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International Business Assignment

International Business Assignment

International Business Assignment


The International Business (IB) module of the Flexible Executive MBA is assessed by an individual assignment only. The assignment comprises an individual written report providing you with the opportunity to critically evaluate an IB-related challenge by applying the concepts and frameworks studied in this module. It is intended to assess your understanding of the IB concepts and your ability to correctly apply IB models and frameworks to real business challenges.

The assignment should focus on a specific IB challenge, which may be an opportunity or a problem that is relevant to your organisation or to an organisation that you know well. You should discuss your choice of IB challenge with the relevant stakeholders in the organisation to ensure your selected topic has suitable depth and scope, and ideally would lead to developing a solution that would contribute to a resolution of a real challenge in the organisation. The outcome should be a report bringing together theory and practice. Within your analysis and discussion you should develop your learning from the module and use concepts and theories to help you analyse and discuss the challenges and develop and justify recommendations.

Purpose of the assignment:-

The IB assignment is designed to:

   develop your ability to comprehend developments in the global business arena as they relate to an organisation’s strategy and operations

  assess your understanding of the key IB concepts and their interlinkages

  test your ability to apply and integrate IB concepts and frameworks to analyse IB issues and develop practical solutions

  facilitate your personal development needs by acquiring the skills and capabilities needed for senior leaders in the global business context

Throughout the assignment your analysis should draw upon appropriate material from the module.

Assignment topic:-

Your approach to the IB assignment should begin with identifying a specific IB challenge with strategic relevance for the organisation and where your analysis and findings will make a real contribution to better, more informed, strategic decision-making. The suggested approach is to identify a potential topic (or selection of topics) at the very start of your study (preferably even before attending the workshop) and to refine your thinking as you progress through the material. Reflect on your identified topic(s) as you read, analyse and discuss the material and the cases in the module.

You could choose one of the following three options in identifying the potential topic for your IB


(A) Focus on a current IB problem or opportunity, conduct the appropriate analysis and develop scenarios as probable solutions.


(B) Focus on a past IB problem or opportunity, conduct a critical analysis of the course of action taken at the time and propose recommendations moving forward.


(C) Focus on a specific industry within a national context, conduct a comprehensive analysis of the factors that attract and/or discourage foreign investment into the industry, and develop options and recommendations outlining how location attractiveness could be enhanced from an industry perspective.

State explicitly in the title of your assignment which option you have selected. If you choose Option (A) or (B), the IB assignment must be based on a real organisation – a strategic business unit or profit/cost centre that has (or could have) either direct linkages with international business context or indirect interdependences with international business developments. If you choose Option (C), the IB assignment should be written from the perspective of a local industry organisation or an investment promotion agency in a specific country. The purpose of the IB assignment is to prepare a report for the senior management team of the organisation addressing suitable topics that may include, but are not limited to, the following:

• global economic developments and their impact

• economic integration processes (EU, ASEAN, NAFTA, etc)

• emerging markets

• cultural issues

• the internationalisation process

• choice of foreign market(s)

• choice of entry mode(s)

• national (local) responsiveness vs economic integration challenge

• strategy/structure fit

• international dimensions of R&D and innovation

• SME internationalisation • global value chains

Although the selected topic, as a focal point of your assignment, would relate to a specific part of the module it is expected that in your analysis and discussion you draw on the wider module content. You should be able to identify the interlinkages with relevant IB concepts and frameworks that would enable an appropriate, comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the challenge, and contribute to informed and well-argued recommendations.

Approach to the International Business assignment:-

We generally recommend that you first consider following Options (A) or (B), which allow you to analyse an opportunity or challenge that is relevant to your organisation, and that you only choose Option (C) if the other Options (A and B) are not viable.

Option (A) and (B):-

Prior to embarking on your IB assignment, following Option (A) or (B), the following guidelines on structuring your assignment should be considered.

• Identify and clarify a specific issue or opportunity with current relevance for the organisation that has a high level of interest from within the organisation, and where your analysis and recommendations would potentially contribute to successful resolution of the challenge.

• Talk to managers at a senior level to ensure that the selected challenge has relevance to the organisation and has sufficient scope and depth for the purpose of this assignment.

• Identify the availability and accessibility of the relevant information that you will need to perform the analysis.

• Discuss, if possible, your initial findings with relevant stakeholders to solicit early feedback and further insights.

• Maintain a written record of your learning experience as you produce the report to reflect on as part of your personal development.

Option (C):-

Prior to embarking on your IB assignment, following Option (C), it is important to consider the following guidelines.

• Specify an industry and a specific country as the focus of your analysis; preferably this should be an industry and a country that you know well.

• Make sure that your selected industry and country are suitable as potential targets for foreign investment; if possible, by engaging directly with senior managers at relevant local companies.

• Identify the availability and accessibility of the relevant information that you will need to perform the analysis.

• Discuss, if possible, your initial findings with relevant stakeholders to solicit early feedback and further insights.

• Maintain a written record of your learning experience as you produce the report to reflect on as part of your personal development.

Assignment format and content:-

The report needs to include the following five elements:

1. Executive summary

2. Introduction

3. Analysis and evaluation

4. Integrated summary and solution options

5. Recommendation and implications

These elements are described in detail below.

1 Executive summary (5% of the marks)

At the front of your assignment you should provide a concise high-level summary, which, in a nutshell, outlines:

• the option selected (A, B or C)

• the core IB challenge and justification for its selection

• the approach taken in its analysis • key analysis findings including the recommendations ultimately derived

• a brief critical reflection on the implications of the recommended option for the organisation

2 Introduction (15% of the marks)

The introduction section of your assignment should provide the necessary background to and context of the selected IB challenge, identify key issues and outline your approach to assessing the issue or the opportunity.

The introduction should set out the context and structure for your assignment including:

• an overview of the organisation and/or department or function in which the problem or opportunity is located, and its business strategy (A, B) or industry context (C)

• your relationship to the organisation/challenge to be discussed (A, B) or your relationship to, or the reason for, focusing on the selected industry (C)

• clear identification of a critical problem or opportunity to be addressed in your assignment, relating to IB, that impacts on the organisation (A, B) or the selected industry (C)

• evident and plausible arguments for why the strategic business challenge selected justifies the effort you will be investing in its investigation

• overview of the relevant context contributing to the problem or opportunity that you intend to analyse showing how the challenge has arisen, why it is important and the impact that it has

• outline of your approach to assessing the issue or the opportunity – identification of the relevant IB concepts, frameworks and models

3 Analysis and evaluation (40% of the marks)

This part of the assignment should focus on conducting a suitable IB analysis of the challenge. The analysis should employ appropriate key frameworks and integrate relevant analytical models and concepts that would provide critical insights into the challenge and ultimately form the basis for developing suitable solution options.

The in-depth analysis of the IB challenge should draw on the wider content of the module, by considering the following:

• models and frameworks that would enable you to identify and analyse the factors related to the challenge, both internal and external • models and frameworks that would provide strategic insights and inform the decision-making

• use of primary and/or secondary data needed for the analysis, as appropriate

• interlinkages between the various concepts, frameworks and models employed

• explicit interpretation of the results of your analysis and formulation of consequent conclusions Knowledge from other modules on the MBA could be leveraged as appropriate to provide further insights but not at the expense or instead of the IB models.

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