NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2012

Instructor Details

Fischer, Eileen



Mon. through Thur. 12:30 - 2:00; by appt.

KMC 7-154


Course Meetings

TR, 9:30am to 10:45am

KMC 5-140


Course Description and Learning Goals

The International Study Project (ISP) course is a follow-on to the Economics of Global Business (EGB) course.  The central objective of the EGB course was to introduce students to the causes and consequences of economic globalization.  Towards the end of the EGB course, however, the fact of wide differences in the institutional contexts, and resource bases within which business is conducted in different national settings was pointed out.  These differences are driven by historical, politico-legal, social, and cultural forces as well as economic realities, and can result in significant divergence in actual national goals, policies and economic achievements compared to what would be predicted by global economic reasoning alone.

The main objective of the ISP course is to enrich students’ understanding of variations in the institutional and resource contexts of nations and the impact of these variations on national economic growth, globalization and the management of multinational firms. We will start by developing a framework for country analysis that can be applied to understanding the economic performance of any country, and the challenges, opportunities and risks to multinational firms of doing business in any country in the world.   We will then examine how Country differences impact firm strategies and study several frameworks that help assess competitive advantage based on Country factors. 

The course proceeds with a visit to Barcelona, Spain where students will be able to observe directly how the institutions and resources of Hungary impact how business is conducted.  While in Barcelona, students will participate in presentations and discussions of European business and economic issues and visit a host company and meet with senior managers to discuss strategic opportunities and challenges.  In addition, students will have time on their own to explore the history, cultural sites, and local customs of Barcelona. 

The course culminates in a school-wide competition among student teams from all sections of the International Study Project course.  The competition requires that each team prepare and present a report that diagnoses the major longer-term performance opportunities and challenges facing the company visited, and makes strategic recommendations to address those opportunities and challenges.


Course Outline

				International Study Project  - Schedule of Topics and Assignments 
				Spring, 2012  THIS IS A DRAFT










Introduction to the Course






Countries Differ … So What?

Prepare:“Wal-Mart in Europe” – HBS 9-704-027;   Preparation Guide on BB




Analyzing  Country Differences





Political, Economic, Legal Systems


Skim:  “National Differences in the Political Economy”;  Read:  “Country Focus” highlights for Venezuela, Nigeria and China and “Closing Case”  India’s Transformation


Read:  “Why Denmark Loves Globalization” 11/15/07, Time; Posted on BB





Societies and Culture; Focus on Spain  

Skim:“Differences in Culture”


Prepare:  Cultural Insight Assignment; see BB for details





A Framework for Country Analysis

·         Global Competitiveness Report

·         “Doing Business in …”


Impact of Regional Trading Blocks

Skim:  Chapter 1.1 (page 3 -42) The Global Competitiveness Report, 2010-2011 and review details for US, Spain, Denmark and Germany;  http://gcr.weforum.org/gcr2010/


Skim:  “Doing Business in …” Report  http://www.doingbusiness.org


Read:  “The European Union in the 21st Century”, HBS 9-707-021 





Spain’s Current Political and Economic Situation



Read:  “Spain:  Can the House Resist the Storm?”


Prepare:  Country Analysis Framework to Assess Spain (Guide on BB)





Industry Discussion



Prepare:  Case to be distributed in class


Due:  Group Report on Industry; Submit before class to Turnitin





Country and Industry Impact on an Spanish Firm


Quiz 1 (10 points) – 30 minutes

Prepare:  New Case to be Determined; Preparation Guide on BB


Prepare:  Quiz 1 (10 points)





Impact of Country Differences on Firm Strategy






Profiting from International Expansion and Leveraging Intangible vs. Tangible Assets

Skim:“The Strategy of International Business”; Read:  “Opening Case” Evolving Strategy at IBM and “Management Focus” Evolution of Strategy at P&G


Read:  “Resources and Rents”





International Strategy:  Location-bound vs. Non-Location Bound Advantages


Read:  TBD




Entry Strategies

Skim:“Entry Strategy and Strategic Alliances”;  Read:  “Opening Case” General Electric’s JV and  “Management Focus” Tesco’s International Growth Strategy


Prepare:  ‘Dabar India Globalization’, IVEY 909A17;  Preparation Guide on BB





Prepare for Trip – Discussion of Professional Programs and Tips for Enjoying Barcelona


