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COURSE NAME: "International Business Seminar"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 1:30 PM 2:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisites: Senior Standing and completion of all core courses required for International Business

This heavily case-based capstone course will enable students to integrate and consolidate previous learning and examine in-depth real-life issues of policy, competitive advantage and barriers to trade; regional and global strategy; the challenges and benefits of operating and managing internationally and cross-culturally; and the major ways in which international business is currently changing, with a consideration of the implications for future business graduates.

Right now the world of international business is changing at a rapidly accelerating pace.  This very practically oriented capstone course focuses on the multiple factors driving change – particularly demographic, political, technological, and societal, including a rapidly growing innovative role for artificial intelligence.  It reviews both the opportunities and threats posed by these changes for international business, including changing geo-political power relations, systematic business sector by sector re-definition, creation of new markets – particularly around the bottom of the pyramid, new products and services, and new international business models, including some very interesting non-profit/ profit combinations.  There is a particular emphasis on the changed skills and above all mindset which new entrants to the world of international business will need to acquire to equip them for the world of work in the 2020s.  In this respect the course aims above all to future-proof the graduating class in international business by sending them out with not only the practical skills but also the meta-level mindset dexterity to handle very rapid change in this era of new normals. 


The course focuses, for illustrative purposes, on particular sectors, including heathcare – where the current digitalisation of both healthcare and healthcare research, particularly since 2020 with advances in AI which challenge the achievements of world-class industry professionals – offer the prospect of global rather than regional supply chains and an effective paradigm shift for the sector.


It also involves International Business alumnae and alumni in advice and mentoring, particularly as students prepare their initial ideas about the Capstone project.


Prerequisites: Completion of all Core International Business Courses. 


The course builds on previous course work by providing an opportunity to integrate across various functional areas and by providing a detailed perspective of the world of international business in the 2020s.


Additional foci:


  • Global factors driving change
  • Effects of these changes on international business in terms of industry structure, new competitive dynamics, new skills, altered cultural and leadership requirements, changing business models, and an intriguing re-definition of the boundaries between goods and services. 

Students who complete the course successfully will have shown that they are able to:


LOS 1:  Recognize challenges and opportunities in foreign markets by utilizing and understanding of the characteristics of high-performing organizations by building on the 4 processes that are linked within the management cycle: planning; organizing; leadership; and control.


 LOS 2:  Learn to critically analyze the risk and opportunities presented for businesses that operate in the global arena and develop financial models and strategic proposals to communicate this information for decision-making.


 LOS 3:  Develop interpersonal written, visual and oral communication skills underlying international business that includes sensitivity to foreign cultures.


 LOS 4:  Gain an appreciation of the human diversity in organizations across values and cultures and learn how to effectively operate within an international business context.


LOS 5:  Focus on how to manage cultural interdependence, with a consideration of issues of corporate social responsibility, ethics, and sustainability.

 Additionally students who complete the course successfully should be able to:

  1. Understand the key (often new) drivers of change
  2. Analyse the changing competitive forces of a particular international business sector
  3. Assess the overall refreshed attractiveness of an industry from the perspective of both the existing participants and potential new entrants
  4. Identify key areas where there might be new strategic opportunities
  5. Assess the skills and capabilities of a specific corporation in the field of international business
  6. Deliver a substantial change project (which is the heart of the final Capstone deliverable).

 The course will specifically reinforce core skills in:

-       Advocacy

-       Paradigm shift thinking

-       Co-mentoring and team work

-       Visioning 

-       Innovation

-       Project management

-       Business writing

-       Pitching (in writing as well as orally).

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
Megachange: The World in 2050Franklin Daniel FranklinThe Economist1846685850    Online, or online rent

