Course Detail

Storytelling (42813, 50 Unit Course)

Course Description by Faculty

  • Rolnik, Guy
  • Content
    Taking its cue from writers, social scientists, politicians, innovators and powerful business people, "Storytelling and Narratives in Business" argues that whether leading an organization, working with politicians and the media, or interviewing for a job, all successful managers, entrepreneurs, and companies share a few potent skills: they appreciate the importance of stories, they develop and maintain strategic narratives, and they know how to tell stories that people remember.

    Guided by Clinical Professor of Strategic Management Guy Rolnik, “Storytelling” develops these crucial tools for strategic management in two key ways. First, students learn to critically account for how stories shape our perception of the world in general and our sense of business, economics and politics in particular. This work is undergirded by exciting case studies that explore how companies and CEOs succeed and fail to control their narratives. Second, students learn to identify, refine, and share their own stories every week. This requirement, one of the course’s most unique and intensive features, affords students an unparalleled means of shaping their own future narratives. Today’s chaotic and fast-paced economic, political, cultural, and technological developments make honing these skills more important than ever before.

    Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

    • Grasp the ways in which our reality is made of ever-competing narratives.

    • Understand the role that stories and narratives play within organizations and outside of them.

    • Establish a critical perspective on narratives as tools for strategic management in the arenas of business, economics, and politics.

    • Learn the characteristics and techniques of successful narratives and storytellers.

    • Acquire the tools for constructing and telling powerful stories that will enable them to become more effective leaders inside their organizations, vis-à-vis their superiors, peers, and employees.

    • Acquire tools for constructing and telling powerful stories outside of their organizations, vis-à-vis consumers, regulators, politicians, competitors, and the media.

    Class Meets Summer 2023:  8/14, 8/15, 8/17, 8/18, 8/19

  • Prerequisites
    Prereq: Cannot enroll if 42123 taken previously.  Admission to the Executive MBA program
    • No non-Booth Students

  • Grades


    *This course demands a number of unique requirements – including a high level of open, active participation that entails sharing your story and emotions – that some students may find challenging. While taking this class is an opportunity to overcome those challenges, students unwilling to tell their story in class and to receive open feedback from day one should feel free to drop out of the course. If you are unsure about whether this course is right for you, please reach out to the TA.*  


    Mandatory pre-class assignment 

    -       First story draft (~ 500 words) and 5 minutes recording of the same story.

    -       Short Pre-class Survey.

    Due – Friday, August 4, 2023 at midnight.


    Class Participation – 30% 

    -       Attendance during all five sessions.

    -       Participation will be tracked in each class based on the quality of the response.

    -       Telling your story in class.

    -       Responding to cold calling.

    -       Reading all required reading materials thoroughly before each class.

    -       Submitting memo on Warren Buffett’s Case Study 

    Due – Friday, August 18, 2023 at 2 pm (before class).

    -       Participating in two peer feedback meeting in groups of 4 students.

    -       Submitting one Progress Report after a peer feedback meeting 

    Due - Saturday, August 19, 2023 at midnight.


    Final Project submitted individually – 70%

    -       Final written version of your personal business story ~ 500-700 words. 

    -       5-minute video recording of your story, including the version of your story charted across the “Arc Canvas” template provided by Prof. Rolnik

    Due - Friday, September 8, 2023 at midnight.

    • Mandatory attendance week 1

    • No auditors

    • No pass/fail grades

  • Syllabus
  • Summer 2023Section: 42813-88EMBA2 2:00PM-5:00PMHarper CenterC0850 Unit Course
Description and/or course criteria last updated: June 23 2023