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Why should you consider studying strategic management? More specifically, why should you consider studying for an MBA in strategic management?

There are many reasons for studying strategic management, not least of which is that it will equip you with valuable skills to help you climb the corporate ladder in a business or other organisation.

In this article, we’ll detail just why strategic management is so important and the crucial role strategic management plays. We’ll also cover several reasons to study strategic management as well as explore some of the more important theories in strategic management.

Should you be interested in studying a master’s in strategic management, please have a look at Kenyatta University’s online MBA Specialising in Strategic Management course. It is a two-year programme with multiple starting dates each year and it can be completed online from the comfort of your home and in your own free time, like the many other online programmes offered by the university.

Let’s dive in and see just why strategic management is such a desired skill for ensuring the success of organisations.

Importance of strategic management

Learning strategic management can be thought of as learning to be the navigator or even captain of a ship. You are responsible for setting the course of the organisation, and ensuring that objectives are achieved. It’s also your job to get there as quickly and efficiently as possible, much like a ship captain who must use crew and ship to their maximum potential to race to a destination ahead of the other ships in the race.

Using the ship analogy, strategic management also involves charting through hostile waters and dangerous weather. In the real world, this would involve anticipating threats, avoiding them where possible and preparing for them when they are unavoidable.

There have been huge changes to the way businesses and other organisations operate since the outbreak of Covid-19. This “new normal” requires massive adjustments to organisational structures and the way that organisations operate. These changes have been both internal, in terms of adjusting to work from home environments for those employees who are able, and external in terms of adjusting how businesses provide their products and services to their customers.

One obvious example that you are experiencing a part of is how Kenyatta University has ramped up the number of online programmes that it has on offer. Within the traditional contact classes, there have been big changes too, with the adjustment to blended learning and an increase in online learning.

With the nature of business and customer engagement changing so rapidly, strategic management is more important than ever.

Why study for a masters in strategic management

So why should you consider studying for a masters in strategic management? If you aspire to one day take charge of a business, then strategic management will form a large part of your job. Regardless of whether you are a business-founding entrepreneur or you climbed the executive ladder to the top chief executive position, strategic management will come into play.

A good masters level degree in strategic management, such as Kenyatta University’s online MBA Specialising in Strategic Management, will teach you the skills you’ll need to plan, analyse and monitor a business in its mission to achieve its goals. It will also give you other important tools for leading an organisation, such as financial planning and managerial economics.

To give an idea of what is covered in strategic management at the masters level, these are the modules covered in Kenyatta University’s strategic management MBA curriculum, excluding the practical project that is also done:

  • Managerial Functions
  • Human Resource Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
  • Financial Accounting
  • Quantitative Techniques
  • Strategic Management
  • Managerial Economics
  • Management Information Systems
  • Management accounting
  • Financial Management
  • Research Methods
  • Business Strategic Behaviour and Leadership
  • Global Strategic Management
  • Management of Strategic Change
  • Strategic Management Seminar
  • Total Quality Management

As you can see, an MBA in strategic management will equip you with a wide range of skills to successfully lead a business or other organisation. As a leader, you must be able to think strategically and successfully manage change in the ever-evolving work environment.

What is strategic management’s role?

We’ve already covered the importance of strategic management, but what is its actual role? Strategic management gives a business its direction. It entails developing plans and policies to achieve an objective. It then involves carrying out those plans with as efficient a use of staff and resources as possible and monitoring the progress to see where things can be further improved. Good strategic management will put a company ahead of its competitors.

While strategic management was still in its infancy in the mid 20th century, much of the focus was on production. Through good strategic management, the company would be able to produce a product of optimal quality as efficiently as possible. In those earlier years, the belief was that if the product was good, then consumers would naturally pick it ahead of competing products and sales would improve.

More recently, there is far more of a marketing focus within strategic management. The sad truth is while a product may be the best of its kind, if nobody has seen or heard about it, then it will be outsold by inferior products with better marketing. This shift can also be thought of as the move towards becoming customer-focused.

As an example, Jeff Bezos has often called himself customer-obsessed in his strategic management of Amazon, which is a definite contender for the world’s most successful business of the last decade. Apple is another global giant that has put a big focus on marketing to become the world’s largest company. Through clever marketing, it has been able to consistently charge a large premium on its products because they are seen to be of better quality than those of its competitors. It has managed to do this despite many hardware components actually being manufactured by those same competitors.

Strategic management theories you need to know

As far as academic disciplines go, the field of strategic management is relatively new. Peter Drucker is considered the father of modern strategic management and thinking. He published “The Practice of Management” back in 1954, which set the foundation. He also wrote 38 other books in which he invented several terms that we still use today, such as “knowledge worker”.

In “The Practice of Management”, Drucker introduced the concept of “management by objectives” or MBO.

In another influential book of his that was written far more recently, Drucker set up a basic framework that has been adapted and built upon, but the basics of which are still in use today. In “The 5 Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization”, Druker outlined five questions:

  • What is your mission?
  • Who is your customer?
  • What does your customer value?
  • What are your results?
  • What is your plan?

Although things have moved on and evolved, much of what we do now in strategic management still has its roots in what he developed. More recent academics and experts in the field have all added their own personal touches and elaborated in different ways, but there is at least some consensus on what are called the five stages of strategic management. Broadly speaking the five stages or phases are:

  1. Goal-setting or identification
  2. Analysis
  3. Strategy formation
  4. Strategy implementation or execution
  5. Strategy monitoring or evaluation

Should you find this interesting and something you would like to learn more about, you will learn all of strategic management’s latest trends and theories by doing Kenyatta University’s online MBA Specialising in Strategic Management.

Please take a look at the detailed course description, the programme overview and request more information. You can also view the fees and other online programmes on offer, including several other MBA specialisations that may be of interest to you.

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