How can you mitigate risk when a crisis strikes? What motivates activists and special interest groups? How do you anticipate the actions of politicians and regulators? Strategy Beyond Markets: Building Competitive Advantage Through Government Relations and Public Affairs is essential for competing in today’s complex, high-stakes business environment. Public and political players can strengthen or weaken you. The media can make or break you. In this one-week intensive program you’ll learn how to develop a more holistic business strategy in order to proactively manage risk and seize new opportunities.

Price subject to change. Program tuition includes private accommodations, all meals, and course materials.


Legislators. Regulators. Interest groups. Activists. Plus, a 24/7 news cycle…and you thought customers and competitors were your only concern. Strategy Beyond Markets provides concrete tools, analytical frameworks, and leadership skills to help you understand these beyond-market forces and develop strategies to positively impact your firm’s performance and profitability.

This highly-focused, one-week program combines cutting-edge academic research and relevant, real-time cases—from Uber and BP to ObamaCare and EU privacy. Led by Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty in partnership with Stanford University’s VP for Public Affairs, you’ll gain invaluable strategic and practical insights.

Faculty Directors
Other Faculty
David L. Bradford

Professor of Political Economy at Stanford Graduate School of Business, is a theorist working at the intersection of business, politics, and society. He builds theoretical models of political and economic institutions (legislatures, markets, bureaucracies, etc.) to understand how they work, how they can be designed better, and how businesses can incorporate “beyond market” issues into their strategy. He has a particular interest in new business models that face and overcome regulatory challenges.

Ken Shotts

The David S. and Ann M. Barlow Professor of Political Economy at Stanford Graduate School of Business, uses game theory to analyze how elections and political institutions influence policy choices made by government officials. He has published papers on presidential leadership, term limits, and the politics of regulatory enforcement. He is currently doing research on several topics, including electoral accountability, policy entrepreneurship, political risk, and industry-level self-regulation.

Steven Callender

Vice President for Public Affairs at Stanford University, reports to the president of the university and oversees university communications, government relations, community initiatives, and special events. He served four years on the White House senior staff for President George H. W. Bush, assuming the post of White House Communications Director following his role as Communications Director of Vice President Bush’s 1988 Presidential Campaign. This followed seven years in the federal government as Assistant Secretary of Labor and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative. He is a senior lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business teaching "Political Communications: How Leaders Become Leaders," and also teaches an undergraduate course, "Making Sense of Strategy.”

Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior; Professor of Sociology (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences; Hank McKinnell-Pfizer Inc. Faculty Fellow for 2014-2015

Professor of Political Economy; Professor of Political Science (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences

Video Introduction
Stanford Executive Education: Strategy Beyond Markets
“The most effective CEOs spend 50% of their time on Government Relations and Public Affairs. Strategy Beyond Markets is designed to help executives prepare for the realities of running a business in today’s highly-regulated, activist-rich, media-frenzied world. ”
– Steven Callander

Join key faculty members from the program as they discuss the tools and skills needed to analyze, integrate, and take ownership of your firm’s beyond-market strategy.

Strategy Beyond Markets will help you:

  • Learn frameworks, concrete tools, and skills to analyze, integrate, and take ownership of your firm’s beyond-market strategy
  • Understand and anticipate risks from policymakers and interest groups, stakeholders, and the media
  • Formulate and implement strategies to promote and sustain your company’s interests and turn potential threats into competitive opportunities
  • Learn from real-world cases that have shaped current policy
  • Build a strong network of peers with whom you can share ideas and experiences


A common attitude in Silicon Valley—and among innovators generally—is that the quality of the idea will take care of itself and that the government is irrelevant (not to mention stuffy and bureaucratic). Time and time again this attitude has been proven wrong. All markets are regulated and often the rules of the game for a market are set before the market even exists. Understanding the regulatory rules that are in place and designing a business plan that takes them into account is an important part of business innovation. In this session you’ll explore how start-up and established companies alike can build strategies to account for regulatory constraints, and formulate new business strategies that leverage regulation for competitive advantage.

