured and the instructor is really engaging. The best part is the course material - It is to the point, well-crafted and has ample amount of real-life examples that makes learning easier and very relevant. I'd like to recommend this to everyone! For details, check this out:
  • Absolutely phenomenal course, the instructor goes through the material in a very easy to understand way, is engaging, and the subject matter is presented with practical and real-world examples to support the theory!
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