Do you ever wonder how companies determine what types of products to design or what services to deliver to customers? Strategic managers are professionals who advise and help organizations understand the benefits and disadvantages of making certain business decisions—for example, whether it makes sense to outsource jobs or to enter a new consumer market. Thus, strategic management serves an important role in helping entities to be competitive and cutting-edge in today’s fast-moving marketplace.
What is the Definition of Strategic Management?
Strategic management is the identification, assessment and implementation of business strategies that improve the performance and increase the profitability of organizations. In addition to developing strategies that enable organizations to carry out their mission and meet their business objectives, strategic managers create and execute action plans that eliminate inefficiencies and streamline internal processes.
As a strategic manager, your job title may vary depending on factors including work experience and industry. For instance, strategic management positions range from business analysts, to management consultants to directors of strategy and planning. Moreover, strategic management duties often touch various organizational functions and impact different business areas.
Some responsibilities that fall under strategic management include:
- Framing, analyzing and explaining complex business issues within a local, national and global context.
- Assessing and analyzing data, as well as developing and presenting fact-based recommendations clearly and logically.
- Conducting SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analyses to evaluate an organization’s overall health, take advantage of market opportunities and counter competitive threats.
- Interacting and collaborating with clients, senior executives and other roles across different levels of an organization.
How to Get a Strategic Management Degree
Due to the highly competitive job market for strategic management positions, most job candidates possess at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration, economics, finance, marketing or a similar field. However, employers typically prefer to hire professionals who also hold a master’s degree such as an MBA.
Many top MBA programs provide concentrations or certificates in strategic management, which include courses in competitive strategy, corporate responsibility and ethics, crisis management, marketing and human resource management. In tandem with classroom instruction, these postgraduate programs typically offer students the chance to gain practical work experience via internships at consulting firms and companies with jobs in strategic management. Some organizations also recruit recent graduates into management training programs that offer rotational assignments in different departments and help prepare employees for strategic management roles.
Career Prospects for Strategic Management
Entities of all sizes and in all sectors require managers who are able to pinpoint, manage and solve strategic business issues facing their organizations. As companies continue to grapple with the volatility of the marketplace—from globalization and fluctuations in the economy, to climate change and government regulations—employer demand for strategic management professionals remains high.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job prospects for management analysts and similar roles will increase by 14 percent through the year 2026. In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, obtaining professional certifications such as the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation can boost your earning potential for jobs in the strategic management field.