Curriculum

The Insitute for Industrial Organization provides courses in the area of microeconomics, industrial organization, corporate strategy and competition policy.

Markets are a fundamental economic mechanism of allocating scarce resources in an economy. Competition is an important driving force for the efficient allocation of resources. In competitive markets the purchasing prices of goods are determined by the interaction of market supply and market demand. Market supply results from the independent decisions of firms whose managers aim to maximize economic profit by producing and selling the optimal amount of a good at the cost minimizing use of input factors (such as capital and labor). Market demand is the result of the independent decisions of individual consumers who maximize their net benefit from consuming the produced goods. Market power, externalities, informational deficiencies, and strategic behavior of market participants can impair the functioning of markets.

Economics of Markets focuses on the basics of markets in a market based economy. We will examine

  • how markets work,
  • how individual consumer choices add up to market demand,
  • how firms in their competitive concurrence create market supply,
  • how forces external to the firm influence firms’ price and quantity decisions, and
  • what may impede the functioning of markets.

The central integrating idea behind the course Economics of Strategy is strategic interaction, that is, the interdependence of individual choices and their outcomes in situations which involve only a small number of players who probably have conflicting interests. In the market context, a firm’s profits often depend on the actions of its competitors as well as on the behaviors of other market players, such as suppliers, buyers, or the government. In the presence of strategic interdependence, anticipating the responses of others in the market environment (e.g. competitors, suppliers, buyers, or government) will be of critical importance for the business strategist to support her organization in its endeavor to establish and maintain an advantage over competitors. We will draw on advanced microeconomics, game theory, and strategic management theory to distill concepts and tools which enable you to

  • conduct situational analysis industry and competitor analysis,
  • develop judgment on market dynamics (entry, expansion, exit),
  • identify and explore fundamental changes in the market environment (e.g. the emergence of new, disruptive technologies),
  • think more deeply about appropriate strategic and tactical moves, and
  • derive implications for strategic leadership.

The late Harvard business historian Alfred D. Chandler (1918‐2007) who is widely recognized for his path breaking research on strategy and management structures said that “the logic of managerial enterprise begins with economics” (cf. “The Enduring Logic of Industrial Success”, Harvard Business Review, March‐April 1990). It is the prime function of the General Manager to determine where, when and how to best utilize the business organization’s assets and resources. Therefore, the course Managerial Economics makes “use of economic modes of thought to analyse business situations” (M.P. McNair and R.S. Meriam, Problems in Business Economics, New York and London: Mc Graw‐Hill, 1941). It aims to improve the executive manager’s ability to make good and well‐timed decisions by applying concepts and tools of microeconomics, game theory, and strategic management theory.

It will help you

  • understand how firms can create value and position themselves within the arena of markets,
  • analyze where and when to compete, in particular how to distinguish attractive from unattractive markets,
  • examine how changes of economy or industry conditions affect business strategy and how to reduce uncertainty by anticipating the future evolution of the external environment,
  • decide how to compete strategically by making strategic commitments.

This course offers a vivid action‐based learning experience of strategy making and execution. In a multiple‐round business game simulation participants act as executive decision makers of firms operating in a world full of uncertainty and surprises. In an increasingly complex market setting of competitive strategic interaction, strategic and tactical decisions have to be taken with respect to typical business functions, such as purchasing, production, marketing & sales, finance, human resources, and R&D while stakeholder influences have to be anticipated and managed. In various assignments and subgames teams will have to formulate and present their competitive and corporate strategies and justify their decisions. Accompanying classroom sessions recap on relevant concepts and tools of strategic management as part of the (de)brief of the game.

India, Bangalore:  Doing Business in India 

Close to the end of the Full-time MBA and Part-time MBA program, a one week program in Bangalore (India) is scheduled. Bangalore is one of the biggest and fastest growing IT and manufacturing hubs in India. In collaboration with the partner university IIMB, the WHU students visited companies from different industries and investigated how those companies are doing business in India on an international and domestic small and large scale. In between IIMB provided them with insights into the latest market developments both from a practical and academic perspective. The program in India is led by Prof. Jürgen Weigand (WHU) and Prof. Rajeev Gowda (IIMB).The batch will be exposed to the cultural diversity in India such as its deep-rooted British military history or its religious diversity, which manifests in having a Hindu temple, a mosque and a church in the direct neighborhood. On the bus rides and later on in private evening excursions, the students got an impression about the Indian infrastructure, such as the chaotic traffic, the diversity of Kirana (mom and pop) stores and the gap between rural, ordinary urban and upper society life. The range of company visits covered international and domestic service, consulting and manufacturing companies alike with social projects and institutions. 

