Programme content

The MSc in International Business & Strategy is taught over three terms, with breaks at Christmas and Easter. The programme consists of ten compulsory modules and up to three optional modules.

Term 1: October to December

All students take five core modules (plus the Career Skills module):

Firms in the Global Economy (10 credits)

This module aims to give you a good understanding of the international business environment, particularly with reference to globalisation.

You will be introduced to the principal theories of international trade and political economy, to enable you to better understand the international environment in which firms operate.

You will examine the strategies firms use in an ever more globalised world economy, and will learn to apply economic theory to real-life situations.

International Business Strategy (10 credits)

This module looks at the critical choices that organisations face in order to survive and gain sustainable competitive advantage in an international environment.

To understand these choices and their strategic dimension, you will analyse how industry structure affects profitability but also how the strategic position of the firm affects determines the relative performance of organisations.

Business Skills and Analytics (10 credits)

This core module aims to develop your understanding of basic statistical techniques and concepts, while also helping you to increase your knowledge of more advanced methods.

This will allow you to undertake original statistical analysis, including regression and multiple regression analysis. You will learn to use standard business analytics software to generate, analyse and visualize complex data, as well as developing transferrable skills in business analytics.

Cross-National Management and Leadership  (10 credits)

To be a successful manager in a multi-cultural environment requires a broad range of culturally sensitive skills.  This highly interactive core module addresses the managerial implications of cross-cultural and cross-national business by focusing on the individual- and group-level dynamics of international management.

Competition in Global Markets (10 credits)

This course introduces you to the economic tools required to analyse and evaluate the market forces that shape competition in global markets. 

The course, provides an overview of the interaction between market structure, regulation, and firm investment.  It also provides an introduction to financial markets and foreign exchange markets. You will learn about the behaviour of interest rates, and the role of central banks, as well as gaining an understanding of foreign exchange markets. 

Career Skills (Michaelmas and Lent terms) ( 10 credits)

In this module, you will develop important career skills, such as business presentation skills and how to present yourself in the job market. 

The ability to present complex data in a clear, concise and convincing way is an important skill for business graduates.  In this module, which complements the academic content of the course, we offer you the opportunity to learn and practise presentation in a safe environment.

Term 2: January to March

All students take four core modules (as well as the Career Skills course):

World Economic Forum (10 credits)

The course focuses on the interplay between policy-making and market forces. 

The course is divided into two parts. The first part introduces topics such as international trade, foreign direct investment, aid, environmental policy and migration. The second part is the one-day World Economic Forum, a simulation where groups of students represent countries, multinational enterprises and organisations.

Your task is to negotiate different policy proposals, covering topics such as trade agreements, monetary policy, climate policy, migration policy and anti-poverty programmes. 

International Corporate Strategy and Structure (10 credits)

This module complements International Business Strategy. The module investigates strategy in large multi-business firms and conglomerates.

The focus on the module will be on strategic decisions regarding the scope of the firm, both in terms of the business that are part of the portfolio of a group as well as the geographic locations of those businesses. The module is highly interactive and draws on cases studies as well as role plays. 

Cross Border Mergers and Acquisitions (10 credits)

Firms are continuously adjusting to remain competitive, either fighting to extend, defend or create competitive advantages. A major strategy employed to this end is Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). 

Mergers and acquisitions are a multi-faceted phenomenon with multi-level impacts. They affect how organisations compete, organise internally, change and innovate and ultimately how they perform in a global market place. There are major implications for the activities of employees, executives and teams and externally in terms of related organisations and society.

The multi-faceted nature of M&A lends its study to a multi-disciplinary rather than specialist approach. As such, this module adopts a strategic perspective while drawing upon economics, finance, organisational behaviour, marketing and psychology.

Research Methods and Dissertation (Lent and Summer terms) (50 credits)

In this module you will produce an extended piece of independent research, on a topic of your choosing relating to some aspect of International Business and Strategy.

You choose your topic in the Lent Term under the direction of the Programme Director and often after discussion with MSc faculty. There is also the opportunity to undertake a company-based project.

The research methods taught component of the module is designed to equip you with the additional research techniques and analytical tools necessary to undertake your dissertation.

Option choices

During the second and third term you have a choice of modules, each one of which carries a credit weighting. You must choose modules that give you a total of 30 credits. The optional modules may vary according to the availability of teaching staff and the demand for the modules.

Strategic Sourcing (10 credits)

The globalisation of operations and supply chains is prominent in almost every industry sector. Organisations are facing up to the huge challenge of learning to compete in this wider context and are internationalising in greater numbers, faster and in more ways than ever before.

This module allows you to develop an understanding of the strategic role that sourcing decisions can play in supply chain management, and how this can help companies gain sustainable competitive advantages in a global environment.

Growth in Emerging Economies  (10 credits)

This optional module provides a theoretical and applied introduction to growth theory.

The first part focuses on a critical discussion of the principal theories of economic growth, along with recent developments in the field.

The second part focuses on the application of these growth models to the experience of selected newly industrialising economies, such as China, India, Argentina and Brazil.

International Banking and Risk Management (15 credits)

This module examines the economics of financial intermediation and disintermediation, with some emphasis on the UK as a major international financial centre.

Covering commercial and investment banking, it examines practical issues of risk management by intermediaries, as well as the potential risks involved in the more recent trend towards financial disintermediation. Regulatory issues are addressed, with attention paid to both ‘on’ and ‘off’ balance sheet positions.

This module must be taken jointly with International Money and Finance.

International Money and Finance (15 credits)

Beginning with the basic international parity relationships, this module examines the nature of business exposure to foreign exchange risk and the techniques available for hedging these risks.

In addition to reviewing forward and futures contracts, several sessions are devoted to the theory and application of options contracts in the context of forex risk hedging.

This module must be taken jointly with International Banking and Risk Management.

International Business Marketing (10 credits)

This module enables you to develop an appreciation of the dynamics of the international marketplace and the complex and challenging forces shaping this environment.

It uses the principles and frameworks underpinning international marketing to assess how key marketing and consumer behaviour theories, models and concepts apply in an increasingly globalised and internationally competitive marketplace.

Knowledge and Global Organisations (10 credits)

In this module we explore how fundamental questions about “knowledge” and “management” apply to global organisations.

With some organisations, such as GE and Wal-Mart, having revenues greater than the GDP of many countries, it is crucial to understand why and how knowledge and learning are managed in such contexts.

We examine how the globalisation strategies of manufacturing organisations are built around knowledge-based rationales and mechanisms, before looking at the case of global service organisations, with particular attention paid to the way these organisations use their knowledge and power to shape the structures of the global economy.

Term 3: May to September

Business Ethics and Society (10 credits)

The objective of this module is to attempt to develop moral sensibility and practical reasoning in the context of managerial everyday action in organisations.

We will examine morality in action, rather than a removed reflection on codes and principles of ethics. The course will show that ethics in action is diffused and difficult. Nevertheless, managers and employees have a responsibility to work it out for themselves and behave ethically. 

Doing Business in China (Study Abroad) (10 credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to spend two weeks at the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University in Beijing.

The module focuses on the recent evolution of the Chinese economy and culture, as well as highlighting key management and leadership aspects specific to the Chinese context. You will study as part of an international group of postgraduate students from top universities across the globe.