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Teaching Note

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This module reviews a wide variety of companies and markets and presents an analytical tool kit for evaluating them. It takes a step back from standard business education, allowing students to ask questions they typically do not have time in the curriculum for, such as:

  • Why do companies even exist? What does a firm do for a consumer?
  • Why do markets exist? What do markets do for participants?
  • What is the contribution of businesses and markets to society?
  • What are the different ways firms can deliver value and in return get profits?

Exploring the answers to these questions enables a more enriching and career-focused business education experience.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Explain why different companies and markets exist.
  • Describe different kinds of companies and markets.
  • Use the customer value proposition (CVP) framework to describe a business.
  • Describe the vertical, horizontal, and geographic scope for a given business.
  • Use the value chain to describe how firms deliver value to consumers.This module is one of six total modules included in the case-based, introductory business course entitled “Business Thought & Action™”, created by former Dean Robert Dolan and Professors Robert Kennedy and Scott Moore of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. While modules can be adopted individually or in groups, it should be noted they were originally designed to be taught sequentially and as part of the entire course.