Moore School International MBA students learn strategic management through real-world exercises

Moore School management assistant professor Jeff Savage believes personal experiences and research are more than add-ons to the International MBA Global Strategic Management curriculum. They’re core coursework.

He works to make his class “Google-proof” by expecting more than recall of definitions and concepts. “Students review basic principles on their own so we can use class time to gain a ‘master’s-level’ understanding,” Jeff says. “They put in the work before class so we can apply tools and frameworks to real situations and engage in dialogue surrounding their use, their weaknesses and strengths, etcetera.”

Making the Business World Into Classrooms

Students also work on a project with a local startup, small firm or nonprofit addressing a key business opportunity or threat. The exercise solidifies academic concepts, and students see how strategy affects real employees, processes and tactics.

Class projects included analyzing global HVAC trends in sustainability with a multinational HVAC company; helping a sawmill startup prepare for a pending acquisition; devising key metrics for a stormwater management company’s chief operating officer; and, working with a local transit authority to develop a financing strategy that reduced reliance on government funding and improved user engagement.

One recent partner was GlassWRX, a ‘stealth-mode’ startup based in Greenville, South Carolina. “They are leveraging scientific breakthroughs to upcycle waste glass and other materials to create materials resulting in longer-lasting, more eco-friendly concretes, as well as materials that can better clean our air and water,” explains Jeff. “The students and I provided consulting on potential commercialization paths for the many applications of this technology — including market size, competition levels, potential partnerships, regulation pitfalls and optimal locations for building future plants.”

Exploring Issues that Impact the Marketplace

In group discussions, the class also games out how larger-scale strategic decisions could impact leading multinational organizations. “In 2020, the class spoke a lot about the launch of Disney+ and how Netflix should respond to that threat,” he says.

He also brings his research findings into the classroom. Centered on strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, much of his recent research has focused on novel outcomes or novel scientific research. Recent topics have addressed how top innovators in South Carolina are able to routinely produce new and interesting outcomes; patent strategies and enforcement; and local national laboratories’ attempts to improve the commercialization of research.

Real-world experience isn’t just an afterthought in the Moore School International MBA program. It’s a strategy.

To learn more about MBA options at UofSC, email Diondra Black, Assistant Director of Full-time MBA Programs, or call her at 1-803-777-3709.

Marjorie Riddle Duffie