UC Davis Working Professional (Bay Area) MBA course review
MGB 296: Technology Competition and Strategy with Hemant Bhargava
Date evaluated: Winter 2010 at the Bay Area Working Professional San Ramon campus.
Official course description: Why is software typically so defective? What justifies “ladies nights” at nightclubs? Why do so many firms in the IT industry give away their best products free? This course helps you analyze questions such as these by modeling competition and strategy in the network, technology, and information industries, including the Internet, telecommunications, computing, consumer electronics, entertainment and media, online information goods, services, biotechnology, and transportation. We discuss factors distinctive to these industries, and how they affect strategic interactions among firms as well as consumers’ choices of products and services. You will learn to analyze pricing strategies including versioning and bundling; product standardization decisions; managing product complements; exploiting network effects; managing systems competition; and business (revenue) models for information and network goods. Students should be comfortable with economics, data analysis and mathematical notation.
The real course description: Price discrimination through versioning and bundling. Network effects on products and pricing. Two-sided market strategy. Internet, telecom, software, and network product pricing strategies.
The professor: Hemant is intimately familiar with the subject material. He presents the material well, but his research interests are obviously more advanced than the material the course covers. I occasionally struggled with my classroom focus, probably based on his presentation style.
The course: The lectures were occasionally dry. I liked the assignments, they made me think outside the box. The take-home 72hr exam was challenging and fun, I spent four or five hours on it over the three days and still wasn’t sure about one answer when I finished. That was interesting, but unfortunately we didn’t do any post-test analysis. The group project was good, I worked with Jose, Christian, and Brad, better teammates are hard to find.
The grade: I got an A. I give the instructor and the class an A-.