Course 2019-2020 a.y.


Department of Management and Technology

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 13
BESS-CLES (7 credits - I sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 13 (I sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Mission & Content Summary


The course provides a comprehensive introduction to the economics and management of business firms. After an overview of the main theories of the firm, the course equips students with the main analytical tools used in managerial accounting. Then, the course provides a comprehensive analysis of corporate strategic decisions. The course blends theoretical and analytical approaches with real-life insights and applications from the business sector. Students are encouraged to take an active part in the learning process. The educational objectives of the course are the following: 1. Provide students with knowledge about the role and functioning of business firms in modern economic systems; 2. Gain knowledge on the main theoretical and analytical tools required for the economic analysis of firms' activities, and learn how to use them in practical situations; 3. Provide a comprehensive overview to the wide range of firms' strategic decisions.


  • The structure and governance of firms.
  • Theories of the firm: stakeholders and shareholders.
  • Agency and corporate governance mechanisms.
  • Learning to read financial statements (income statement and balance sheet). 
  • Measuring performance through financial ratios.
  • Strategic analysis and managerial decisions.
  • Economies of scale and production capacity.
  • Economies of scope and diversification decisions.
  • Vertical integration.
  • The competitive environment: market structures and industries.
  • Creating and sustaining the competitive advantage.
  • Organizations and values.
  • Organizational structures.
  • Leaders and top management teams.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Know about the role and functioning of business firms in modern economic systems.
  • Discern the most relevant tools in management accounting.
  • Understand the economic rationales behind a wide array of corporate strategic decisions.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Apply the theoretical notions of management to the analysis of practical business cases.
  • Assess the financial condition of firms (esp. performance and capital structure) by using analytical tools and methods from management accounting.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)


  • Face-to-face lectures.
  • In-class numerical exercises.
  • Case-study discussions.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  x x


  • In order to evaluate the acquisition of the intended learning outcomes, students are assessed based on a written exam (100% of the final grade) consisting of open questions to assess students’ knowledge on the roles and functioning of the business firm, and their ability to critically evaluate strategic decisions (i.e. understand the pros and cons of each strategy and the managerial tradeoffs at play).
  • In order to specifically verify the ability of students to apply the theoretical notions of the course to a practical situation, the exam is also include references to the business cases studied in class.
  • Moreover, in order to assess the ability of students to use the analytical tools and methods from management accounting, the exam contains a set of numerical exercises where students are asked to reconstruct the main financial documents, compute indexes of performance and capital structure, and provide qualitative comments to the results obtained.
  • Students can take a partial written exam, and another partial exam at the end of the course. In this case, each of the two written partial exams is weighted 50%. Alternatively, students can take a general written exam that accounts for 100% of the final grade. 

Non-attending students: the assessment of non-attending students is based on either two equally-weighted partial written exams or one general written exam with the same contents of those regarding attending students. 

Teaching materials


  • Besanko D., Dranove D., Shanley M., Schaefer S. “Economics of Strategy”. Wiley, 2016.
  • C. WALSH, Key Management Ratios, Prentice Hall, 2006.
  • Case studies from the Harvard Business School Case Library.
Last change 01/06/2019 08:48