• Strategy Field Study: Companies

    Benefits of Participating in the Strategy Field Study

    An Independent, Highly Detailed Analysis of Your Organization and its Environment at No Cost.

    Feedback from past client sites indicates that they most appreciate the in-depth analysis and objective assessment of their business. Market and customer research, financial and profitability analysis, social marketing suggestions and management organizational recommendations are also frequently noted as valued parts of the studies.

    Practical Recommendations

    The final deliverable is a 40-page report with specific recommendations that translate the strategic directions along with a practical implementation plan to execute the recommendations.

    Creative Exchange

    CEOs often find that insights and perspectives from the MBA students stimulate healthy internal debate on strategy. Many tell us they simply enjoyed the experience of working with the students and wish they had spent more time with them.

    Meaningful Partnership in Business Education

    Many participate because of their commitment to supporting business educational.

  • Director, Strategy Field Study Program James Mackay
    Director, Strategy Field Study Program James Mackay

Who is Involved

The three stakeholders in the Strategy Field Study are the student teams, the faculty advisory panel, and participating client sites. Each has a unique involvement in the process.

  1. Our Students Enthusiasm, intelligence and maturity. These are the qualities our students bring to each study. The median age of our students in this project is 29 for full-times and 32 for part-times. Most of the students have several years of full-time work experience. With this maturity and background, they bring their own managerial and professional experience to the task. Students form themselves into teams of six to seven. Diversity of skills and academic background is considered, to ensure that each team offers a broad range of expertise.
  2. Faculty Involvement Each student group works under the guidance of a team of three faculty members who meet with them regularly, give feedback and evaluate the final report. One faculty member, the faculty chair, is an instructor in strategic management; the other advisors bring expertise from other disciplines within the Faculty.
  3. Participating Companies and Organizations Participating organizations can be for private and public companies, not-for-profit organizations, or public sector organizations.

Who is Eligibledevden080

Business that fit into the Strategy Field Study program well include:

  • independent companies with one or several businesses;
  • a subsidiary or division of a larger organization, provided that sufficient strategic and investment decisions are made locally and students can study the relationships and interdependencies with the parent corporation;
  • public and private companies.

Company sites need to be of sufficient revenues to warrant such a comprehensive study – normally from $10 million to $500 million in revenue.

Entrepreneurial firms are suitable sites for our students specializing in that field. Even small companies with fewer than 50 employees work well if there is strategic complexity resulting from rapid changes of growth, and if there is adequate company history and industry information.

Not-for-profit organizations in the arts, health and social services and public sector organizations suit our students focusing on these areas.

Time Commitment

The CEO can expect to spend ten to fifteen hours in total, spread over the eight months of the assignment. We suggest students keep you up to date on their progress every few weeks. Your own level of interest in the project may lead you to spend more time. All meetings will be arranged at a time and location suitable to you.

The student group meets with other senior executives and managers as needed. Many larger companies designate a liaison manager who may spend a little more time with the students than would other executives.

Confidentiality and Access to Information

For the study to have value, it must be based on full information. This necessitates, to some extent, “opening the books” to our students as confidential consultants to the CEO. To reinforce that, companies can sign a legal agreement with the school that includes non-disclosure and confidentiality requirements of the school and each student. All members of the Strategy Study, including students and faculty, are bound by confidentiality agreements with the school as well.

We realize some information must be withheld, for example, sensitive research documents or new product plans, or the details of ongoing negotiations. Otherwise, we expect that the students will have access to data on costs, profitability, important contracts, and other confidential information.

All information provided to the group is kept in the strictest confidence. Reports are seen only by the faculty advisory team. Completed reports are used only for grading purposes, with one copy retained under tight control; all other copies submitted to the faculty are destroyed.

The Cost

There is no fee to you, since the Strategy Field Study is an academic requirement of the MBA and MPA programs. However, many organizations pay the students’ out-of-pocket expenses for such items as copying and binding reports, long distance phone calls, travel (if necessary), and electronic database searches. Students are encouraged to review the question of expenses with you early in the project.
Some firms have been so pleased with the study that they have made voluntary donations to support the Faculty’s strategy study program.

Consulting Methodology



Faculty Chairs

James Mackay
Alan Middleton
Kelly Lecouvie
Jane-Michele Clark
Barbara Henders
John Milne
Larry Ginsberg
Steve Pulver
Kostas Tsambourlianos

How Do You Get Involved?

Interested companies should contact the Professor of Strategic Management/Policy and James Mackay at 416 736-5082, or at mgmt6100@schulich.yorku.ca.