International opportunities for students


Instructors: Andrea Caputo
Class hours: 48 (8 ECTS)

Course objectives and learning outcomes

To succeed in the future, managers must develop the resources and capabilities needed to gain and sustain advantage in competitive markets—traditional and emerging. The way in which organizations attempt to develop such competitive advantage constitutes the essence of their strategy.
The module has been designed to allow students to gain the knowledge and expertise necessary to perform a manager role as a strategist by encouraging and enabling students to develop the intellectual and professional acumen needed for the conception and analysis of responsible business strategies; to make appropriate choices between strategic options; and then to follow a strategic trajectory that will deliver results that are robust, ethically sound and socially responsible. Accordingly, the module adopts a contingency approach that is grounded in the understanding of the non-existence of a best way in strategy.

On completion of the module you should be able to:

  • Assess, analyse and reflect upon strategy and strategic decision-making.
  • Apply strategy concepts and models to analyse and appraise a company's strategy.
  • Identify and evaluate strategic choices for the future.


The prerequisites are the following:

  1.  Good knowledge of basic topic in International business (see the main reference book of Hill);
  2. Good knowledge of notions of business strategy
  3. Good knowledge of management basic topics


The module is built around the five views of Strategy as identified by Henry Mintzberg in his 5P Framework: Ploy, Plan, Position, Perspective and Pattern.
1. The Ploy section, of introductory nature, covers the main theories relating to Strategy. Covering strategic issues from history, military and diplomacy, understanding strategy as a ploy will allow the student to have a broad perspective of what is strategy and what is the strategy-making process.
2. The Plan section covers tools and models that support managers in developing the strategic plans.
3. The Position section covers topics related to the internal and external analysis and the achievement of competitive advantage through corporate and business strategies. A series of lectures will allow the student to understand, compare and choose between different strategies in different contexts, both at the corporate and business level.
4. The Perspective section covers topics related to how strategic decisions are made, in this section issues such as strategic decision-making, top management teams and negotiations are explored.
5. Strategy as a Pattern is explored through a series of case studies, mostly covered during seminars, that help the students to apply the knowledge acquired in the lectures.

Topics to be covered:

  • What is Strategy
  • Strategic Decision Making
  • The Strategic Plan and Strategic Organization
  • Analysing the external environment
  • Analysing the internal environment
  • Strategies for achieving competitive advantage
  • Functional strategies
  • Strategies for growth
  • Managing Innovation, Disruption and Digitalization
  • Internationalisation Strategies
  • Globalisation, Crisis and Competition
  • Sustainability and Strategy
  • Designing effective strategies and leading change

Teaching methods

The course is organised around a series of selected topics in International business.
there are two kind of lectures:

  1. traditional lecture: in which the teacher introduce and discuss a topic with the help of a presentation (slides). Active participation of the students is a key aspect;
  2. discussion of specific topics and case studies: in which the tutor briefly introduces a topic and stimulate discussion in classroom.

The latters deal with advanced topic in ICS and are accompanied by case studies discussions. This activity should help students to develop Soft-skills.

A series of lectures is devoted to student presentations on topics agreed with the teacher. Student have to be organised into group of three persons that work together in order to present to the classroom the topic and proposing a deep analysis. Students with this activity should learn how to re-organize the analysis of a specific problem (analytical skills), divide the work across the group components in an efficient way (collaboration skills);
be ready to answer to question of their peers.

Tests and assessment criteria

Active participation in class discussions is a prerequisite of a positive assessment of the work done;
To receive a positive assessment students have to:

  1. Presentation of a group work
  2. Final assignment or exam

Bibliography/study materials

Main textbooks:

  • Brad MacKay, Mikko Arevuo, David Mackay, and Maureen Meadows (2020) Strategy: Theory, Practice, Implementation, Oxford University Press
  • ISBN: 9780198779421
  • Robert Grant (2018) Contemporary Strategy Analysis, Wiley
  • ISBN: 978-1-119-49567-3 (or any other edition)
  • Bob De Wit & Ron Meyer (2020) Strategy: An International Perspective, Cengage ISBN: 9781473765856 (or any other edition)

Other information

Each AY one or more invited lectures are organised around "hot topics".
Lectures are part of the course precise references are provided as soon as the lectures topics are fixed.

In the last years we had invited lectures about: the spin-off phenomenon, wine industry from international perspectives, R&D organization within a MNE.

The course is a module of International Business Management and it will be registered as whole only when the two modules are passed. You will have to enroll in Esse3 to the final registration procedure.