Home » Course Catalogue » MBA Electives » RSM2011H – International Strategy

RSM2011H – International Strategy

General Information

Applicable Major(s):
(c) = Core, (r) = Recommended

  • Global Management (c)
  • Leadership and Change Management (r)

Instructor Bio

Sergio G. Lazzarini (PhD, 2002, Washington University in St. Louis) is the Chafi Haddad Professor of Management at Insper Institute of Education and Research (Brazil) and currently Visiting Professor at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. He does research on how public and private actors interact and organize their activities to improve economic and social performance. He is founder of Insper Metricis, a center for the study of impact measurement and investing. Sergio has held visiting positions at Harvard University (2010, 2012), University of St Gallen (2009), HEC Paris (2014), Insead (2015), Brandeis (2016), Imperial College (2017), and the University of Utah (2019). In 2014, he published the book Reinventing State Capitalism: Leviathan in Business, Brazil and Beyond (Harvard University Press, with Aldo Musacchio). He has been a consultant to several firms and organizations such as OECD, IDB, and the World Bank, and his research was cited or interviewed by news sources such as The EconomistNew York TimesFinancial TimesForbesBBC, and Bloomberg. He is currently Associate Editor of the Global Strategy Journal.

Target Audience

The course targets students who plan to work for businesses and other organizations that either operate in multiple countries or compete with firms that operate globally. The topics covered in this course are relevant for leadership positions who are formally responsible for an organization’s international strategy as well as operating executives who implement and shape international strategy.


Ideally (but not mandatory) Strategic Management.

Class Schedule

Twelve bi-weekly sessions, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00 to 6:00 PM, from Tuesday, March 8 through Thursday, April 14.  Each session will involve a combination of lecture and discussion, building on your pre-class preparation.

Course Mission

In this course, we will discuss how organizations develop value-creating strategies by operating in the global arena, beyond their original (home) country. Those strategies are at the core of discussions of how to foster trade and foreign investment in multiple countries. Not only multinationals from developing countries have considered emerging markets as potential targets for international alliances and acquisitions; we have also seen an increasing presence of multinationals from emerging markets expanding their activities and capabilities developed in their home countries. Accordingly, the course will scrutinize opportunities, threats, and key success factors in such cross-border expansion activities.

Course Scope

Our primary perspective will be that of firms based in strongly-established market economies (e.g., Europe, North Our primary perspective will be that of firms based in strongly-established market economies (e.g., Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea). We will study how they The course will emphasize how competitive and corporate strategies can leverage resources and capabilities to address threats and opportunities in the global arena. Managers must recognize differences in economic and institutional conditions across origin and target countries in their international expansion strategies. Emerging economies, in particular, are often associated with a host of limitations including weak legal protection, corruption, poor infrastructure, uneven income distribution and health issues. Firms operating in such markets have responded to these challenges in various ways. For instance, informal relationships and connections are widely used to supplant the lack of strong legal enforcement—and, very commonly, as a way to support opaque deals with regulators governments. Concentrated ownership of firms by families and domestic investors through the creation of diversified conglomerates—the so called “business groups”—is also a way to protect investments, secure scarce resources (such as talented labor), and promote cheaper financing for their individual member firms. In addition, even though global integration and trade have long been touted as a way to foster growth and create opportunities for cross-country investment, there are concerns that multinational companies will not pay sufficient attention to the development needs of the target countries and some even claim that open markets and foreign investment thwart the emergence and growth of local firms that could otherwise foster country-level development. Therefore, many countries have also promoted government policies to promote local (domestic) industrial development and have increasingly adopted protectionist policies to create entry barriers and constraints to multinational presence. Several of those targeted countries also face critical challenges in terms of poverty, income inequality, and environment protection, which also raises the question of how multinational action can respond to recent calls for improved ESG (environment, social, and governance) practices. Combining conceptual discussions with case-based applications, we will discuss how to address those complex issues and craft strategies that promote sustained expansion and value creation in cross-border activities.

Evaluation and Grade Distribution

ComponentDue DateWeight
Class ParticipationOngoing20%
Class Write-UpTBD35%
Take Home Final ExamTBD45%

Required Resources

The instructor will provide a set of cases and readings that will be available on the course web site.

Last Updated: 2022-01-28 @ 10:47 am