Course 2021-2022 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 6 - 7 - 99
IM (6 credits - I sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/12)
Course Director:

Classes: 6 (I sem.) - 7 (I sem.) - 99 (I sem.)

Mission & Content Summary


Capabilities to act successfully in international environments are increasingly linked to the achievement of global visions and to a deep understanding of complexity. Geopolitical events shape the environment in which companies operate, and in recent years the world has looked an increasingly uncertain place for international managers. This course aims to provide the necessary skills in this respect through a critical analysis of the role and behavior of corporations and governments in the global market. The first part of the course lays the foundations of understanding the main dynamics with regard to geopolitics and international business behavior, and their interaction. After a theoretical introduction, the course addresses a wide range of issues related to geopolitics and international business, and trains students through a vast array of case studies and role playings taken from different historical, institutional, and geographical contexts, within the frameworks of globalization and de-globalization. The second part of the course explores the opportunities and challenges associated with doing business in different parts of the world today, by exploring each continent through the use of both interviews with academics, entrepreneurs and managers, and team assignments on specific nations prepared by students and presented in class.




Geopolitics and international business

  • Some basic concepts: video pills
  • Globalization and deglobalization
  • Multinational companies in the global economy: theories, impact and evolution
  • Multinationals and risk
  • Principles of geopolitics
  • Geopolitics and international business
  • Geopolitical expansionism as an opportunity for global companies: the BRI
  • Practicing with deglobalization - game I
  • Practicing with deglobalization - game II
  • Dealing with geopolitical risk


  • Making sense of a complex world
  • Doing Business in...
  • Doing Business in Africa
  • Doing Business in America
  • Doing Business in Asia
  • Doing Business in Europe
  • Doing Business in Oceania

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Know relevant global political and economic historical facts that have substantially contributed to shaping the present context.
  • Contextualize the variety of entrepreneurial and corporate forms that emerged in the long run in response to changing geopolitical dynamics, institutions, and technology. 


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Identify the “macro” phenomena (globalization, economic growth and development, leadership of the advanced countries, and so on) that influence “micro” behaviors (companies’ strategies, organizational forms, and so on).

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Online lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


This course is structured as a blended learning format. Times and modes of learning integrate the systematic use of face-to-face and online resources and tools. The usual course schedule is flipped by assigning lectures and online videos to be viewed at home, and by tackling engaging problems in face-to-face classroom situations.


Online resources are the main point of reference for study materials. These include synchronous video lectures and presentations of team assignments, video pills recorded by Bocconi’s professors to remind students of some basic concepts of economic and management theory; recorded guest talks and interviews to give students interesting insights from experts from the field in different parts of the world.

Two individual online assignments on the first part of the course aim to test students' knowledge especially focusing on information of value in allowing them to work effectively on their team assignments.

Two online team assignments, on the first and the second part of the course, aim to teach decision making skills in complex environments.


In-class lessons, on the other hand, are done through the discussion of case studies and role-playing games (in the first part of the course).

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)


The final grade is the sum of the following partial grades:


a)    Exam: up to 15 points, divided as follows: 

·      2 T/F questions (with motivation) up to 4 points

·      3 multiple choice questions up to 3 points

·      1 open question up to 4 points

·      1 article/table/graph to comment on up to 4 points

b)    Individual assignments: up to 2 points (max 1 point each homework)

c)    Teamwork 1 (Doing business in…): up to 8 points

d)    Teamwork 2 (Geopolitical risk): up to 6 points


The status of attending students is preserved only in the following exam sessions: December 2021 (exchange students), January 2022, February 2022, September 2022. The status will expire in the following academic year.


Students who are not included in the work teams are considered to be non-attending students.

Students who don’t attend the course must declare their status in terms of being not-attending students by sending an email to Veronica Binda ( and Benedetta Crivelli ( by September 15th. It is fundamental that students who don’t aim to attend the course declare so in time, since they won’t be included in the work teams.


For non-attending students, the final grade is the sum of the following partial grades:

a) Exam: up to 15 points, divided as follows:

  • 2 T/F questions (with motivation) up to 4 points
  • 3 multiple choice questions up to 3 points
  • 1 open question up to 4 points
  • 1 article/table/graph to comment on up to 4 points

b) Individual assignment on the topic “Geopolitical risk”: up to 6 points

c) 20 page-paper on the topic “Doing business in… (a specific country): up to 6 points

d) 20 minutes PowerPoint-based presentation on one case of a multinational company which was/is successful in that country, and one case of a multinational company which was/is unsuccessful: up to 4 points.

Teaching materials


  • Cases and class material available on Blackboard, including video lectures and interviews, case studies, role-playing games, and slides.
  • Cases and articles available at Course Reserve:

◦       Braz Baracuhy, “Geopolitical Risks and the International Business”, The Journal of Political Risk, posted June 2, 2016;

◦       "Has covid-19 killed globalisation?" , The Economist;

◦       Geoffrey Jones and Adrian Brown, “Thomas J. Watson, IBM and Nazi Germany” (HBS case, 9-807-133);

◦       Geoffrey Jones, "Globalization", in The Oxford Handbook of Business History, edited by G. Jones and J. Zeitlin (2008): 141-167;

◦       Mira Wilkins, “US Business in Europe: An American Perspective”, in Hubert Bonin and Ferry de Goey, eds., American Firms in Europe, 1880-1980: Strategy, Identity, Perception and Performance, Geneva: Librairie Droz, pp. 35-67, 2009.

Last change 07/08/2021 15:20