Course Syllabus

Welcome to BUS501: Strategic Management

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Student Handbook.


Course Description

Incorporate what you've learned from our core business courses in this capstone course, which covers strategic management, identifying goals, formulating winning strategies, and implementing successful business techniques.


Course Introduction

What is strategy? When your friend tells you that his "strategy" in basketball is to win, he is not telling you a strategy at all. A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a goal. A more appropriate strategy for a basketball game would be: "I will apply defensive pressure and force the opposing team to make mistakes with the end goal of winning the game". In this course, you will learn that you must first clearly define your goals before developing strategies to achieve them. Strategy in business is similar to sports, war, or politics; the parallels are so close that early business strategists studied military strategy in depth. The science of strategy development has developed beyond this by now, but similarities still exist.

Strategic management involves two processes: first, the process of identifying specific goals for a firm and designing strategies to achieve those goals, and second, the process of implementing those strategies. It is easy to say that your goal is to increase sales by 50% in three years, but how do you achieve that goal? Are you going to lower prices, acquire a competitor, move into other businesses, or something else? Assuming you are going to lower prices, how will you do so and keep profits up? These are the sorts of questions that strategists must answer.

This course begins with an introduction to the field and defines some important terms and concepts. You will then identify goals and formulate strategies before addressing implementation. This course concludes with strategies for the 21st century.

This course includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Strategy
  • Unit 2: Strategic Planning
  • Unit 3: Creating Competitive Advantage
  • Unit 4: Corporate Strategy
  • Unit 5: 21st-Century Strategy


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • define strategy;
  • discuss the participants in the strategic management process;
  • analyze various types of industry structures;
  • apply appropriate strategic management tools to diagnose internal and external factors facing organizations;
  • classify types of competitive advantage and explain associated best practices for creating and maintaining advantages;
  • explain the most commonly used corporate strategies and analyze alternatives for creating long-term value;
  • apply modern strategic management techniques and choose the best alternatives in the face of rapidly changing technology; and
  • synthesize strategic management theory and concepts to explain competitive advantage in the era of globalization.

Throughout this course, you will also see learning outcomes in each unit. You can use those learning outcomes to help organize your studies and gauge your progress.


Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are articles, lectures, and videos.

All course materials are free to access and can be found in each unit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will tell you what to focus on in each resource and help you understand how the learning materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also see a list of all the learning materials in this course by clicking on Resources in the navigation bar.


Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you may take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.

There are also end-of-unit assessments and writing exercises in this course. These are designed to help you study and do not factor into your final course grade. You can take these as many times as you want until you understand the concepts and material covered. You can see all of these assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course's navigation bar.

Tips for Success

BUS501: Strategic Management is a self-paced course, which means that you can decide when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or an assigned schedule to follow. We estimate that the "average" student will take 45 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular progress. It's a good idea to also schedule study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so we've compiled a few study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories that you come across. This can help you put each concept into context and will create a refresher that you can use as you study later on.
  • As you work through the materials, take some time to test yourself on what you remember and how well you understand the concepts. Reflecting on what you've learned is important for your long-term memory and will make you more likely to retain information over time.


Suggested Prerequisites

In order to take this course, you should have completed:


Technical Requirements

This course is delivered entirely online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course, including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one for free here. Although you can access some of the course without logging in to your account, you should log in to maximize your course experience. For example, you cannot take assessments or track your progress unless you are logged in.

For additional guidance, check out Saylor Academy's FAQ.



This course is entirely free to enroll in and to access. Everything linked in the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, and activities, is available for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

Last modified: Monday, September 25, 2023, 4:06 PM