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Strategy Consulting Skills

Fall 2013 MBA Course

B8624-001: Strategy Consulting Skills

Strategy Consulting Skills - 9/20-9/21 - 09:00AM to 06:00PM
Location: URI 331

Instructor: Hitendra Wadhwa


This course exposes students to this suite of consulting skills.  The emphasis in the course is on developing structured problem-solving skills, with additional focus given to communication and influencing skills.  The learnings from the course are broadly applicable across business functions and across industries, and besides their relevance to consulting, will be valuable in corporate strategy assignments, business development and entrepreneurship. 

The course is organized around the phases of a typical strategy engagement:  problem definition, problem structuring, data gathering & analysis, recommendations development & presentation.  Students will get to learn and practice specific consulting tools and principles associated with each of these five phases, such as issue trees, hypothesis-driven problem-solving, interview guides and the pyramid principle.

The course emphasizes hands-on practice and real-time feedback.  Formal discussion of consulting tools and skills will be supplemented by mini-cases and strategy cases based on real-life engagements.  Students will get a number of opportunities to exercise and hone the skills they are introduced to during the course.

For this Fall (and beyond),  my section of Strategy Consulting Skills has moved from a 1.5 to a full 3.0 credit course.  It will be taught in a unique format, so please read on if you are interested in this course.


The class will meet physically for 2 full days, Sept 20-21.  This time will be reserved for hands-on work: team–exercises and presentations, live feedback, and role-plays.  Students will get to put their skills and tools into practice and get feedback from both peers and experts (myself and a team of trainers). 

The other half of the course journey (besides the 2 in-class days) will be accomplished by students on their own time, online.  I have developed an online classroom with videos, reflection and discussion.  You can learn more about it here — gsb.columbia.edu/execed/dsionline.   (This online program is being offered at a fee to Executives beyond Columbia; current MBA students enrolled in Strategy Consulting Skills will not be charged for it).  Most of the lecture-style content will be completed in this online classroom, through the videos linked with online discussions and exercises that create a strong interactive experience to the learning.  There will be around 9 hrs of online pre-work, and another 9 hours of online post-work, before and after the in-class dates of Sept 20-21. 


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