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Building and Sustaining Competitive Advantage: How to Compete in Network Industries

Proseminar Strategy and Organization in Technology Markets

Dr. Horst Melcher

Course Overview

Network Industries are the most dynamic and turbulent industries in today's economy. Releasing a constant stream of innovative products, taking-up customers at unprecedented speeds, attracting providers of complementary goods to reach critical mass, and fighting standards battles are just some examples of the unique challenges for managers in these industries.

This course is based on the ‘case method’, developed by the Harvard Business School (HBS) using real-life case studies of individual companies. We will look at one of the principal players of the Information- and Communication Technology (ICT), e.g. Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook, in each session and discuss how they managed to get ahead of the competition, and the challenges of constantly improving their performance to maintain their competitive advantages.

You will apply the major concepts introduced in the lecture "Management and Economics of Network Industries" to the individual cases during this seminar, and thereby experience a range of strategic options on how to successfully compete in this industry. Your prior attendance of the course "Management and Ecnomics of Network Industries (MENI)" is recommended for this course, but not required. 

Course Structure

This course consists of weekly sessions where you will discuss recently published ‘case studies’, which you will have to read and prepare prior to each class. Cases are mostly written by Harvard Business School faculty, and provided by ISTO. The seminar offers you an interactive learning experience that is based on intensive class discussions. 

About the Lecturer

Dr. Horst Melcher is a 2015 Fellow of Harvard University’s ‘Advanced Leadership Initiative’. Prior to that, he has worked 25+ years in various management positions in German multinational firms, most recently as president of Deutsche Telekom in Japan.


To apply, please send your CV and transcript of records to Johanna Glauber ( by 01.10.2018. 


This seminar does not qualify for a Bachelor thesis at the ISTO according to the examination regulations (107 kB)

Dates Seminar on Tuesdays, 14:15-15:45h, classes starting October 16, 2017; Small Group presentation on Mondays, 16-17:30h or 17:30-19:00h. 
Location Mondays: Room 006, Kaulbachstrasse 45; Tuesdays: Leopoldstraße 13, H1, 1302
Deadlines Application until Oct 1st, 2018
Credits 6 ECTS in module MMI (PO 08)/ Vertiefung Kompetenzbereiche der Betriebswirtschaftslehre I - III (PO 15) 
Examination 28.01.2019, 16:00-18:00, GSP 1, 214 Musikw.

Further Information

Johanna Glauber, +49 (0)89 / 2180 - 6066,