UCL School of Management

Module Fact Sheet

MSINM005: Business in a Competitive Environment

Taught by
M-level (4th year undergraduate)
None (but some experience with economics desirable)
4th year MSci/MEng students from all departments; Biochemical Engineering
Term 2
Delivery method
2-hour lecture (x 10 weeks) and 1-hour seminar (x 10 weeks)
60% final unseen 3-hour examination, 40% group coursework

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 interactions between the company and wider systems.

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

  • Understand the influence of the macroeconomic picture on company success

  • 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

  • Develop an understanding of strategic interactions between players in the system.

  • Communicate complicated material to a non-specialist with confidence.

  • 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

  • Macroeconomics and the big picture

  • Industrial structure and competition

  • The nature of technology and innovation

  • Competition in High technology industries

  • Public Choice theory and how to deal with governments

  • Dealing with deep uncertainty and change.

Assessment summary

60% awarded on the basis of a 3-hour unseen examination. 40% awarded for group coursework

Essential reading

Economics for Business by David Begg and Damian Ward (5th Ed.) McGraw-Hill Higher Education 2016 (Or any similar alternative) 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

MSINM005 16/17

Last updated Friday, 18 August 2017