Course Syllabus

European Business Strategy: Case Studies (Section A)

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European Business Strategy: Case Studies, Core Course

Semester & Location:

Fall 2018 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Core Course Study Tours:

Western Denmark & Berlin/Prague 

Major Disciplines:

Business, Management

Faculty Members:

Niels Hald

Program Director:

Susanne Gaul Hovmand -

Program Coordinator:

Adeline Reiser -

Program Assistant:

Ali Cohen -
Time & Place:

Mondays & Thursdays, 08.30 - 09.50 - V23-201


A one-year sequence of courses in micro and macroeconomics.

Course Description:

European Business Strategy will be studied through intensive lectures and case-studies of European companies. The focus is on the complex patchwork making up the macro-environment under which European companies operate and on the business strategies implemented by some of these companies. This includes a closer look at (i) the business impact of policies and regulations at the EU level, as well as at the national level; (ii) the similarities and differences between European countries in terms of business environment; and (iii) the specific business models and strategies of local and global companies operating in these various European contexts. As part of this course, a comprehensive project for Carlsberg (fast moving consumer goods, beverages) will be developed and presented to a senior industry professional. Furthermore, the European airline industry and European car industry will be analyzed as a case example. 

Learning objectives:

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the European business environment using multiple case studies as examples
  • Identify key issues facing European business today, including how European business are influenced by:
    • The Single European Market and the current level of European economic integration
    • EU institutions and decision-making
    • Policies and regulations
    • Cross-cultural challenges
  • Analyze business models and strategies of European companies as well as their responses to changes in Europe’s evolving business environment
  • Display a thorough understanding of the fast moving consumer industries and airline industry in Europe
  • Apply critical thinking (pro/con) in analyzing empirical/corporate information
  • Engage in group projects in a structured and efficient manner

Required Text:

Doing Business in Europe.  Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2008. Suder, Gabriele

Course overview:

  • Sponsor project: The main case project for this course is developed in collaboration with the Carlsberg Brewery. The purpose of the project is to address some of the challenges for the beverage industry (fast moving consumer goods industry), to suggest possible strategic recommendations, and to work directly with a Danish business. You will work on this sponsor project as part of a team. The details of the project will be disclosed in the beginning of the semester.
  • Study Tour: On our study tours in Copenhagen and to Western Denmark and to Berlin and Prague we will visit companies and trade organizations and analyze their specific business cases. On study tours, insights will also be gathered for the sponsor project. Also, we will use the study tours to collect insight into the business environment in Germany and the Czech Republic.
  • Class room sessions: In class we will focus on establishing a common theoretical framework that we will use to analyze European industries and business cases. We will study the European business environment in details. This includes the EU integration process, institutional players and decision-making, and the development of a single European market. Furthermore we will touch upon competition and consumer policy as well as CSR in a European context. This information serves as a basis for understanding the conditions under which European businesses operate.

Instructor: Niels Hald                        

Cand.polit. (Economics, University of Copenhagen, 1979). EU-Commission’s course for diplomats (1983), British Foreign Office course for diplomats (1984).

Head of section, Ministry of Agriculture, 1979;  Head of section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1980-83; Member of the Danish delegation to the UN General Assembly, 1981-82; First Secretary of Embassy, Permanent Representation of Denmark to the EEC, Negotiator and committee-chairman on ECC external relations, 1985-88; Coordinator of external economic and trade relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1988-89; Director EC and Government relations, Scandinavian Airlines Systems, SAS, 1989; Corporate Secretary, SAS, 1990-92; Counselor of Embassy, Deputy to the Ambassador, Permanent Representation of Denmark to the EU, 1992-96; Secretary General and CEO, The Danish Brewers Association and The Danish Soft Drink Association (from 1996), President of the Beer and Society Committees, Brewers of Europe, Brussels; Member of the board of The Greater Copenhagen Light Rail Company. Several board memberships. With DIS in 1988-92 and again from 2002.

Grade Components:

Written assignment is a 4-page (double-spaced, 300 words each) industry analysis of one of the companies/trade organizations visited on field studies during the long or study tour. Analysis should be based on company presentations and your own research. Late papers are not accepted. The assignment is to be handed in to the instructor in hard copy no later than on Monday, November 5. This assignment is worth 25 points toward the final grade.

Midterm Exam is a closed-book exam held in class on Thursday, October 4. The exam will cover all lectures, guest lectures, and obligatory readings aiming at the European macro-environment for business. The exam will assess your understanding of the European business environment and your ability to apply this knowledge in analyzing European companies. The midterm exam is worth 25 points toward the final grade.

Sponsor project is a team assignment developed for Carlsberg. The projects are introduced by Carlsberg on Friday, September 14 and worked on throughout the course. The purpose is to uncover the challenges and to propose strategic recommendations to Carlsberg. The project will be evaluated based on a milestone and a final presentation. The presentations should be in Power Point. The presentation is worth a total of 30 points towards the final grade. The Semi-finale presentation will take place on Monday, November 26. One project will be selected for special and final presentation Wednesday, December 5. The project is a team exercise that will require good teamwork and joint research. If there is much difference in the contribution of individual team members, grades will be differentiated.

Engagement: This class requires a high level of motivation and active participation in class and during the study tour. Attendance is mandatory. To get a good engagement grade the following must be done:

  • Active and voluntary participation in class discussions
  • Having prepared properly for every class, i.e. doing all the required reading and research
  • Being able to address the readings critically during class, thus displaying a good understanding of the subject matter
  • Being analytical and concise in oral interventions, i.e. backing up arguments by facts and references rather than “feeling this or that” – Please note that monopolizing the floor with fluffy, unstructured and redundant monologues will NOT be seen as a positive contribution.
  • Being able to collaborate well with your assigned team and delivering elaborate and analytical presentations (sponsor project and student presentations)

If you are unable to attend class, you must notify your instructor in advance and receive approval for an excused absence. If participation is uncomfortable for you, please discuss this problem with the faculty early in the course so that we can identify approaches to increase your class contribution and comfort.

We allow computers and iPhones in class PURELY for note-taking purposes. In case of other uses such as Facebook, e-mails or internet surfing, it will have a negative impact on your engagement grade. Cell phones are to be shut off during class and texting/SMS'ing etc. during class will have a negative impact on your engagement grade. Engagement is worth 20 points toward the final grade.

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:

DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Grading Elements:




Grading Scheme:







Engagement (in class and study tours)


 = 20 points




Written Study Tour Assignment 


 = 25 points


100 – 93


Midterm Exam


 = 25 points


<93 – 90






<90 – 87


Final sponsor presentation


 = 30 points


<87 – 83




 = 100 points


<83 – 80






<80 – 77






<77 – 73






<73 – 70






<70 – 67






<67 – 63






<63 – 60









Schedule: Schedule is subject to change if necessary with as much notice as possible

Course Summary:

Date Details Due