Due:  Individual Paper – Country and Company Competitiveness Report; submit via Turnitin before class





Rich, Poor and Developing Countries – Strategic Challenges


Prepare:  “Emerging Giants: Building World-Class Companies in Emerging Markets”,  HBS, 9-703-431;  in the text; not case packet; Preparation Guide on BB





Illustration:  Country Impact on Firm Strategies



Prepare:  “Denmark Globalization and the Welfare State”, HBS 5-710-007


“Finland and Nokia: Creating the World’s Most Competitive Economy”, HBS 9-702-427;

Preparation Guide on BB (we will divide the two cases between teams)





        *** Trip to Barcelona***







Debrief Country/Company Visit in Class


Time for Group Meetings

Individual Report Due:  5 Major Learnings from Trip





Company Strategy Analysis Practicum-

Developing strategic recommendations to management


Time for Group Meetings

Prepare:  “Escatsa: The UK and Hungary Decisions”, HBSP – IES094;  Preparation Guide on BB







Exam 2 - (15 points) 

Covers material from Session 9 through Programs in Budapest

Prepare:  Exam 2





Group Project Proposal Dueby WEDNESDAY 3/30 at 6:00 pm






Team Meeting:  Consultation with Instructor

Teams 1, 2, 3 and 4 meet with Professor and TF






Team Meeting:  Consultation with Instructor

Teams 5, 6, 7 and 8 meet with Professor and TF





Team Meeting:  Presentation Preparation

Additional team meetings with Professor and TF, as needed





Team Meeting:  Presentation Preparation






Team Meeting:  Presentation Preparation






Team Meeting: Presentation Preparation






Team Meeting: Presentation Preparation






Team Presentation Slides Due by 6:00 PM on Monday 4/25; send to TF






Class Competition:  Team Presentations






Class Competition:  Team Presentations






Class Competition:  Team Presentations






Winning Section Team Announced






No class






Regional Playoffs and Global Championship

Attendance Mandatory





Final Course Project

Individual Strategy Report Due by 6:00 pm; Submit via Turnitin


Required Course Materials

There is a common abbreviated text for all European sections and a case packet unique to every section.  All Materials are in paper copy at the bookstore or can be purchased in digital format (instructions below).

1.     Abbreviated Text for All Europe Sections - ISBN TBD:

·         National Differences in Political Economy

·         Differences in Culture

·         The Strategy of International Business

·         Entry Strategy and Strategic Alliances

·         Resources and Rents

·         Emerging Giants: Building World-Class Companies in Emerging Markets

2.    Cases and Readings for Section 10, ISBN  TBD:

·         Wal-Mart in Europe – HBS 9-704-027

·         Denmark:  Globalization of the Welfare State – HBS 9-709-015

·         Spain:  Can the House Resist the Storm?  HBS 9-709-021

·         Finland and Nokia:  Creating the World’s Most Competitive Economy - HBS 9-702-427

·         The European Union in the 21st Century – HBS 9-707-021

·         DaBur India – Globalization – IVEY – 909A17

·         Escata: The UK and Hungary Decisions – HBS IES094

To purchase digital copies, go to www.mcgrawhillcreate.com/shop.   You will need the ISBN number, as listed above.  Complete directions for purchase are on BB.

There will be one copy of the abbreviated text and the cases on loan at the library.  The materials for spring 2012 are different from spring 2011.


Assessment Components


Individual Assignments - 70%


     Class and Trip Participation


     5 learnings - ungraded


   Exam 1


   Exam 2


   Country and Company Competitiveness


   Final Strategy Recommendation



Group Assignments - 30%


   Industry Report


   Presentation of Strategic Recommendations


Individual Assignments

Five Learnings Assignment (Ungraded)– Due in class on TBD

Write 1-2 pages on 5 important insights/observations you made on the ISP trip that you regard as “learnings”.  Learnings can include:  thoughts from the academic lectures, observations on business culture, general cultural insights and travel experiences.   This is an ungraded assignment, but it will contribute to your participation grade. 

Exam One (10%) – Thursday, February 16

The exam will be a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions.  More information will be provided in class. 

Exam Two (15%) – Tuesday, March 27

The exam will cover material from session 9 through the trip to Barcelona. 

