This page focuses on the course ESD.S51 Systems Leadership and Management Praxis as it was taught by Michael Davies in Summer 2014.
SL&M (Systems Leadership and Management) Praxis is a course designed to introduce students to the dynamics of strategic decision making in corporate boardrooms through team exercises, simulations, and role playing. The case studies and team exercises introduce students to strategy choices in the high tech sector, but these learnings are just as valid in other industries. Invited guest speakers from the industry who have lived through difficult corporate situations provide insights into the cases discussed in class.
Course Goals for Students
- Learn how senior leadership teams in technology businesses make decisions
- Become highly effective at making decisions in teams under time pressure, with incomplete and ambiguous information, and in the context of significant uncertainty
In the following pages, Michael Davies describes various aspects of how he teaches ESD.S51 Systems Leadership and Management Praxis.
Permission of instructor
ESD.S51 is typically offered during the summer session.
Grading for this class is on a Pass/Fail basis. All individual and team assignments are graded on a Complete/Incomplete scale.
There are, however, also significant prizes for competitive performance in the online simulation exercises, based on objective performance criteria. The finale of the course is a scenario-based exercise, called “War Games.” In this exercise, students work together in small teams to take on real-world problems of today and the near future. Business leaders participate in this exercise and evaluate the performance of each team.
Breakdown by Year
Breakdown by Major
Mostly students in the System Design & Management master’s program
Typical Student Background
Students have typically had experience as executive directors or vice presidents. They’ve had some exposure to top-level management decision-making, and have had trouble making sense of it.
During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
- Met 1 time per week for 3 hours per session; 10 sessions total.
- Teamwork, role-play, simulation
- Debriefing, reflection
Out of Class
- Background research and preparation for role-play and simulation exercises
- Individual and team preparation for class