[Course] Landscape and Challenges of International Business

Courses International

MBA HEC Montréal - INTE60006A.H2021

Thierry Warin https://warin.ca/aboutme.html (HEC Montréal and CIRANO (Canada))https://www.hec.ca/en/profs/thierry.warin.html


This course presents an integrated overview of international business environment and its related issues.The objectives for students are:

  1. To understand the international competitive environment in which firms operate.

  2. To understand the origins, development, and consequences of globalization for economic and financialactivities of nation states and firms.

  3. To analyse national and international policies with regard globalization, trade and growth.

  4. To develop an understanding of the business and economic environment of prominent emerging markets.

  5. To equip students with the theoretical and analytical framework to approach International Business issues for their Master’s thesis or supervised project.

Topics Covered


This course presents an integrated overview of the international business environment and its related issues.As such, there are five key objectives for the course:
- Understand the international competitive environment in which firms operate
- Understand the origins, development, and consequences of globalization for economic and financialactivities of nation states and firms
- Analyze national and international policies with regard to globalization, trade and growth
- Develop an understanding of the business and economic environment of prominent emerging markets
- Provide students with theoretical and analytical international business frameworks, which they maychoose to use in their Master’s thesis or supervised project

Bibliographic Resources


Evaluation Guidelines

Evaluations description

Participation : [15%]

In order to help the professor in his task of grading each student for his or her individual participation, each student is asked to place every week in front of his or her desk, an easily readable name tag. This will facilitate the identification of the participants in the class discussion as well as help the professor learn everyone’s name throughout the term. Evaluation is based on student’s level of preparation before coming to class, the quality of contribution in-class and the frequency of those contributions.

To help assess participation, each class one student will be asked to provide a grade from 0 to 3 for each participant, with the following ranking:
0 = No contribution/Absent
1 = Minor contribution (few interventions/low value)
2 = Major contribution (frequent participation/medium value)
3 = Stellar participation (significantly changed class discussion/helped students think differently about thetopic)

Critical synthesis [15%]

Location : At home
Submission : Electronic
Term : Written
Work Mode : Individual


I am providing a lot of information to describe the requirements of the critical synthesis because in past sessions of this course I have received lots of questions from students about this assignment. The description below is designed to answer as many of your questions as possible and to clarify the expectations for the critical synthesis.

The critical synthesis consists of integrating the literature (both mandatory and complementary readings) for a given session and to provide your own take on the topic, by building on and criticising the ideas/hypothesis/methods included in the papers to extend what we know/don’t know about the topic (more on this below).

It is important to keep in mind that a critical synthesis is not a critique of one paper. It is a review of a series of papers on the same topic that aims to (1) integrate these texts with one another and (2) push your reflection beyond what we know/don’t know based on the readings. It is thus being critical about the topic itself, not one paper in particular.

A critical synthesis represent an appropriate place to discuss a topic from different points of view: for this assignment, it is your job to discern the different perspectives from all the readings listed for a given topic. The critical synthesis is expected to be 6 pages double-space max (Times New Roman, size 12, with all margins set at 2.5cm). The synthesis should be submitted as a PDF file. A maximum of 4 students can write their synthesis for a given session.

Because the objective of this assignment is to develop your skills at critically reading academic papers, I do not expect you to work for more than a week on your synthesis. Although challenging, this is a skill that if you hone should help you for the rest of your career.

The description below is from “SolidEssay.com.” It provides information on what a critical synthesis essay is and what it should include.

About the critical aspect

About the Synthesis

How to write a critical synthesis essay – 10 things you should do

It is pretty hard writing a critical synthesis essay without good preparation. Hence, it is recommended to plan your work well in advance, and also to collect the required information according to the main thesis of the paper.

  1. Speak with your instructor about the topic. Tell him/her about your ideas and working hypothesis. Listen to their advice.

  2. Find an appropriate topic. Be careful because topics which you are unfamiliar with will take you a lot of time (you should be more effective).

  3. Manage your time. Plan how long it will take you to collect information, to write the first draft and to revise it. For a short essay 3 weeks would be enough.

  4. Define precisely your thesis. Remember that the thesis cannot be changed during the writing process. Try to relate the thesis to the topic.

  5. Find reliable sources; i.e., not “opinions” on the forums or newspaper articles written by ignorants.

  6. Be pluralistic. Present several points of view on the topic (at least two, at most five, but this depends on the length of the paper).

  7. Discern facts from opinions. When you refer to facts, always emphasize this.

  8. Present your arguments smoothly, without logical leaps (i.e., arguments should be logically ordered andrelated to each other).

  9. Cite correctly and always refer to the correct title and page (be careful, particularly with the pagenumbers).

  10. Follow only one academic style of reference (MLA, APA, Chicago, and so forth).

The critical synthesis essay does not intend to compare, to describe, or merely to present information. On the contrary, you have to integrate particular elements from each point of view, so that they form a unified conception. This would be an ideal case of critical synthesis. Thus, by following our instructions you willknow more about how to write a critical synthesis essay. However, a process of writing cannot be taughtonly on paper, so you’d better start researching the topic and planning your draft as soon as possible.