Active participation and co-mentoring- The class participation grade will reflect preparation, attendance and quality and frequency of active participation, including the ability (which will be systematically developed during the course) to positively critique and co-mentor other students’ work. - Class preparation will require students to read all the assigned material and to explore the guiding questions provided. - Class participation will help students understand the material better and build confidence in public speaking. In each class, one or two students will make a presentation of the material s/he prepared, but all students are encouraged to participate in almost every class at least once and if possible more than once, actively engaging in the debate. - The instructor may also indicate university open lectures that are relevant to the course; students are expected to attend such lectures (unless there is a scheduling clash with another course) as part of their class participation activities. - Assignments and deadlines will be posted on Moodle. Students are required to sign up and keep up to date with all Moodle postings for the course. 20%
Student weekly presentationsStudents will be assigned weekly presentation topics by the instructor directly related to the syllabus, associated readings, and preparation for the final project. These presentations will receive direct feedback in class, followed by subsequent written feedback. Due consideration will be given in feedback to all five LOS, but especially LOS 3: Develop interpersonal written, visual and oral communication skills underlying international business that includes sensitivity to foreign cultures.30
Final Capstone ProjectYour ultimate document for submission for assessment will have six parts: 1. A title page – with your name(s), course identification, date of submission, and (of course) title for your project. 2. A contextual section (maximum of 2,000 words): which sets out the overall global context within which your project is located and anchored. This section will be where you show your learning from the course about how the world is changing and will have changed by 2030 – demographically, environmentally, technologically, ... One of the things you might want to include in this section is a mental map. 3. Your ‘pitch’ (maximum of 3,000 words) – see below for a detailed explanation of what is required. 4. A short reflective section (maximum of 1.000 words) on learning outcomes - which sets out what you have been able to learn from the capstone which you believe will be relevant to the world of international business as it changes and develops over the next ten years, particularly in the years post the virus. 5. A bibliography, using a JCU approved style. 6. For joint projects an account of the division of ideas and labour. The pitch The 'pitch' is the centre-piece of the final deliverable of this capstone course. It will take the form of a proposal/ pitch to the CEO of one of the tech giants (Amazon, Alphabet, …). Requirement You are required to undertake extensive, guided research and write a proposal of up to 3,000 words. Your audience for this report is Jeff Bezos who heads up Amazon, or Sundar Pichai, the new CEO of Alphabet, or ... any other transnational technology giant. You may work on and deliver this proposal solo or in a pair. Your pitch may, for example, identify an important [important is not necessarily the same as huge] new investment opportunity for Amazon, Alphabet, ... one with the potential to become a new company. Your creative ideas will exploit one or more disruptive technologies globally, or at least internationally, in a way that will be commercially viable whilst also making an important contribution to human happiness. The timescale is five (up to a maximum of ten) years from May 2021. 50%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

This heavily case-based capstone course will enable students to integrate and consolidate previous learning and examine in-depth real-life issues of policy, competitive advantage and barriers to trade; regional and global strategy; the challenges and benefits of operating and managing internationally and cross-culturally; and the major ways in which international business is currently changing, with a consideration of the implications for future business graduates.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


This table is based on weeks.  It is indicative, and the final, definitive schedule will be posted on Moodle before the beginning of the semester.




Readings/ Activities


Introduction to the major drivers of change relevant to a post-pandemic world of international business

Completion in class of exercise assigned and prepared before course commencement: to brainstorm key drivers of IB change in the 2020s


Global population growth and re-distribution and implications for international business.Introduction to mental mapping techniques

Chapter 1 of Megachange/ student presentation on global demographic change and the likely implications for international business


Global health shifts and potential opportunities – as related directly and indirectly to international business.In-depth review of scenario planning

Chapter 2 of Megachange/ Student presentation on global and regional health challenges and solutions


Gender differences across the world, and direct, positive implications for international business of addressing current inequalities

Chapter 3 of Megachange plus selected McKinsey Global Institute articles/ Student presentation on gender and IB


Wealth and income distribution and global change potential for IB.The bottom of the pyramid

Chapter 13/ Student presentation on realigning income distribution


The changing global role of tech giants and innovation.A holistic approach to the future of international business

Selected ‘breaking news’ articles – typically involving paradigm shifts in key IB sectors because of breakthrough AI advances, as in Deep Mind/ Student presentations


Global warming – implications, threats and potential paybacks for IB, particularly for trade patterns

Chapter 7/ Student presentations


The potential levelling of economies and direct implications for trade patterns, sector reforms, and innovation in the workplace

Chapter 13 of Megachange and selected extracts from the International Monetary Fund reports, the World Bank research, together with extracts from Thomas Piketty, and Joseph Stiglitz’sThe Price of Inequality


The world not in 2050, but 2025 and 2030

Carefully selected real-time topical articles around the impact of current innovations on international business – chosen to match precisely the emerging student pitch ideas


Scoping major project for a designated commercial client

Initial elevator pitches, critiqued and mentored by alumnae/ alumni


Designing and presenting project to a major tech giant

All students present their pitches, with alumnae/ alumni feedback


Finalisation of project, and incorporation into wider 6,000 word capstone deliverable