Student guide Faculty of Economics A.Y. 2011/12

Doing Business Around the World
Aim of the course
The aim of this course is to give students a strategic understanding of the behavior of firms and other market participants in economies across the world.  It does so by focusing on ways in which firm-specific strategies influence market structure, as well as ways in which firms choose strategies in response to the structure of the markets in which they operate.  Within this context, the government can play an important role in influencing firm behavior, market structure and market outcome.     

Specifically, this course will focus on:
(1)    Identifying firm-specific objectives and organizational, pricing and marketing strategies tailored to business success under different market conditions and in different countries.
(2)    An in–depth analysis of the role of lobbying and public affairs as a business strategy and opportunity.     
(3)    Addressing the rationale for and impact of government intervention into markets and its effect on market structure and firm strategy, including regulation, subsidies, tariffs, quotas, antitrust laws, patents and copyrights.  

The lecture will make extensive use of real-world examples to illustrate and analyze these relationships and interactions, including:
•    Hollywood strategy: what movies to release and when
•    Boeing/Airbus: whether to develop new large-body aircraft
•    OPEC oil cartel’s strategy: is it still stable/profitable?
•    The Italian highway system: a public/private partnership
•    Eastern Europe: privatize, liberalize—too much too soon?  
•    Monopolization antitrust suits: Microsoft and Intel
•    Apple’s lobbying strategy to expand IPhone use
•    Cheap chinese imports: rationales for and against trade restrictions
•    Bayer, Coca-Cola, Gucci: the power of brand name

Prerequisites: Basic undergraduate courses in micro and macroeconomic theory and financial analysis.
The course does not have an assigned textbook.  The course will be conducted in power point format.  Copies of the power point slides as well as lecture notes, newspaper and journal articles, and video links to interviews and forum discussions will be posted on the course’s university website.  Students are required to read and view all of the course materials in a timely manner in order to actively participate in class dialogue and debate.  Enrollment in this class involves a commitment from students to dedicate the time and energy required to be prepared and active class participants.   

Course grading:
Class participation 20%: Class participation is measured by class attendance and active participation in class discussions.
Forming groups: Students will be asked to form groups of 4-5 students to choose, prepare and present group projects.  Learning how to work within a group setting, assign tasks and collaborate is an important aspect of this course.      
Group project 60%: Student groups will prepare an in-class presentation and written report on a real-world case study or hypothetical business strategy of their choosing relevant to the content of the course.  Professors Della Valle and Massa will meet and communicate with each of the groups to approve and discuss the topic.    
Final exam: 20%: The final exam will be an oral exam in which each of the group members will answer questions related to the content of the course as well as their group project.

Group projects:  Group projects should meet the following requirements:   
1. Identify an interesting and useful research question of historical or contemporary value to industry or government policy and decision makers in business strategy, management, marketing or lobbying.
2. Develop the framework and analysis which provides the context for answering the research question(s).
3. Collect and analyze relevant data and information.
4. Present the group project to the class in a well-constructed, interesting presentation.  The class is your audience!  
5. Communicate the results of the project in an articulate and well-cited research paper exhibiting detailed knowledge of the topic chosen.