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RSM2018H – Strategy in Emerging Markets

General Information


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

  • Global Management (c)
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship (c)


Will Mitchell is the Anthony S. Fell Professor of New Technologies and Commercialization at U of T, and a professor of strategic management at Rotman. Will is a faculty associate of Rotman’s Centre for Health Sector Strategy. He is a board member of Neuland Laboratories, Ltd., based in Hyderabad. Will studies business dynamics in developed and emerging markets, investigating how businesses change as their competitive environments change and, in turn, how the business changes contribute to ongoing corporate and social success or failure. He teaches courses in business dynamics, emerging market strategy, entrepreneurship, and health sector management in business programmes throughout the world.

Target Audience

The course is relevant for students who plan to work for or compete with businesses that operate in emerging markets, as well as for students who plan to work as consultants in emerging market contexts. We will examine businesses from the perspective of firms based in emerging markets. In turn, the concepts in the course will be relevant for students who manage such businesses as they build on their home bases to expand around the world, as well as for students who will manage businesses that compete with emerging market firms, whether in Canada or other home markets or in global markets. The core point, from whichever perspective, is to understand the dynamic nature of competitive strategy in contemporary emerging markets.


Eight evening (online) sessions.

Course Mission

The course focuses on strategies that firms based in emerging market economies around the world are adopting in order to compete in their home markets and, increasingly, in regional and global markets beyond their boundaries. By emerging market economies, I mean countries that have established a moderate degree of market-based infrastructure such as labour markets, legal transparency, capital markets, regulatory regimes, transparent governance, and physical infrastructure. These markets – ranging from the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, to myriad countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East – are now the most dynamic economies in the world. Quite simply, this is where the growth is.

Firms based in these countries are adopting strategies that partly reflect what we have come to think of as traditional business strategy, but also incorporate important elements of strategy that arise from the distinct conditions of the emerging market context in general and of their home countries in particular. The course explores similarities and key differences of business strategy in these emerging market environments.

Course Scope

We will explore multiple factors that create differences in both kind and intensity of strategies in emerging markets. Four dominant issues arise at the centre of the factors: Dynamic competitive advantage, complex management of resources, inherent uncertainty, and political strategy. In turn, these issues lead to a range of questions involving value chain positioning, supply chains and human resources, cost structure pressures, business model innovation, and other dimensions of strategy. We will explore how firms based in emerging markets around the world have developed strategies to deal with these issues, sometimes successfully, other times struggling to compete effectively at home and abroad.

In order to capture the pragmatic, action-oriented nature of strategic management, I teach this course through the case method, supplemented with readings, lectures, and discussions. Our objective is for you to develop your personal synthesis and approaches for identifying and solving the key problems that you face as business managers.

Evaluation and Grade Distribution

Class Prep Assignments10%
Class Participation20%
Learning Journal30%
Term Paper (Group or Individual)40%

Required Resources

  • I will provide a course pack consisting of cases about firms based in emerging markets throughout the world, as well as a set of supplemental readings about how to adapt and transform the general concepts of strategy to these settings.
  • In addition, I will provide data to help compare and contrast the institutional and strategic development of the market environment in different countries.

Last Updated: 2021-04-19 @ 3:53 pm