After a brief break we are now back in the thick of it. Our final term is all about strategy: how to identify it, how to analyse and how to make it. This represents a culmination of all we have learned so far and, from initial impressions, looks to be the most challenging and fascinating section of our MBA.
Our first encounter is with strategy analysis and evaluation in which we learn about and apply a range of analytical tools to investigate the strategy of an organisation. Coming up for the mid point of the course, the pattern seems to be morning lectures followed by afternoons and evenings spent in action-based learning as we work on our case organisation.
My group’s decision on a case organisation has been guided by a straightforward idea: we wish to work with a company for whom our work could add genuine strategic, business value. Is this perhaps too lofty an ambition for MBA students? Our client will tell us in no uncertain terms.
As part of our course we have been fortunate to hear from Martin O’Grady, chief financial officer of Orient Express Hotels. Martin led us through his organisation’s recent strategic journey: from the challenges triggered by the global banking crisis through to the decisions and actions he has taken to successfully steer the luxury hotels and experiences group through the financial storm.
A core focus on deleveraging and disposal of non-core assets to strengthen the balance sheet has seen the company’s share price increase substantially.
A really fascinating insight into strategy in action. On a lighter note, I was struck by the paradox of being CFO of a company that owns some of the world best hotels – does he ever get a chance to take a break to enjoy his product?