Platform Strategies

Semester: Winter Term [Is offered in winter term 2020/21]
Format:  Is offered virtually. Link to virtual room will be shared via StudOn
Course Type: Lecture
Location: Virtual Room via Zoom Meeting – all relevant information will be posted in StudOn. For the first session all students receive an e-mail with further instruction some days before the course.
Time: Wednesdays, 9:45 – 11:15 (starting on November 4th 2020)
Language: English / Englisch
Credit points/ Contact hours: 5 ECTS/ 4 SWS
StudOn: Join StudOn course (registration starts on October 1st 2020)
Univis: Course information on Univis
Syllabus: TBA
Lecturers: Prof. R. Srinivasan
Julius Kirschbaum, M.Sc.

How and why does a platform like Google function so well? On the one side, you have users who search and access information for free, and on the other, you have companies who pay for ads. But how does such a complex system maintain itself and remain successful over the years?

This is the kind of questions that this course aims to answer. In academic terms, the course builds on the platform and network aspects in core strategy and aims to highlight the specific strategies for firms operating in platform-mediated-networks (PMN). Firms in platform-mediated-networks face certain challenges atypical of usual product or service firms: they operate in multi-sided markets, face network effects that allow only a few firms to exist as platform intermediaries, and traditional rules for pricing fail in such markets.

The course will be taught through a set of cases that ensures that participants appreciate the multi-dimensional nature of managing in network businesses.

The seminar is delivered by Prof. R Srinivasan who is a guest lecturer coming from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, and who specialises in multi-sided platform organizations, strategy processes in rapid growth organizations, and competitive, corporate and international strategies.
Through the years Prof. Srinivasan has accumulated not only knowledge but also experience with helping platform firms set up the right business models and successful strategies.

You can visit his blog about his research, consulting and teaching interests. It provides insights about strategy in general, digital strategy, and what it means for firms, especially start-ups, and platform business models, with a focus on Indian firms.

Grading structure:

  • Project report: Students develop in teams a business plan about a platform business idea (50% of module score)
  • Handout: Students develop individually an essay about a platform of their choice, discuss key concepts encountered during the lectures and apply them to the chosen platform. (50% of module score)

Post-Exam Reviews:

For a post-exam review, please contact us within the week after the publication of the grades to arrange an appointment.



Please contact Julius Kirschbaum ( in case of questions.