Strategic Profitability Analysis

BUS401E Strategic Profitability Analysis

Spring 2024

Autumn 2024
  • Topics


    This course focuses on managerial decision-making, providing students with the skills needed to identify problems, gather and analyze relevant information, and critically assess the implications of decisions.

    In this course, we will discuss theories for measuring and evaluating firms' profitability in light of their strategic positioning and delve into methods for costing and pricing. Participants will learn to estimate relevant costs using activity-based costing (ABC) systems, handle capacity and capital costs, and apply different approaches to strategic pricing. The course incorporates insights from behavioral research and emphasizes the importance of addressing ethical and sustainability considerations in the decision-making process, with real-world business scenarios used to demonstrate its relevance.

    The overall goal of the course is to help students develop critical thinking to analyze and evaluate complex business scenarios.

    Target student

    This course is well-suited for individuals aspiring to careers in consulting, management, or financial control positions within a company. With an emphasis on building critical thinking skills, students will be expected to actively engage in class through lively case and ethical dilemma discussions, as well as presentations.

  • Learning outcome


    Upon completion of the course, the student will

    • Understand what frameworks and analyses are appropriate for different purposes and assess to what extent they give a correct picture of profitability
    • Know how different accounting analyses can be used in different managerial decision-making settings
    • Know the differences between market-based, cost-based, and customer-oriented approaches to strategic pricing
    • Know how to interpret and use pricing and costing information
    • Have insight into behavioral factors that influence firm profitability


    Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to

    • Apply theories for measuring and evaluating firms' profitability in light of their strategic positioning.
    • Identify and analyze relevant information to solve business problems
    • Integrate insights from behavioral research into the decision-making process in a business setting.
    • Assess the impact of ethical and sustainability considerations on managerial decision-making and profitability, and apply this understanding to real-world business scenarios.

    General competence 

    Upon completion of the course, the student will

    • Develop critical thinking skills to analyze and evaluate complex business scenarios. 
    • Apply an interdisciplinary approach to decision-making, incorporating knowledge from multiple fields such as accounting, economics, and psychology.
    • Assess and weigh multiple considerations in a decision-making situation, including financial, ethical, and sustainability factors

  • Teaching

    The course is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of managerial decision-making through a combination of lectures, case-based discussions, and practical skill-development sessions.

    To facilitate such a learning environment, the lectures will generally not be recorded. However, students will have access to pre-recorded videos covering the more technical material of the course to ensure that students can fully engage with the course content. 

  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    The course cannot be combined with the course BUS401N.

  • Compulsory Activity

    Two approved course assignments. 

    Compulsory activities (work requirements) in BUS401N are valid for BUS401E.

  • Assessment

    4-hour individual digital school exam.

  • Grading Scale


  • Computer tools

    Some use of standard computer tools (e.g., Excel and Stata/R).

  • Literature

    To be announced on Canvas

  • Permitted Support Material

    All written support material permitted (category III), including course curriculum, other books, notes etc.


    Access to R/Excel.




    All in accordance with Supplementary provisions to the Regulations for Full-time Study Programmes at the Norwegian School of Economics Ch.4 Permitted support material and


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered autumn 2023.

Course responsible

Joel W. Berge, Assistant Professor, Department of Accounting, Auditing, and Law, NHH