trading environment
Part-Time MBA Program Module, February/March 2009

This MBA module introduces the international trading environment. The objective is to gain an understanding of the forces that determine the pattern of trade (who exports what to whom?) and of the actions governments and firms may take to alter them. This MBA module focuses on exporting and importing, as well as basic aspects of international finance.
International trade is about location advantages and the specialization in production, thus exploiting country differences in productivity, factor endowment, and production scale. We will first look at international trade from the perspective of economic theory, and then proceed to the formulation of business strategy by identifying the specific opportunities and risks created by the international trading environment. Michael Porter's model of competitiveness in the international business environment provides a unifying perspective on these issues. This module also explores how location advantages may be offset by higher transaction costs or location-specific risks. In addition to the determinants of international trade, this module also covers basic aspects of exchange rate determination and international finance, as well as basic principles of international trade law.
As the international trading environment is characterized by a significant degree of government involvement through trade law and trade policy, we will identify the instruments of government interference and assess their impact on the international business. While the last 40 years have seen an enormous increase in trading opportunities due to reductions in tariffs and non-tariff barriers, there remain many obstacles.

Course Outline and Syllabus [PDF]