March 2017: A summary of my semester 2 elective units

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One of the key questions on my MSc International Business and Management classmates’ lips before Christmas (which already seems a distant past) centred on what units we would each be choosing to study in Semester 2. Alongside the core unit of International Business Strategy we had to choose 3 additional elective units.

Not only was unit content outlined in the handbook important, but there were other things to consider such as the areas of expertise and your relationships with the teaching staff as well as the assessment weightings and how that would enable us to plan our work and deadlines before the Easter break.

Below I’ve provided some insight into the units I chose and how they’ve been going over the last 8 weeks. With these units, it’s important to note that the names might slightly change next year as the course content changes so we can always learn the most relevant topics in relation to International Business – an overall strength of the course I believe.

International Trade Theory, Policy and Practice

One word: GRAPHS. If you like graphs then this unit is for you. If you like graphs and theories, then it’s a match made in heaven. If you like graphs and theories all crammed into a 3 hour lecture – then I can safely say you’re mad (but like a challenge). I have to admit I was a little nervous selecting this unit as we were not taught by Dr. Laura Haar in Semester One. I emailed her before finalising my choice and with hindsight it was definitely the right one. Her approach is brilliantly fast-paced and interactive.

On the content side of things, I personally chose the unit as I was most interested in trade policy, particularly around the plentiful multilateral deals such as NAFTA, TPP and CETA as well as the future of the European Union single market and the effects it could have on international trade patterns. The seemingly never ending onslaught of graphs and theories in the first 5 weeks was a big challenge for me, but thankfully the 30% essay due for submission next week allows you to pick from 7 different pre-defined areas in the lectures.

Multinational Business Finance

Also taught by Dr. Haar, this unit has fewer graphs but the same amount of interaction and visual explanations and applications to help us work. We’ve covered currency, foreign exchange, balance of payments and parity conditions to date, all supported and following the content of an excellent core textbook. I very nearly chose the alternative to Finance – Marketing – as I believed it would be easier to grasp as I was rubbish at maths. However I chose to study at Manchester to challenge myself in unfamiliar areas so I signed up to Finance and my maths has held strong and dare I say it improved! Our 30% essay assignment is due in before Easter too, so it’s a heavy workload before the holidays, but on the positive side it leaves the remaining 2 weeks after Easter to properly start revising for the exams in this and the Trade unit.

Multinational Management

Delivered by Norwegian Dr. Asmund Rygh, it’s a smaller class built around a lot of practical examples and applications which really test your management skills. We’ve looked at the adaptability of multinational companies such as GE, Stella Artois and IKEA and just last week we were busy having an in-class negotiation and debate about the terms of a transatlantic joint venture deal. This unit is 100% coursework in the form of a group report, discussion and presentation alongside an individual assignment due before Semester 2 ends on the 5th May.

 

Finally, as one of the class student reps, I’ve also been squeezing in some communication and collating student feedback from both students in Manchester and those studying Semester 2 abroad on Erasmus exchange. This should bring future MSc International Business and Management students some improvements next year which will hopefully make your time in Manchester even better.

P.S. for those of you that are intrigued, you can check out an introduction video our group made for the core module assessment presentation on Filipino firm Jollibee’s internationalisation here >>

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Will McGlynn

MSc International Business and Management, Class of 2017

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