2008 MBA/ENG 290.2 - International Competition in Technology
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MBA/ENG 290.2 2008

International Competition in High Technology 
Class Syllabus

Revision Date: September 16th 2008 

Course Contents and Objectives 
Class Format and Preparation 
Team Presentation 
Attendance and Feedback 
Required and Recommended Reading 
Web Resources 

  1. Introduction
  2. Competitive Advantage of Nations:  Nokia and Finland
  3. Competitive Advantage of Nations:  Singapore, Inc.
  4. Competitive Advantage of Nations:  China Outsourcing
  5. Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, and Lenovo Value Chain
  6. Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, and Lenovo Value Chain (cont.)
  7. Value Chain: Philips vs. Matsushita
  8. Value Chain: Samsung Semiconductor
  9. Guest Lecture – TBD
  10. Guest Lecture –  TBD      Value Chain:  Video Drivers in Consumer Electronics:  Broadcast vs. Cable vs. Telecom vs. Internet Video
  11. Guest Lecture – TBD
  12. Disruptive Technology and Crossing the Chasm
  13. Competitive Advantage of Nations:  Silicon Valley Ecosystem
  14. Wrap up Class

Course contents and objectives

Please note:  Due to the changes in the market environment and the nature of the class, the course syllabus is subject to major changes and should only be considered a draft and work in progress. 

The rise and fall of the high-technology industries reflect broad changes in markets, production organization, and business models, as well as the operation of government policies. These broader changes, which include but go well beyond the Internet revolution itself, suggest that the industrial economy is being fundamentally transformed by the diffusion of innovations in technology and business models across the industrial and industrializing economies. At the same time, these changes cannot be understood without a deeper examination of the factors that created competitive advantage at the national level in many of these industries during the previous three decades. This course explores the broad changes in "who is winning, who is losing, and why" in global markets for high-technology goods ranging from semiconductors to internet services to clean tech.

This course seeks to make sense of the decline and recovery of U.S. high-technology industries, the evolution of innovation and technology strategies and policies in Asia and Europe, the historic and current roles of governments in shaping markets for high-technology goods, and the impact on business strategies of recent developments in early-stage capital markets. Our general approach views technological innovation and competition as dynamic processes that reflect choices and policies made by firms and governments. Modern technologies develop in markets that are international in scope, often imperfectly competitive, and subject to influence by a variety of economic and political stakeholders. We will use an eclectic mix of practical, historical, and theoretical perspectives throughout the course in examining these issues. From time to time, we will be joined by venture capitalists, corporate executives, and technologists engaged in global high-technology markets for discussion of these issues.

Class Format and Preparation

The course will use a mix of case discussions, lectures and guest speakers from leading high tech companies, global corporations, and venture capital firms.

The expectation is that the cases and reading materials will be fully prepared for each session. Students are encouraged to Google outside sources to learn more about the company, case, outcomes and issues.

The format of the case discussions will be as follows:

Team Presentation

One pre-assigned team will have the opportunity to open the discussion of the case. Each case opening should consist of:

  1. Slides summarizing a brief analysis of the situation, including what the numbers (if any) tell us.
  2. The team's recommendations for the key decisions and answers to questions posted.

The total length of the case opening should be no more than 20 minutes. If your team makes use of overhead slides or other presentation material, you should limit yourself to just a few items. Case openings should emphasize the frameworks and models covered in class or elsewhere. You should submit one copy of slides and other presentation materials at the start of your session. Please note that everyone on the team does not have to present - it is usually recommended to pick one spokesman. Within 24 hours of the end of the class, the assigned team should post on the class wiki:

  1. PowerPoint with Appendix of developed but unused slides.
  2. Hotlinks to any websites used for preparation
  3. References to any written materials used for preparation
  4. A Wall Street Industry Report for the company described in the case.

Class participation is strongly encouraged. You are invited to highlight insightful linkages between class material and your past experience as a professional and a global observer, to raise challenging questions and issues related to topics in global competition and strategies being reviewed, and to participate actively in discussion of cases and global trends. 
The instructor will also use a call list and any student may be called on at anytime. If for some special reason a student is not so ready for one class, please inform the instructor prior to class. Also, please use your name card throughout the semester. 
Many classes will also have an international business executive guest speaker that will comment on the class analysis of the case as well as provide a forum for practical questions and answers. Due to speaker availability, session topics may be changed as the semester progresses.

Attendance and Feedback

Attendance is expected and unexcused absences will affect course grade. Excused absences are those officially sanctioned by the school’s academic regulations. In all cases of absence, professional conduct and courtesy dictate that the instructor be informed prior to class. Failure to do so will cause consternation and disappointment.

As "International Trade and Competition in High Technology" is a broad topic, the instructor will do his best to adapt the course based on current events and student feedback. As a result, mandatory email questionnaires will be occasionally be sent out following a class with the expectation of responses by Tuesday at 9am. This questionnaire is not expected to take more than 5-10 minutes to complete, but timely submissions will count towards your final course grade.


Course grades will be based on both team activities (33%), individual team activities (33%) and individual activities (33%). Team activities will be decided primarily by assigned case openings and team member feedback on other team members. Individual activities will consist of class participation, email questionnaire responses, and any other extra credit projects (which can also be done with other students).

Extra credit projects will consist of either research questions assigned during class and/or projects approved by the professor.

Required and Recommended Reading

Required cases and articles will be published and purchased through Study.Net or referenced on the web.  In addition, there are a number of recommended books to be referenced for use in cases.

The Competitive Advantage of Nations by Michael E. Porter

Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado, and The Gorilla Game by Geoffrey A. Moore

The Innovator's Solution by Clayton Christensen

Three Billion New Capitalists by Clyde Prestowitz

   The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Web Resources

The following websites contain information that will be used throughout the class.  

   www.professorwu.com - General course information, class wiki

   www.study.net - Contains required cases and articles  

http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/webusers.htm - EDGAR database containing current and archived public company SEC filings

Class Schedule

  1. Introduction


  1. Competitive Advantage of Nations:  Nokia and Finland

      Assignment - The Competitive Advantage of Nations