Source: [Click here]

Additional information (from me)

Must be submitted via ZoneCours by noon on the Sunday before the session is to be held

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation grid [Click here] (Critical synthesis - Evaluation grid.docx)

Miscellaneous Resources

How to write a synthesis essay [Click here]

Book review/personal reflection [10%]

Location : At home
Submission : Electronic
Term : Written
Work Mode : Individual


NPR on T-shirts (https://apps.npr.org/tshirt/#/title) If you are in need of an additional inspiration on the topic…

Research project (in group) [25%]

Location : At home
Submission : Electronic
Term : Written
Work Mode : Team


Please note that the research projects are subject to peer evaluation. The goal of the peer evaluation is to provide me with information about how the project went. It will also provide me with information as to how well you work in a group, which I can use later on if you ask me about a reference for an employment opportunity. In exceptional cases, the peer evaluation will be used to sanction ateammate who was a free rider on the project (see the peer evaluation file for more details about how the peer evaluation can be used for that purpose).

Evaluation Criteria
Miscellaneous Resources

Final Exam : [35%]

Location: In class
Submission: Electronic
Term: Written
Work Mode: Individual

Miscellaneous Resources

Learning strategy


Not found


This course presents an integrated overview of international business environment and its related issues.

[Deploy some information by clicking on the triangle-shaped pictogram]

Session 1. Introduction [Click here]

In this session, we will explore two critical questions of this course: what landscape and what challenges?
We will also briefly discuss the (not so recent) phenomenon of globalization.

Session 2. Globalization and its implications [Click here]


Session 3.Nations in the global environment [Click here]


Session 4. International Trade: Institutions and Regulations [Click here]

During this session, we take a deep dive into the mechanisms in place to regulate trade between nations. In particular, we look at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In going through the readings, I invite you to think about the following questions: Is the WTO effective at regulating trade between nations? Is the WTO a cause or an effect of globalisation? Why?

Session 5. International Trade: Regional Economic Integration [Click here]

While the WTO provides a framework for trade between nations, it also recognizes regional agreements. In light of this session’s readings, I invite you to think about regional agreements and how they compete/complete the rules set by the WTO, and of their potential effect on multinational enterprises.

Session 6. Financial Integration and Global Governance [Click here]

This session is dedicated to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, to analyze the role of these institutions in facilitating financial integration the global governance of the financial system.

Session 7. Foreign Direct Investments and Multinational Corporations [Click here]

Beyond formal international institutions, multinational enterprises have been a major actor in globalization. Countries have long attempted to attract their investments, while at the same time, protecting their industries. In this session, we revisit the role of multinational enterprises in the world order, and the impact of their investments worldwide.

Session 8. No Formal Class - Presentations for Research Project Proposals [Click here]

Each team has to present the phenomenon they will focus on for their research project along with their research question (and ideas about how to answer it). The presentation should have no more than 5 slides and be no more than 10 minutes. The presentations are not evaluated: they are intended to help your team progress in your project. Presentations will be held in room Nancy in the presence of your professor only. The schedule of presentations will be provided in advance.

Session 9. Competition in a Globalized Word: Impact on Firms and Nations [Click here]

As of this session, we leverage our understanding of the landscape to discuss specific challenges of international business. The challenge of this week is competition and what are the implications of a globalized world for firms on competition. Our focus will be on the airline/aerospace industry.

Session 10. Political Frictions: Corruption, War, and Terrorism [Click here]

The challenge of this session is making sense of issues of corruption, war and terrorism, which we can associate with political frictions in the global marketplace. What are the implications for firms and what role/responsibility do they have with regards to this challenge? How can they overcome these issues?

Session 11. Emerging Markets: Base of the Pyramid, Institutional Voids, and Market-based Solutions to Poverty Alleviation [Click here]

During this session, we focus on emerging markets and less developed markets, and the implications for business.
For a firm, this brings the challenge of evolving in a significantly different environment to seize new opportunities. For some of these countries, it also implies solving issues of poverty alleviation. How do were concile these perspectives?

Session 12. Grand Challenges: Solving the World’s Problems (and Adapting to the Response) [Click here]

In the last session of our seminar, we discuss a number of world problems. How do we address these grand challenges that fall outside of the formal international institutions and of the traditional role of firms? And how should we adapt to the governmental responses to address these problems?

Session 13. Group Presentations [Click here]

Group Presentations


Before the session:

  1. Read this program carefully
  2. Add this page to your favorites: [syllabus].

That’s all !


For attribution, please cite this work as

Warin (2021, Jan. 1). www.warin.ca: [Course] Landscape and Challenges of International Business. Retrieved from https://warin.ca/posts/course-landscape-and-challenges/

BibTeX citation

  author = {Warin, Thierry},
  title = {www.warin.ca: [Course] Landscape and Challenges of International Business},
  url = {https://warin.ca/posts/course-landscape-and-challenges/},
  year = {2021}