USJ – Muhanna Course

Critical Thinking & Designing Business Solutions


Class Sign Up:

Course Description

Many students enter the professional world without a clear understanding of how business works and, most crucially, how to be useful when thinking about business problems, big and small. This course is designed around business case studies that will give opportunities to try to understand how and why different busineses operate in various sectors. The course will be highly interactive and will require that students complete readings before the discussions. This course serves two fundamental purposes: (1) to explore how businesses make money and how shifts in the environment change opportunities to do so and (2) to connect effective responses to those changes with fundamental principles in social psychology and business.   To accomplish these objectives, students will be asked to consider the present day challenges confronting a selection of firms spanning a range of industries.  Firms will be drawn from around the world to highlight critical issues in global management.

Throughout the course, each student will complete four written papers each on a different business case-study and one final group presentation on a business case-study. The course will introduce business concepts such as SWOT analyses, Design Thinking, the Business Model Canvas and others. This course does not require a business background, however it is intended for students interested in working in consulting, business, and early-stage start-ups.

Please note that if students are unprepared for class discussion and do not complete all the readings before hand, they will have a hard time receiving a good score and/or passing the class.

Grade Composition:

  • 30%: Productive Participation in Class (dependent on completion of reading + HW)
  • 40%: Four Written Company Profiles
  • 30%: Final Presentation

Class Schedule:

The course will be taught over six 2-hour sessions. Each class will focus on one or two business concepts and will use one or two companies case studies to highlight those topics.

Each week, students will be asked to submit a 750-1000-word paper analyzing one of the weekly companies.

In the final week, students will deliver an in-class presentation (in groups of 4-5 students) on a different company. Each team will be responsible for developing a presentation on their findings and then managing class-wide discussion on the issues involved.

  1. Class 1 – Jan 20th – Introduction to Syllabus / Ford, Toyota, Tesla
  1. Class 2 – Feb 4th – IKEA, H&M, Prada
  1. Class 3 – Netflix, Disney, Google, Facebook
  • HW to be completed before noon on the day of the class
    • Read:
    • Watch: &
    • Write your Paper on one of these firms: Netflix, Disney, Google, Facebook (use this template)
    • Review the slides from last class
  1. Class 4 – Third Paper due before class
  • Firms: Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, HSBC
  1. Class 5 – Fourth Paper due before class
  • Firms: Marriot, AirBNB
  1. Class 6 – Final Group Presentations during class.