UCLA Strategic Management Research Program

Posted By SWatts on Dec 16, 2013 | 0 comments

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UCLA Strategic Management Research Program

As part of the Executive MBA program (EMBA) at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, the Strategic Management Research (SMR) capstone program brings teams of students and company leaders together to graft strategic direction. EMBA students, who are already working professionals, and Anderson MBA students with an average of fourteen years of work experience are required to complete this capstone to obtain their MBA degree and present their findings through a strategic presentation and written report.

In the final year of EMBA study, teams of five to six students are matched with a domestic or international corporation. Teams are diversified in terms of interests and experiences, bridging worlds of finance, marketing, technology, operations and more to collaborate and ultimately conduct an equivalent of 2,000 hours of SMR over the course of the year. In such a way, companies benefit from the cutting-edge thoughts of UCLA Anderson students while students equally have the opportunity to work firsthand with extremely successful and influential companies. Strategic data is based largely on primary and secondary research obtained by each team and presentations often include a run-through of the company’s competitive position against the backdrop of competing global corporations.

Strategic plans can include launching a new product into the market, creating a new product for a particular market, or launching an old product into a new geographical area or segment of the market. Companies that have taken part as partner companies in SMR include Fiji Water, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, St. Jude’s Medical, Guitar Center, and Countrywide Financial among many other well-known and successful companies.

SMR is led and managed by professionals who have extensive experience in strategy. Professor George Abe, Faculty Director of SMR, for instance, before joining Anderson was a successful venture capitalist partner for a Santa Monica firm named Palomar Ventures and before that was in the office of the chief technical officer at Cisco Systems. Professor Abe along with fellow SMR faculty established the successful and popular FEMBA Global Access Program (GAP) as well. In both SMR and GAP, the faculty is responsible for program composition, administration, governance, and recruiting activities for partner companies.

As a capstone project, SMR draws together the course knowledge gained from all Anderson classes leading up to SMR as a real-time, influential and hands-on student undertaking. All aspects of finance, marketing, strategy and operations are put into use throughout the approximately six to seven month term of the project.

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