Individual Report:  Country and Company Competiveness Report (15%)- Due by Thursday, 3/1; Submit to Turnitin before class

Prepare an individual report comparing and contrasting how country factors impact the competitive advantages/disadvantages of the firm to be visited versus the competitive advantage/disadvantages of a firm in the same industry in another country.  This course is premised on the idea that location matters, and this assignment challenges us to understand how differences in the economic, social, political, and cultural conditions of countries matter for firms.  Additional guidance will be provided in class

Each member of a group should pick a competitor in a different country. 

Suggested length is 5-7 typewritten pages, double-spaced, 12 point Arial or comparable font.

Final Individual Strategic Report (15%)– Due by 6:00 pm Friday, 5/4; Submit to Turnitin

Prepare an integrated set of strategic recommendations for management based on your team’s work, the presentations in class and any additional insights you gained during the presentations. 

Present your recommendations in terms of the potential impact on the firm’s performance, competitive position and risks, the use of their competitively valuable resources, and the “affordability” in terms of the cash flows and debt capacity of the firm. 

A strong recommendation will explain why some viable alternatives are being rejected.  There will be many strong recommendations presented in class.  In this assignment, you should explain why you have not chosen the strongest alternatives.  You do NOT need to comment on all group recommendations.

Suggested length is 7 to 8 typewritten pages [excluding appendices], double-spaced, 12 point Arial or comparable font.


Group Projects

GROUP Project (30%)

Please form groups of 5 members.  If you are not able to find a group, you will be assigned to a group that has less than 5 members.  Also, each group can have no more than one person who is not going on the trip.

Industry Report and Company Questions (10%)– Due Tuesday, 2/15; Submit via Turnitin before class

For our company’s industry,

For our company,

Additional information will be provided in class.  Suggested length is 5 to 6 typewritten pages, not including appendices, double-spaced, 12 point Arial or comparable font.

Group Presentation of Strategic Recommendation (20%)– Slides due for all teams by Monday 4/25 at 6:00 pm.; Submit to Blackboard

After we return from our company visit, groups develop a Project Proposal (Due: Wednesday, 3/30 by email).  The proposal should outline the strategic issue(s) that you will be focusing on for your project (1-2 pages, double spaced).  These are not graded but will allow me to provide better direction during our brief meeting scheduled on 3/31 and 4/5.    

Each group will develop strategic recommendations and present those recommendations in class.  Presentations are 15 minutes, plus 2 minutes for Q&A.  Please time your presentations properly; going over time will count against you in the grading. 

A winning team will be selected for each section.  That team will then compete in a Regional Playoff on Friday morning, 5/6.  Winners of the three Regional Playoffs will compete in a Global Competition on Friday afternoon.

A general outline for your presentation is given below (you will be provided with additional guidance in class):

The presentation slides are due by noon on Monday, April 25 at 6:00 pm.  Please do NOT email slides.  They should be posted to Blackboard, directions will be posted. Copies of slides for all presentations will be posted on Blackboard.

Presentation order will be determined randomly.  For all presentations, students will complete an anonymous evaluation/feedback form.  The feedback form will be on-line.  I do consider student comments and input from our TF when choosing the winning team.  However, the choice of the winning team is solely my responsibility.

Team members will have an opportunity to evaluate each other at the end of the course.  Team members who do not meet team responsibilities will receive lower grades.

Peer evaluationforms are available on Blackboard.  I urge you to speak to me during the project work so I can help address group issues and make this a good learning experience.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course

Attendance and Class and Trip Participation (15%)

Attendance will be taken for each class session.  However, attendance alone does NOT constitute participation.  Participation during class is a very important component of the learning process. Students are expected to contribute to class discussions, especially when cases are being analyzed.  If you are hesitant to speak in class, see me and we can discuss ways to help you contribute.

If you must miss a class, please notify me and the TF in advance by email.  I understand that you may need to miss classes for interviews.  However, if you schedule an excessive number of interviews during this class, it will negatively impact your participation grade.

Laptops and cell phones are a disturbance to both students and professors.  All electronic devices must be turned off prior to the start of class.

Participation in scheduled events and programs during the trip to Barcelona is also critical.  For those who have obtained permission to miss the trip to Barcelona, you will be given a make-up assignment.  It is your responsibility to discuss this alternate assignment with me.  

During the trip, you are required to adhere to the Stern Undergraduate Code of Conduct.  Violations are dealt with severely.  


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 

Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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