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Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS)

International Business Strategy

Unit value:


This module aims to provide frameworks, techniques and examples to help you participate successfully in the exciting and risky world of international business. You will look at the relationship between globalising and local pressures, and how the strategic plans of multi-national companies are implemented in their foreign subsidiaries and in joint ventures.

Your study of international business strategy in this module is based mainly on case studies of a wide variety of businesses – from Carrefour, a European-based retailer, to Alibaba.com, a China-based web-centred intermediary for manufacturers, from Amazon, an on-line retailer, to DaimlerChrysler a cross-border automobile manufacturer, from Vestel, a manufacturer exporting from one location, to Dell, a computer manufacturer operating globally. Some of the businesses you will study are successful, some have made big mistakes, others are unsure about their future success. The exposure to a variety of degrees of success will help you to assess strategic options in your own career.

The approach of this module is not technical: you will be introduced, for example, to the reasons for and basis of currency hedging in cash management, but will not go into the mathematical calculations required to implement successful hedging.


Study Guide

You will receive a looseleaf binder containing eight units. The units are carefully structured to provide the main teaching, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the further assigned readings. The unit files are also available to download from the Virtual Learning Environment.


Hill, Charles W.L. (2010) International Business - Competing in the Global Marketplace, Eighth Edition, Revised, McGraw-Hill Education.


You will receive a compilation of further readings: recently published articles or seminal writings which augment and illustrate the main text.

Case Studies

You will also receive two volumes of Case Studies, providing examples of a variety of multi-national businesses.

Virtual Learning Environment

You will have access to the VLE, which is a web-accessed study centre. Via the VLE, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the module using discussion forums. The VLE also provides access to the module Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

When you have completed your study of this module, you will be able to:

  • analyse the principles underlying decisions to invest in countries other than the home base
  • discuss the basics of business strategies of cost advantage and differentiation
  • explain the analysis behind decisions about where to locate production operations
  • explain some of the reasons why marketing and pricing strategies can succeed and fail according to the conditions in different countries
  • identify the variety of structural arrangements available to the international business
  • analyse the options for dealing with currency risk in an international project or business
  • analyse the elements that make a location suitable for investment projects
  • list and define the types of political risk involved in establishing a business in another country

Scope and syllabus

Course Units
Unit 1: International Investment
  • 1.1 The Economics of International Investment
  • 1.2 International Investment
  • 1.3 Mergers and Acquisitions
  • 1.4 Conclusions
Unit 2: Choice of Entry Strategy
  • 2.1 Strategy Basics - Cost and Value
  • 2.2 International Strategy
  • 2.3 Entry Strategy
  • 2.4 Case Studies
  • 2.5 Feedback on Case Studies
  • 2.6 Summary
Unit 3: International Production and Sourcing
  • 3.1 Economic Criteria
  • 3.2 Beyond Offshoring
  • 3.3 Case Studies
  • 3.4 Managing the Global Supply Chain
  • 3.5 Feedback on Case Studies
  • 3.6 Summary
Unit 4: International Marketing
  • 4.1 Marketing Mix
  • 4.2 Global Marketing
  • 4.3 Case Studies
  • 4.4 Feedback on Case Studies
  • 4.5 Summary
Unit 5: International Organisation
  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Organisational Architecture
  • 5.3 Strategy and Architecture
  • 5.4 Case Studies
  • 5.5 Feedback on Case Studies
  • 5.6 A Successful Example - Siemens
  • 5.7 Summary
Unit 6: Financial Management in the International Business
  • 6.1 Investment Decisions
  • 6.2 Financing Decisions
  • 6.3 Money Management
  • 6.4 Managing Foreign Exchange Risk
  • 6.5 Case Studies
  • 6.6 Feedback on the Case Studies
  • 6.7 Summary
Unit 7: Assessing Country Competitiveness
  • 7.1 Determinants of National Competitive Advantage
  • 7.2 Company Strategy
  • 7.3 Case Studies
  • 7.4 Feedback on the Case Studies
  • 7.5 Conclusions
  • 7.6 Summary
Unit 8: Assessing Country Risk
  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 What is Political Risk?
  • 8.3 Country Risk
  • 8.4 A Strategic Perspective
  • 8.5 Summary
  • 8.6 The Examination

Method of assessment

Students are individually assigned an academic tutor for the duration of the module, with whom you can discuss academic queries at regular intervals during the study session.

You are required to complete two Assignments for this module, which will be marked by your tutor. Assignments are each worth 15% of your total mark. You will be expected to submit your first assignment by the Tuesday of Week 5, and the second assignment at the end of the module, on the Tuesday after Week 8. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. In addition, queries and problems can be answered through the Virtual Learning Environment.

You will also sit a three-hour examination on a specified date in October, worth 70% of your total mark. An up-to-date timetable of examinations is published on the website in April each year.