UCL School of Management

Module Fact Sheet

MSIN0156: Business in a Competitive Environment (for IMB)


Warning message

This is a past version of this module for MSIN0156 18/19.
Click here for the current version.
Taught by
None (but some experience with economics desirable)
2nd year IMB students only
Term 1/2
Delivery method
2-hour lecture (x 10 weeks) and 1-hour seminar (x 10 weeks)
40% final unseen 2-hour examination, 60% Group assessment (plus individual report of 1,500 words) 
Previous Module Code

Course overview

This course deals with the big picture, the world in which a company, whether profit or not for profit, operates. It provides a flavour of the skills required to read the strategic position of a company, focussing especially on the high technology company centering on the analysis of economic conditions.

Focus is placed on using economics as a way of reading complex, dynamic systems, providing context for technological changes and the growth of key technologies. These are placed in a real world context through a scenario planning exercise requiring long term forecasting and emphasis is placed throughout on being able to communicate complex or technical information to a non-specialist.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the module, students will be able to

  • Perform simple supply and demand analysis of a market, including calculations of elasticities

  • Use industry level models to understand the range of competitive outcomes in an industry

  • Understand the linkage between the industrial environment and the strategies chosen by companies

  • Understand how competitive decisions are made in the presence of rivals

  • Communicate complicated material to a non-specialist

  • Use scenario planning techniques (alongside models from politics, sociology and futurology) to read the long term environment and cope with deep uncertainty.

Topics covered

  • Markets, and their strengths and limitations

  • Industrial structure and technology

  • Competition and remedy for its failure

  • Labour economics and labour market conditions

  • Competition in High technology industries

  • Understanding how markets arrive at decisions over which technology to adopt.

  • Dealing with deep uncertainty and change.

Assessment summary

40% awarded on the basis of a 2-hour unseen examination. 60% awarded for coursework: A group assigned double blind (so that neither assessor nor group knows what topic will be assigned to which group), plus ONE individual piece of approximately 1500 words.

The Group Coursework is broken down into two tasks which will be submitted

  • A short INTERIM analysts report on the state of the art for your topic (GROUP) - 8 pages maximum not including references 15%
  • A final group report looking into future possibilities for your topic area (GROUP ) maximum TBD) This will be a continuation of task one. 35%  

The Individual coursework requires a brief (1500 word) mini case on an area of interest within the overall topic area. It is worth 10% of the final mark.

Essential reading

Foundations of Economics by Andrew Gillespie (4th Ed, Oxford 2016 ISBN-10: 0198739885 ISBN-13: 978-0198739883) The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World by Peter Schwartz John Wiley & Sons; New Ed edition (25 Sep 1997)

Past versions of this module

MSIN0156 18/19

MSIN7002 17/18

MSIN7002 16/17

Last updated Friday, 27 September 2019