International Strategy

INB422C International Strategy

Spring 2019

Autumn 2019
  • Topics

    What do Uber, WhatsApp, and eBay have in common? They all have struggled when entering emerging markets, such as in China, India or Brazil. Even established Multinationals, with operations worldwide, find it difficult to navigate the many challenges that arise when it comes to setting up business models that are suited for operating in emerging, low-income markets (also known as `bottom of the pyramid'). How can managers successfully expand their operations abroad? How can they design business models that are profitable as well as responsible when operating in emerging markets? In order to answer these questions, we need to develop a good understanding of the nexus between international strategy, business models and institutional theory - and how to apply it in practice.

  • Learning outcome

    Thus, the purpose of this course is to define and analyze the major strategic issues and functions managers must understand to operate effectively in foreign markets, with a special focus on emerging low-income markets. The objective of the course is to create an understanding of how to strategize and compete around the globe. The course focuses on the important question "why are some firms more successful internationally than other firms?" The course draws heavily on theories in the field of international strategy, international business, business models, and institutional theory to answer this question. After finishing the course the students should have:

    Knowledge of

    • International strategy: have an in-depth understanding of the core questions in international strategy (choice of market, choice of partners, entry mode, etc.)
    • Business model innovation: understand the concept of business model innovation and how this is relevant in the context of value creation across borders
    • Social entrepreneurship: understand how social value creation can be integrated into the business model for operating in low-income markets (bottom of the pyramid)
    • Institutional theory: the impact of the external environment (formal and informal institutions) on the strategic choices and operations and of MNEs

    Skills in

    • How to design, adapt and innovate an MNE's business model in emerging, low-income markets
    • How to balance the need for commercial versus social value creation in setting up ventures in emerging, low-income markets
    • How to analyze host country conditions (supportive/unsupportive social, cultural, political, legal and regulatory institutions in foreign markets), and
    • How to formulate appropriate managerial recommendation in response to potential opportunities and challenges in those emerging markets


    General competence in

    • Advanced research ability, problem-solving and critical reflection
    • Planning and executing project work in an international team during the length of the semester
    • Communicating findings of the project in a clear and engaging manner

  • Teaching

    The course will consist of a combination of lectures, team presentations, guest lectures and case discussions

  • Restricted access

    This course is only open for CEMS students.

  • Required prerequisites

    Bachelor level strategy books such as Jay B. Barney: Gaining and Sustaining Competitive Advantage (2007, 2010).

  • Credit reduction due to overlap

    INB422C cannot be combined with INB422 International Strategy.

  • Requirements for course approval

    Students will be expected to be prepared for, and active, in class discussions, including team presentations and discussion of case material. Class attendance is therefore mandatory, where students are allowed to miss two classes. (An absence from three lectures will result in having to write an essay, and an absence of four lectures in being excluded from the course). In addition to regular attendance all students must be involved in at least one of their team presentations and one term paper.

  • Assessment

    Group (4-5 students) term paper 100%.

    The term paper must be written in English.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale A - F.

  • Literature

    Compulsory readings:

    a) A compendium of articles (articles will be uploaded on CANVAS)

    b) Case Collection (uploaded on CANVAS)


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered Autumn 2018

Course responsible

Tina Saebi, Department of Strategy and Management