In both Master programs, LBS students are taught the course „Microeconomics of Competitiveness“, which, in almost the same way, is regularly taught at Harvard Business School and Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government.
The course offers an in-depth view of the determinants of competitiveness and economic development from a bottom up, microeconomic perspective. While sound macroeconomic policies, stable legal and political systems and the accumulation of production factors affect the potential for competitiveness, wealth is actually created at the microeconomic level. The strategies of firms, the vitality of clusters, and the quality of the business environment in which competition takes place ultimately determine a nation’s or region’s productivity. The course covers both developing and advanced economies, and addresses competitiveness at the level of nations, states and cities within nations, clusters, and groups of neighboring countries. A major theme of the course is that competitiveness and economic development are influenced by policies at all these levels.
Within the framework of the course, the students conduct independent projects on country and cluster competitiveness. These student projects are part of their course grade, and furthermore take part in a global competition of all MOC affiliated universities. Each project focuses on the competitiveness of a specific cluster in a country or region and includes specific action recommendations.
In order to build up a relevant stream of research for the LBS Institute of Competitiveness, the course projects focus on Austrian clusters and competitiveness challenges. Two projects stood out – one on the Aviation cluster in Wiener Neustadt, the other on Smart City Vienna – and were submitted to the global student project competition at HBS, where they were praised for their high quality.
Since the first round of MOC Harvard classes in 2013, students have greatly profited from this project assessment. Harvard Business School collects samples of successful student projects on its website. Some students‘ assessment of the overall course are summarized below.