Chair of Strategic Management and Innovation
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Industry and Competitive Analysis

The Brown Bag Research Seminar on Innovation

The Chair of Strategic Management and Innovation invites to the "Brown Bag Research Seminar on Innovation". This series invites researchers from MTEC and other universities to present recent work or working papers. The intention behind the series is to accelerate exchange and learning.

The topics of the past brown bags

Schedule and Location

Brown Bag schedule for the autumn semester 2014 is in the planning process.

Our address:
Weinbergstrasse 56-58 / 8092 Zürich

Master Thesis at SMI

If you are interested in being tutored and writing your master thesis at SMI, please contact our Master Thesis coordinator.

Registration for Strategic Management in Spring Semester 2014:
Due to didactic reasons, the number of participants is limited to 30. Please register through myStudies to enroll for the course. Slots are assigned based on a first-come first-serve policy (in the order of the registration date on myStudies). We will confirm your registration by e-mail at the beginning of the semester. If you have any inquiries about the course or want to register as an exchange student, please contact Thomas Gersdorf, the course assistant: .



Industry and competitive analysis (ICA) is a part of any strategy development in firms and other organizations. It contains a very practical set of methods to quickly obtain a good grasp of an industry, be it pharmaceuticals, information and communication technology, aluminum, or even the beer industry. The purpose of ICA is to understand factors that impact on the performance of the industry, and as well the performance of firms within the industry. Firms in an industry can be categorized in so called “strategic groups” based on the strategies they are pursuing. Each strategic group is associated with a certain level of performance, and the firms' “membership” in such groups can be used to predict their moves within the industry. Moreover, managers use ICA to allocate resources, reach strategic goals such as market share or profitability, and help their firms improve their position within the industry.

Instructor: Dr. Vivianna Fang He
Assistant: Thomas Gersdorf

Goals of the course


The course is organized as a combination of lectures and tutored group work involving the selection and analysis of industries, analysis and development of strategies for selected competitors, and presentation of results.


Thursdays, 9:15 - 13:00 (9: 15 - 11:00 Lecture; 11:15 - 13:00 Tutoring)

Lecture room: LFW C1 (except for final session)

27.02.2014, Session 1: Introduction to competitive strategy
Division into industry analysis groups
Lecture Slides

06.03.2014, Session 2: Understanding industry analysis
Tutoring on background information of a particular industry

Lecture Slides (updated 2014-03-07)

13.03.2014, Session 3: Understanding strategic groups and firm membership
Tutoring on industry structure
Lecture Slides

20.03.2014, Session 4: Competitive intelligence
Guest lecture: Chris Pallaris, Director of i-intelligence
Tutoring on gathering and assessing industry information
Guest Lecture Slides

27.03.2014, Session 5: Cluster analysis
Lecture + Presentation Crash Course
Tutoring on competitive analysis
Lecture Slides

03.04.2014, Session 6: Strategic position of the firm
Guest Lecture: Julie Fitzgerald, Growth & Markets Leader at PWC
Tutoring on strategic groups
Lecture Slides

10.04.2014, Session 7: Student group work

17.04.2014, Session 8: Student group work

08.05.2014, Session 9: Final workshop (mandatory)
Presentation of ICA reports
Time: 09:00-13:00h
Special Room: WEV F109-111


2 SWS / 3 credits
50% paper/industry report (group)
30% final presentation (group)
20% class participation (individual)

A letter of confirmation indicates students' analysis of a particular industry and testifies to the completion of an industry report. The course on Industry and Competitive Analysis is an elective course within the MTEC Master program. Students from other ETH departments are welcome.


Due to intensity of the tutoring format, the number of students is limited to 30 participants (e.g., 6 students in 5 Industry Groups). Students will be accepted according to the order of enrollment in myStudies. Exchange students can register by sending e-mail to if facing problems with registration to myStudies. Registration will be handled individually, case by case. E-mails that are sent before the starting date of registration to myStudies will not be accepted.

An electronic confirmation of the registration will be sent out shortly before the start of the semester, which contains an access link to the Moodle-Website of the course (readings, resources for group works, group assignment)

Note that class participation constitutes 20% of the final grades. Students should judge if full commitment can be made to attending the lectures before registration.


It is recommended that students take Strategic Management before enrolling in this class. Some knowledge of statistical analysis is an advantage.


This course is built upon a management classic (Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors by Porter, 2004). More recent research findings and practitioner-oriented papers in the area of strategy are also included. Readings associated with each lecture should be done before the lecture day. 

To access the journal articles listed below, you have to be within the ETH domain (either directly connected to the ETH network within ETH or using VPN).

Session 1: Introduction to competitive strategy

Session 2: Understanding industry analysis

Session 3: Understanding strategic groups and firm membership

Session 4: Competitive intelligence

Session 5: Cluster analysis

Session 6: Strategic position of the firm


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