Credits: 6

Schedule: 09.09.2019 - 23.10.2019

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Derin Kent

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation): 

Instructor’s contact information
Name: Derin Kent
Office: U206 Ekonominaukio 1
Office Hours: By appointment

Teaching Period (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Period I (2018-2019), Otaniemi campus
Period I (2019-2020), Otaniemi campus

Learning Outcomes (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

After completing this course, you will be able to:
1) identify organizational tournaments that attract, select, and eliminate contestants
2) use workplace information to determine your prospects for advancement
3) describe tactics used in organizational tournaments - managing impressions, overcoming dependence, networking, and taking credit
4) develop a strategy to decide which tournaments you want to be a part of, and what kind of player you want to be

Content (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Each year, thousands of the best and brightest students start their careers at companies known for intense work cultures, including Amazon, Goldman Sachs, and McKinsey. After years of dedication, only few will obtain the attractive prizes – partnership, a VP role, or a spot on the executive team. This course is designed to help you grasp the unwritten rules of the corporate game of who wins these prizes, and who gets filtered out. The basic idea is that corporate careers resemble tournaments rather than marathons. Many contestants compete for few prizes, and those who fail to advance in earlier rounds don’t get to compete in later ones. We’ll use organizational theory and cases to answer questions such as why consultancies prefer “insecure overachievers” to experienced job candidates, why companies pay enormous sums for celebrity CEOs, and whether technical skill or impression management matter more moving up the corporate hierarchy. Understanding this helps us figure out our real position in an organization, the people and situations we are likely to encounter, and the type of contestant we want to be (if one at all).

Details on the course content (applies in this implementation): 

If you are taking this course, please see the pdf copy of syllabus on MyCourses. This version will always be the most up to date. It provides detailed information about the course and how to prepare for the first session on 9.9.2019.

Assessment Methods and Criteria (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

40% exam
50% assignments
10% participation

Elaboration of the evaluation criteria and methods, and acquainting students with the evaluation (applies in this implementation): 

Tournament Analysis – Individual (10%)
Written report – online submission due by session 6 (10:15am on 25.9)

Further instructions and rubrics will be given during session 2 (11.9).
Organizational Case Study – Team (40%)
Team formation – a member should inform me of the members of your team by session 3 (16.9)
Written report – online submission due by session 9 (10:15am on 9.10)
Peer evaluation – online submission due by session 10 (on 14.10)

Further instructions, rubrics, and materials will be given during session 3 (16.9).

Final Exam (40%)
Takes place 24.10.2018 9:00-12:00, room TBA. A retake exam is scheduled 17.12.2018 16:00-19:00

It is closed-book and covers prep guides, readings, lectures, and discussion introduced in sessions 1-12. You will be asked to answer a mixture of short- and long-answer questions.

Participation (10%)
Improving your organizational political skill, like learning to drive or speak a language, requires you to participate actively. This course provides you the opportunity to do so. Your participation is one indication that you are acquiring fluency with ideas that can help you succeed in large organizations.

Workload (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Contact teaching 15h
Independent work 142h
Exam 3h Total = 160h (6 ECTS)

Details on calculating the workload (applies in this implementation): 


Study Material (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

a) Bowe, J., Bowe, M., & Streeter, S. 2001. Gig: Americans talk about their jobs. New York: Three Rivers Press.
b) A variety of other readings will be made available during the course.

Details on the course materials (applies in this implementation): 

Course-related material can by found on "materials" section on MyCourses. Preparation guides for each session will be available one week ahead of each class (including the first class). If you are taking this class, please prepare your notes before the first class on 9.9.2019.

Grading Scale (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 


Further Information (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Priority to BIZ students; other Aalto students added to the course in order of registration. Maximum of 50 students. Because grades involve a participation component, students should be prepared to attend classes and to engage in discussion.

Additional information for the course (applies in this implementation): 


Details on the schedule (applies in this implementation): 

The latest schedule can be found on MyCourses. This year, the preliminary list of topics is: tournaments, fit, impressions, persuasion, dependence, networking, specialization, socialization, bodies, departures, stories, and philosophies.


Registration and further information