A career in strategic planning involves helping a corporation design a path to growth and profitability amidst competition and constant change. The strategic planner's role consists of helping the organization to gather, analyze and organize information. They track industry and competitive trends, develop forecasting models and scenario analysis, examine strategic performance, spot emerging market opportunities, identify business threats, look for novel strategic solutions, and develop creative action plans. Strategic planning involves understanding what the organizations current strategy is, what has been tried in the past and also what it will be in the future (Strategic intent).
Strategic planners analyze and evaluate internal business plans. This involves financial forecasting, market analysis, competitive intelligence analysis, looking at M&A proposals and feasibility analysis. There is also substantial focus on vendor relations, logistics and supply chain issues and geographic expansion. There is a lot of common sense gut feel work here too. Could an organization really implement a plan? Can Kodak really make the shift from producing film to digital cameras? Yes. Can Morgan Stanley really start to act like a commercial bank? Maybe not.
Strategy jobs are viewed as some of the most desirable in a large corporation because they provide access to the overall picture, the vision and the main issues that determine value in an organization. It is not uncommon for an SVP of Strategic Planning to take the CEO job next. You will be in frequent contact with senior management and will get the opportunity to see how decisions really get made in your organization.
At the entry level, you would work as a strategic planning associate or manager. You would work on assignments directed by more senior members of your group. Your work would focus on collecting data, putting together presentations, talking to members of the organization to understand a problem. As you advance you will get more opportunity to direct strategy and to interact with senior management that provides assignments to your group.
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