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University of Virginia

Foundations of Business Strategy

University of Virginia via Coursera


Develop your ability to think strategically, analyze the competitive environment, and recommend firm positioning and value creation. In this course, developed at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, top-ranked faculty will help you explore the underlying theory and frameworks that provide the foundations of a successful business strategy and provide the tools you need to understand that strategy: SWOT, Competitor, Environmental, Five Forces, and Capabilities Analyses, as well as Strategy Maps.


  • Introduction to Strategic Analysis
    • Welcome to the first module in the Foundations course. In this module, we'll discuss the meaning and importance of business strategy to an organization's competitive positioning. You'll learn about strategic analysis and the SWOT, competitor, and environmental analysis tools. Have fun building your strategy skillset!
  • Analyzing Industry Structure
    • Hello and welcome back. In this module, we'll explore how to assess an industry's structure and how the competitive dynamics in an industry affect profitability. We'll go into depth with the five forces tool, a common and highly influential analytical framework. Happy analyzing!
  • Analyzing Firm Capabilities
    • Welcome! In this module, we'll examine the tangible and intangible assets that form an organization's strength. We'll show you in depth how to complete a capabilities analysis and how to use this analysis to guide decision making. Happy analyzing!
  • Determining Competitive Position
    • Welcome to the final module. In these lessons, we'll explore firms' competitive positioning relative to rivals and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of four generic competitive positions firms occupy. We'll use an easy and intuitive tool--strategy maps--to visually communicate information about firm positioning, and discuss which position is best for a particular firm to see maximum value. Happy analyzing!

Taught by

Michael J. Lenox


4.0 rating, based on 20 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 2875 ratings

Start your review of Foundations of Business Strategy

  • Hi. FOBS is one of the courses I have enjoyed learning most. Globalization and liberalization has increased the uncertainty in the business environment. Any organization that wants to survive and grow on a continuous basis needs strategic managemen…
  • Scott Orr
    Compared to the other courses I've taken, Foundations of Business Strategy proved much less time-consuming, with required readings limited to very short chapters from a forthcoming book by Lenox (and when I say "short", I mean it's more a pamphlet t…
  • Krassimir Kostadinov
    The course gives a basic tool-set for analysis of competitive positioning of a firm. It introduces a nice set of fairly visual tools which might be helpful for a presentation at management level. Experienced lecturer! It touches very briefly upon in…
  • School is Broken
    Michael Lenox of UVA’s Darden School of Business puts together a very basic business strategy course for students who have no experience in the field at all. The lectures are clear, succinct, short, but lack depth. But I believe that was Lenox’s intention, as the course was designed for people with no background, and it is perfect for them.

    The final assignment was probably the only worthwhile exercise. It could have been more beneficial if there was more detailed feedback on the assignment, but regardless it was good practice using the toolkit.
  • Anonymous
    Great class especially in that it includes actual consulting work being done - you apply directly what you learned in the course to a real-world problem situation of a company partnering with the course.
  • Anonymous
    It's a very nice course to start with, It might seem too easy for those with more knowledge in the subject, but I think that it's a very good start for those of us that just started exploring the Business subject.
  • It's hard to find good intro courses on business strategy...but this was typical high University of Virginia / Coursera standard
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