MOC course in the master programs

The course „Microeconomics of Competitiveness“ is regularly taught at Harvard Business School and Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government. As part of the collaboration between Lauder Business School (LBS) and the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School as an affiliate institution, Prof. Porter’s signature course is taught in LBS Master degree programs.


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 is influenced by policies at all these levels.


The course structure and materials are almost exactly the same as those being used by Prof. Porter for his courses at Harvard Business School, only adapted to suit the number of hours, structure and schedule of classes at LBS.

LBS students completed the first round of MOC Harvard classes in March 2013. Since then, students’ experiences have been extremely positive and some of them are summarized below.


“Even though I studied Porter’s Diamond Model quite early on in my degree, I have only now discovered as to how countries can act strategically to change the performance of a society and its citizens”, Colombian IML 2013 Andrés Felipe Uprimny recounts his transformative learning experience. Moreover, he emphasized on the importance of “being more open to factors such as collaboration with public institutions, local clusters and the technology sector”.


Polina Kirchev (IML 2013) describes the MOC course as “a combination of theory, practical evidence, guest lectures and cases which offer a multi-level analysis of the company-, industry-, economic and social spheres. The Harvard MOC cases visualized what a cluster is all about. Now my project group will apply this to the Hollywood movie cluster.”


Fernando Boklis from Brazil (IML 2013) stressed that “The MOC case studies on Remaking Singapore and Finland after the Nokia crisis showed how strategic decisions in organizations and governments can really change the history and direction of a region. It is important for leaders to understand that any organization has to keep up with rapidly advancing technology. Otherwise they are prone to fall behind others, such as Nokia and Kodak.”


Marina Sirkis (IML 2013), an IT specialist from Israel, stressed that the MOC course provided a unique venue to investigate the economic atmosphere of regions which are less on the map in standard textbook literature – from Austria to Asia. She added that “The cutting-edge cluster cases underlined how IT will influence our lives in every respect beyond what we are used to nowadays.”


Dina Salzberger (IML 2013) from Serbia pointed out that “Knowing how to use MOC-related concepts is important to improve yourself, your company or your industry. Understanding industry clusters and applying the MOC concept is definitely helpful for my prospective career”