Day One, Four Years to Go

Diving into the first day of Managing in Complex Environments definitely exceeded my expectations for this program. Different from a class that only involves reading and lectures, this class provided me with real firm examples to analyze, developed business skills, helpful resources, and areas for personal growth. Far beyond anything I could have anticipated for my first day of class, which revalidates my assumption that my classes at Pitt in the future mean business (no pun intended). None the less, the information gained today was a helpful foundation for my business education, as well as a strong start toward becoming successful in a workplace environment.

Beginning with the business analysis, our class was tasked to evaluate the success of a household named company, Starbucks, during 2006. Although it may seem invaluable to review a company with such influence and success today, reviewing Starbucks at this stage provided an interesting view and interpretation. As one of the lessons discussed in our textbooks, firms have several different goals apart from “making money”. Viewing Starbucks, for example, there were several ways to evaluate their success solely through different aspects of their mission statement.

In addition to the Starbucks case, we learned several other business concepts that will be necessary and applicable to a future internship or career. When a company is interested in expansion, it is very important to consider the acronym PESTLE to understand the new environment they are moving into. Standing for Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technological, Technological, Legal, and Environmental, an assessment of each area in the new environment provides a general understanding for what threats or trends the firm may face.

One of the last topics we discussed was the Five Forces of Competition, developed by Michael Porter. Including Industry Competition, Threat of New Entrants, Bargaining Power of Suppliers, Bargaining Power of Buyers, and Threat of Substitute Products and Services, each force is viewed based on intensity to see how strongly it impacts a firm or industry. This was viewed within the casino industry and the threats to their profits.

Analyzing the companies and industries was a major part of what I took away from today’s lesson. The real-world examples really resonate well with me and help put things into perspective. From PESTLE, the Five Forces of Competition, to several other areas discussed today, I was able to develop a beginning understanding of how companies operate and how I can be useful and successful in the future. Incorporating these concepts to my work will be required for my career path, so making my first jump was incredibly exciting.