New York City, USA: MBA Leadership Program

During the curriculum, the Part-Time MBA students join the MBA Leadership Program at the Columbia Business School (NYC). Over a course of five days, they will identify several of the skill sets that great leaders possess. Through engaging lectures delivered by Columbia Business School faculty, dynamic discussions with colleagues and hands-on workshops, they will explore the most crucial areas of leadership, such as decision making, negotiating, and agents and organizational change. The program in India is led by Prof. Jürgen Weigand (WHU) and Prof. Paul Ingram (CBS).

Personal Growth and Leadership - what is it? Let us first clarify what we mean by leadership. Already a quick internet search shows thatthere is an overwhelming number of definitions and descriptions of leadership. This comes as nosurprise given the vast amount of books and articles on leadership, be it in the scholarly literature or in the popular press.

Usually, we understand leadership as meaning “leading others” but leadership has two more essential, often neglected dimensions: leading oneself and the willingness to be led by others. These two dimensions will be introduced in Personal Leadership.

In our globally intertwined economies and companies, division of labor and working in teams across geographical, cultural, and hierarchical boundaries have become a commonplace. Thus, you have to develop the technical and socio‐cultural skills to perform well in an increasingly international team-based environment. Your efficacy in a team crucially depends on your willingness to be led by others in the team. How effective you are as a team member is shaped by your willingness to integrate and cooperate with others. Even the Chief Executive Officer of a company needs the buy‐in and support of others. Therefore, he must be willing to accept to be led by them, at least in certain situations, be it by his peer board members, his direct reports, owners, other stakeholders, or his significant other. As history and research show, those leaders who fully exploit the opportunities to be led by othersstand to gain, those who don’t, fail – sooner than later, often miserably. Further, if you want to be an effective leader of others and be led by others in your own best interest, you must first be an effective leader of yourself. Personal leadership is about how we lead ourselves and how we connect with others. Leading yourself starts with asking yourself who you are, what you do, and how you do it. However, measuring up your own self is not a once‐and‐for‐all assessment. Nothing is static in this world. Rather it is a process of learning about yourself in the context of interacting with others and steering yourself to creating a strategy for your life and executing it successfully. Be aware: It may be a painfuland slow process because you first have to open up to others, to their feedback, to how they view you and your team and leadership contributions. Appreciate the opportunity to explore and release your potential with the help of others. They are the most valuable source for your self‐reflection on your leadership journey. Thus, connecting with others is the key to your personal growth and your development of leadership qualities.

At the end of the EMBA program this course offers a vivid action‐based learning experience of strategy making and execution. In a multiple‐round business game simulation participants act as executive decision makers of firms operating in a world full of uncertainty and surprises.

The simulation game combines theories from the whole Curriculum such as Strategic Management, Procurement, Supply Chain Management, Marketing, Organizational Behaviour, Economics and Financing in an interactive tool to teach and support the following learning objectives:

  • STRATEGY: Set up and execute a business strategy in a competitive environment
  • ECONOMICS and MARKETING: Use economic tools to deal with the complexity of the firm (interrelated business functions) and uncertainty of the environment (competitors' actions and environmental changes)
  • FINANCE: Use cost accounting to evaluate business performance. Use financial management tools to leverage the business
  • OPERATIONS: Use optimization under constraints and scenario analysis to utilize resources efficiently
  • ORGANIZATION: Team organization and team communication

Over the past two decades, market integration and deregulation of key industries as well as the competitive pressures of globalization have fundamentally changed the challenges and opportunities firms face in European markets. The objective of this course is to identify and understand the forces and trends on both the supply and demand side that affect competitive strategies of firms in European markets. In particular, it is important for the business strategists to understand the global outreach and authority of the European Commission in terms of the enforcement of EU competition policy rules and competition law.

In this course we develop tools to analyze the logic and consequences of strategic decisions. The primary focus is on decisions at the individual business level which aim at advancing a firm’s market position. We employ analytical methods of microeconomics and modern game theory to answer question such as: What competitive strategies may firms employ to compete?, How do these strategies affect market outcomes (prices, firm profits, innovation etc.)? More precisely, we learn how to do industry and competitor analysis. We examine whether and when market entry will be profitable by identifying the mechanisms of strategic competition to deter or accommodate market entry and expansion of newcomers. A central integrating idea is anticipating the response of other actors in the market environment and recognizing that often a firm’s profits depend on the actions of other firms. Class sessions are a mixture of applications (cases and newspaper articles) and lectures.

  • Advanced Spreadshet Applications
  • Business War Game Seminar
  • Industrial Organization
  • Microeconomics I
  • Mathematics I