Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week for 6 weeks, 1.5 hours / session


Companies today confront an increasing array of choices regarding geographic markets, locations for key activities, ways of organizing international business, and processes for managing across borders. This subject provides students with the evidence, concepts and models for understanding company performance in a global world and the issues facing executives in the early 21st century. The aim of the subject is to prepare students to manage effectively in today’s interconnected world by understanding this changing environment, principles of global strategy, and the relation between global strategy and organization.

The first section of the subject discusses motivations and models for international expansion. After reviewing the concept and impact of globalization on company performance, we look into the motivations for internationalization and how a company exploits its home base or the world for advantage and superior performance. In parallel, we explore the process of internationalization, recognize its many challenges and the specific choices available to management to overcome such challenges, and how these have evolved over time.

The second section of the subject focuses on company-level strategy and related organizational capabilities. First, we examine how firms may shape different global business models. We then consider the choices posed by global integration, local adaptation and worldwide learning and how these choices impact local and global performance. We end with the topic of innovation in multinational companies, in particular by observing the added value of global innovation.


While this course has no formal prerequisites, this particular version of the subject is taught and tailored specificaly to those enrolled in the MIT Sloan Fellows Program. Participants are expected to be able to draw upon and contribute their prior working and managerial experiences in the classroom.


There are two short papers that comprise the individual written assignments for this course. The first paper is due after the first section of the course (Part I: Understanding Internationalization), and the second paper is due after the second section of the course (Part II: Relating Strategy and Organization).

In addition to these papers, students are expected to form groups of 4–5 students to submit group case postings. The case readings form a crucial component of the class, whether referenced in the group case postings or in class discussions. Study the cases as if you were there and then, not here and now. The extra bonus is that you will be training your contextual sensitivity, a crucial skill in international business and in international management.


Individual written assignments 50%
Group case postings 25%
Participation and discussion 25%