What should management do when a crisis focuses the harsh spotlight of public opinion on their organization? Whether it results from a firm's own missteps (think BP) or from strategic activism or media action (think Greenpeace), crisis is increasingly on the agenda for today's executives. In this session you’ll examine the nature of crises and develop a deeper understanding of where they come from, how they evolve, and what you can do about them. You’ll explore the skills and organizational structures required to prepare for, and productively manage, a crisis to avoid bringing lasting damage to a firm's reputation.

In this session you’ll analyze how self-regulation can be used as a tool to deal with threats ranging from consumer backlash to the threat of future governmental regulation. You’ll also consider several obstacles that arise as firms and industries try to engage in self-regulation. You’ll learn about recent successes and failures in self-regulation covering issues like privacy, consumer credit, movie ratings, and conflict minerals.

If only successful engagement with interest groups was about doing “good deeds.” It’s much, much more. Key stakeholders often have conflicting interests. How should a company strike a balance among competing interests? Is trying to “strike a balance” even a smart strategy? Should that be the objective? What about the firm’s responsibility to its shareholders? And, regardless of whether the goal is to benefit shareholders or a broader set of stakeholders, how should a firm assess the effectiveness of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives? In this session, you’ll assess these questions by analyzing a global pharmaceutical company’s key decisions about intellectual property, pricing, and delivery of new AIDS drugs in developing countries.

Who Should Attend?

Strategy Beyond Markets: Building Competitive Advantage Through Government Relations and Public Affairs is ideal for executives who formulate and implement the strategic direction of their organizations. It's specifically designed for:

  • Senior-level executives with at least 10 years of experience—from any size company, any industry, and any country
  • Executives from large global companies that face challenges in a variety of different institutional arenas
  • Leaders of startups or smaller organizations seeking creative ways to build competitive advantage
  • Examples of roles include senior functional leaders transitioning into general management, and division-level leaders who will soon assume corporate-level positions
The most effective CEOs spend 50% of their time on Government Relations and Public Affairs. Strategy Beyond Markets is designed to help executives prepare for the realities of running a business in today’s highly-regulated, activist-rich, media-frenzied world.
– Steven Callander
Faculty Director
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Business leaders often see governments and interest groups as threats. But your market competitors face these same threats. This means that if your company develops an effective beyond-market strategy for engaging with key stakeholders, you can get a leg up on the competition and thereby turn these threats into opportunities for competitive advantage in the marketplace.
– Ken Shotts
Faculty Director
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Successfully navigating the tangled interplay of media, stakeholders, and government can confound even the most successful executives. But in a competitive landscape that is more complex and challenging than ever, it’s increasingly the difference between the business that succeeds and the one that doesn’t. Effective leaders must see the world through new lenses, develop new skills, and grasp fresh insights. That’s what Strategy Beyond Markets is all about.
– David Demarest
Vice President for Public Affairs, Stanford University


Stanford University
The Stanford campus is world renowned for its natural beauty, Spanish mission-style architecture, and temperate climate. With more than 8,180 acres (3,310 hectares), Stanford's campus ranks as one of the largest in the United States. Participants in Stanford's Executive Programs become part of a quintessential university setting, residing together, walking or biking to classes, and enjoying access to Stanford University facilities.
The Knight Management Center
Opened in spring 2011, the Knight Management Center has transformed the Stanford Graduate School of Business into a vibrant and unified indoor-outdoor, living and learning community. Participants will take classes at this new state-of-the-art campus, which features tiered classrooms with extensive floor-to-ceiling glass, the latest in audiovisual technology, numerous breakout and study rooms, outdoor seating areas to encourage informal discussion, and an open collaboration lab that employs hands-on and design thinking techniques.
Schwab Residential Center
Designed by renowned Mexican architect, Ricardo Legorreta, the Schwab Residential Center gives residents ample privacy while promoting collegial interaction through shared lounges, outdoor meeting areas, a library, and an exercise room.


Kriss Craig
Director of Programs
Phone: +1.650.724.2153

The Stanford Difference

The Place: Immerse yourself in innovation.
The Experience: Transform your thinking, your career, your company.
The Approach: Challenge yourself with research-based learning and real-world experience.