Companies need individuals who can help them reach their goals and enable them to maintain a competitive edge—someone who sees the big picture and can develop strategic plans to help them get there. A degree in strategic management prepares students to successfully step into this role.
What is Strategic Management?
According to Strategic Management Insight, an online source of information dedicated to the subject of strategic management, strategic management is defined as “the art and science of formulating, implementing and evaluating cross-functional decisions that enable an organization to achieve its objectives.” They go onto to say that it’s “a continuous process of strategic analysis, strategy creation, implementation and monitoring, used by organizations with the purpose to achieve and maintain a competitive edge.”
More simply put, a strategic manager helps a company meet its goals by determining the exact steps that need to be made to achieve success, thereby preparing the company to successfully develop and maintain a competitive advantage. This is accomplished by:
- Analyzing the company’s current situation, internal organization and competitive environment
- Creating a strategic management plan to successfully move the company forward
- Taking responsibility for the implementation and execution of a strategic management plan
- Monitoring progress to ensure that the company meets benchmark goals as defined in the strategic management plan
By continuously focusing on these actions, a strategic manager helps companies maintain a sustained competitive edge.
Rather than focusing on smaller aspects of the company, strategic managers look at the big picture. They develop methods to integrate various functional areas within the company (such as finance, accounting, marketing, operations, etc.), helping these internal organizations effectively communicate with each other and enabling them to work together to accomplish the company’s goals.
Strategic Management Career Paths
A degree in strategic management prepares you to become an essential part of a company’s success. Here are ten career path options available to someone who pursues a degree in strategic management.
- Financial Analyst - gathers and interprets data about corporate strategies, securities, economies, companies, or financial markets. A financial analyst is sometimes referred to as an Equity Analyst, Investment Analyst, or Securities Analyst.
- Project Management Coordinator - works to assist project managers with the coordination of resources, information, equipment, and meetings. Project management coordinators organize projects to expedite their timely completion and to ensure that the project remains within budget.
- Business Development Coordinator - is responsible for maintaining current client relations while also generating fresh sales and building new client relationships.
- Marketing Consultant - is an outside marketing advisor who works with companies to create and implement marketing strategies. A marketing consultant understands what motivates consumers. They create detailed marketing plans, determine appropriate marketing messages, and identify the correct marketing mix to reach the company’s target audience.
- Consumer Insights Analyst - sometimes referred to as a Marketing Research Analyst, is a marketing professional who gathers and analyzes consumer marketing data, creating reports that offer practical recommendations. This position typically includes several functions centered around a better understanding of consumers, blending elements of marketing, psychology, and database administration.
- Business Analyst - helps companies improve their services, products, processes and software using data analysis. Business analysts bridge the gap between IT and the company, assessing processes, determining requirements, and delivering data-driven recommendations and reports to stakeholders and executives.
- Project Analyst - delivers essential data support to a company’s technical team—maintaining compliance to public and corporate regulations, financial forecasts and budget tracking, and project evaluation and monitoring, while also performing any other necessary data analysis.
- Product Strategist - also referred to as a Product Manager, Experience Lead or an Engagement Lead, measures which products are in demand and worth marketing, determines each product’s target audience, and establishes the best price at which to market the company’s products.
- Director of Strategic Initiatives - develops, administers and helps implement programs and projects that promote a company’s vision, as well as its short- and long-term goals. The director of strategic initiatives often works closely with company managers to monitor progress and make course corrections or adjustments when necessary.
- Compliance Officer - works with company management and staff to identify and manage regulatory risk, making sure that the company complies with internal policies and bylaws, as well as outside regulatory and legal requirements. A compliance officer has an active role in managing a company’s risk and in the reduction of financial crime.
Fields that generally “fit” the skill set of someone with a degree in strategic management include:
- Management of Companies and Enterprises
- Finance and Insurance
- Public Administration of Mining, Oil and Gas Extraction
- Health Care and Social Assistance
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
- Accommodation and Food Services
Enabling companies to successfully compete is the ultimate purpose of a strategic manager. Universities, companies, nonprofits, and other organizations can utilize strategic management plans to define goals and meet objectives. A strategic manager oversees these plans and devises ways for companies and organizations to meet their goals.
A person with a degree in Strategic Management can choose to use their skills to help a company remain competitive and successful. However, someone with an entrepreneurial spirit could use their knowledge and skills to successfully create and run their own company.
Strategic Management Career Paths
Although a Strategy Manager must be a jack-of-all-trades, someone who chooses a career in Strategy Management will need certain skills to be successful. They must:
- Be able to multitask
- Have excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- Be able to quickly make innovative decisions
- Have exceptional analytical and organizational skills
- Have project management skills
- Be able to perform detailed research
- Have the capacity to sum up their research into reports that a layperson can comprehend
- Have mathematical and statistical knowledge
- Have knowledge of various financial structures
If you want to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree in strategic management or any of our other degree options, look no further than University of the Cumberlands. With professors who have years of real-world experience in the same field they are teaching, very competitive tuition rates, and a sense of honor in everything we do, why look any further? See what UC can do for you by contacting an admissions counselor for more information.