Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

International Business Strategy

Course summary

Course code: BUSI1593
Level: 6
Credits: 15
School: Business Faculty
Department: International Bus and Economics
Course Coordinator(s): Francesca Pallotti


Pre and co requisites



This course is an introduction to the field of strategic management, placing special emphasis on strategic responses to the challenges that arise from globalisation and from operating in an international business environment. Strategic management consists of the analyses, decisions and actions that enable companies to create and sustain competitive advantage in the long run. Strategy is fundamental to an organisation's success, all the more so in international firms that face the dynamics of global competition in a rapidly changing world economy.
The course analyses the forces driving the objectives and strategies of international business in the perspective of economics -particularly microeconomics. Durable, cogent economic principles and theories provide a secure foundation both for the study of how firms compete, and for making good strategic decisions. Despite its emphasis on analytical rigour, logical thinking, and anchoring to theory, the course is accessible to students with no previous background in economics, using mostly non-technical language and minimising reliance on formal models. Rather, it is organised around case studies about real-world companies in different industries and countries, and engages students in a creative effort to apply theoretical principles to actual business problems and strategy choices.
Recognising the growing importance of data-driven company strategies in today's economy, the course also equips students with a basic understanding of quantitative methods that are relevant for strategic management. It showcases a range of simple, though effective, descriptive, graphical and elementary mathematical tools to examine the strategic decisions of firms. Students learn to handle some of the most accessible among these techniques and are guided to appreciate their practical applicability, the interpretation of results, and the lessons learned for the analysis, formulation and implementation of strategy.
While the core modules of the course are designed to provide students with a solid theoretical background and to progressively develop their analytical skills, the conclusive module also introduces them to a selection of state-of-the-art topics in strategic management, notably social and organisational network effects; the impact of globalisation; and new business models from emerging economies.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course successfully you will be able to:

Clearly articulate key issues in the analysis and appraisal of strategy;
Analyse and apply basic microeconomics concepts to the study of real-world strategy choices;
Apply sound quantitative techniques to analyse and assess the extent to which firms achieve strategic success;
Develop an understanding of how globalisation affects strategy;
Develop an appreciation of the field of strategic management and its contribution to the firm's performance.

Indicative content

Module 1: Economics refresher -
Supply and demand, profits, and costs.
Module 2: The decision-making process of the firm-
Economies of scale and scope;
Building capabilities: Incentives, agency and coordination;
The firm's boundaries: scope, vertical integration, and outsourcing;
Module 3: Creating and maintaining competitive advantage -
Sources of competitive advantage;
Market structures and competition;
Strategic positioning;
Module 4: New topics in strategic management-
Strategy with network effects;
Globalisation and its consequences on strategy;
New business models from emerging economies.

Teaching and learning activity

This course attempts to achieve a balance between a learner-driven and a tutor-driven experience. The course will consist primarily of lectures and tutorials but students are also expected to engage weekly with support materials and activities provided online through Moodle.

Learning Time (1 credit = 10 hours)

Scheduled contact hours:

Note: include in scheduled time: project supervision, demonstrations, practical classes and workshops, supervised time in studio or workshop, scheduled lab work , fieldwork, external visits, work-based learning where integrated into a structured academic programme.
Lectures 12;
seminars n/a;
supervised practical sessions n/a;
Tutorials 12;
Formative assessment 6;
other scheduled time n/a;
Guided independent study:

Note: include in guided independent study preparation for scheduled sessions, follow up work, wider reading or practice, revision.
Independent coursework 50;
Independent laboratory work n/a;
other non-scheduled time - Forum, news, discussion on Moodle collaborative site, preparation for scheduled sessions: 70;
Placements (including work placement and year abroad) n/a;
Total hours (Should be equal to credit x 10) 150.


Portfolio - 100%
Portfolio of small case study analyses, analytical exercises and strategic analysis project.
3000 words.
Pass mark - 40%