Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Business and Society

Business and Society
First semester
Main language of instruction: English

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, Spanish

Teaching staff

Lecturer: Pau Amigó

Phone: +34 634 544 825

E-mail:  pamigo@uic.es 

Office: Inmaculada, 22. 08017 Barcelona, Catalonia. Spain

Office hours: by appointment


This course presents the foundations of economic and business activity, as well as its basic and specific terminology of companies, entrepreneurship and its interrelation with today's society. The final objective is to introduce students to the business world by providing them with the necessary tools for their understanding or future professional dedication.

Pre-course requirements

Basic knowledge of business, economics and today’s society. Keen interest and willingness to deepen knowledge in business, economics, and society.



Upon completion of the course, students should be able to know:

  • The economic, legal, financial, and competitive environment in which companies carry out their activity and the role they play.
  • What a company is, what types exist, how it is structured and organized, what problems they face and what are the criteria and resources for managing and optimizing their operation.
  • How to conduct successfully observation, analysis, opportunity detection, problem solving, change management, leadership and communication skills.
  • The fundamental aspects of the definition of strategy, knowledge management and innovation within a business or company.
  • Work in groups or teams based on the paradigms of the "new" Information and Knowledge Society.

Learning outcomes

CB1 - Students must demonstrate that they have and understand knowledge in an area of study based on general secondary education. This knowledge should be of a level that, although based on advanced textbooks, also includes some of the cutting-edge elements from their field of study. 
CB2 - Students must know how to apply their knowledge to their work or vocation in a professional way and have the competences that are demonstrated through the creation and defence of arguments and the resolution of problems within their field of study. 
CB3 - Students must have the ability to bring together and interpret significant data (normally within their area of study) and to issue judgements that include a reflection on important issues that are social, scientific or ethical in nature. 
CB4 - Students can transmit information, ideas, problems and solutions to specialist and non-specialist audiences. 
CB5 - Students have developed the necessary learning skills to undertake subsequent studies with a high degree of autonomy. 
CE1 - To solve the maths problems that arise in the field of Bioengineering. The ability to apply knowledge of geometry, calculate integrals, use numerical methods and achieve optimization. 
CE10 - To design fixed and removable structures for the application of prosthetics and orthotics. 
CE11 - To evaluate manufacturing, metrological and quality control systems and processes.  
CE12 - To undertake a professional project in the field of Bioengineering-specific technologies in which knowledge acquired through teaching is synthesized and incorporated. 
CE13 - To identify, understand and use the principles behind electronics, sensors, air conditioners and systems that acquire biomedical signals
CE14 - The ability to understand and apply the principles of basic knowledge of general chemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, and their applications in engineering
CE15 - The ability to undertake a project through the use of data sources, the application of methodologies, research techniques and tools specific to Bioengineering, give a presentation and publicly defend it to a specialist audience in a way that demonstrates the acquisition of the competences and knowledge that are specific to this degree programme. 
CE16 - To apply specific Bioengineering terminology both verbally and in writing in a foreign language. 
CE17 - To be able to identify the engineering concepts that can be applied in the fields of biology and health. 
CE18 - To define the main principles of the technologies that are used for the design and manufacture of micro and nano-sensors in biotechnological areas. 
CE19 - To know how to select and apply material based on its properties and electric, magnetic, mechanical and chemical behavior.
CE2 - To know how to apply the basic concepts of mechanics and biomechanics to resolve problems that are specific to the field of Bioengineering. 
CE20 - To be capable of devising experimentation systems to measure the intrinsic physical and chemical properties of biological materials of human origin. 
CE21 - The ability to understand and apply biotechnological methodologies and tools to research, as well as to the development and production of products and services. 
CE3 - To apply fundamental knowledge on using and programming computers, operating systems, databases and IT programs to the field of Bioengineering. 
CE4 - To have spatial vision and know how to apply graphic representations, using traditional methods of metric geometry and descriptive geometry, as well as through the application of computer-assisted design
CE5 - To promote entrepreneurship and acquire knowledge for the organisation and management of Bioengineering companies while paying attention to their legal framework and the regulations in force at the time
CE6 - To incorporate the foundations of science and materials technology, while taking into account the relationship between microstructure, synthesis or process and the properties of materials. 
CE7 - To know how to recognise anatomy and physiology when applied to the structures Bioengineering involves. 
CE8 - To hold a dialogue based on critical thinking on ideas connected to the main dimensions of the human being
CE9 - To apply the basic foundations of elasticity and the resistance of materials to the behaviour of actual volumes. 
CG1 - To undertake projects in the field of Bioengineering that aim to achieve a concept and a design, as well as manufacture prosthetics and orthotics that are specific to a certain pathology or need.
CG10 - To know how to work in a multilingual and multidisciplinary environment. 
CG2 - To promote the values that are specific to a peaceful culture, thus contributing to democratic coexistence, respect for human rights and fundamental principles such as equality and non-discrimination. 
CG3 - To be able to learn new methods and theories and be versatile so as to adapt to new situations. 
CG4 - To resolve problems based on initiative, be good at decision-making, creativity, critical reasoning and communication, as well as the transmission of knowledge, skills and prowess in the field of Bioengineering
CG5 - To undertake calculations, valuations, appraisals, expert reports, studies, reports, work plans and other similar tasks.
CG6 - To apply the necessary legislation when exercising this profession.  
CG7 - To analyse and evaluate the social and environmental impact of technical solutions
CG8 - To apply quality principles and methods. 
CG9 - The ability to organise and plan in the field of business, as well as in institutions and organisations. 
CT1 - To understand company organisation and the science that governs its activities; to apply work-related rules and understand the relationship between planning, industrial and commercial strategies, quality and profit.  
CT2 - The ability to link welfare with globalisation and sustainability; to acquire the ability to use skills, technology, the economy and sustainability in a balanced and compatible manner. 
CT3 - To know how to communicate learning results to other people both verbally and in writing, and well as thought processes and decision-making; to participate in debates in each particular specialist areas. 
CT4 - To be able to work as a member of an interdisciplinary team, whether as a member or by management tasks, with the aim of contributing to undertaking projects based on pragmatism and a feeling of responsibility, taking on commitment while bearing the resources available in mind. 
CT5 - To use information sources in a reliable manner. To manage the acquisition, structuring, analysis and visualisation of data and information in your specialist area and critically evaluate the results of this management.  
CT6 - To detect gaps in your own knowledge and overcome this through critical reflection and choosing better actions to broaden your knowledge. 
CT7 - To be fluent in a third language, usually English, with a suitable verbal and written level that is in line with graduate requirements. 


SESSION 1. Lecture

Introduction. How business and society are interrelated I


SESSION 2. Lecture + Activity

How business and society are interrelated II

Exercise 1 (Presentation in class, collaborative in groups)


SESSION 3. Lecture

How business and society are interrelated III



SESSION 4. Lecture 

Institutions and Markets

SESSION 5. Lecture + Activity
Legal Aspects

Exercise 2 (Presentation in class, collaborative in couples)



SESSION 6. Lecture

Economics I



Ten Principles of Macroeconomics. Mankiw (Chapters 1, 2, 3)


. Lecture

Economics II
Exercise 3 (written, individual)



Ten Principles of Macroeconomics. Mankiw (Chapters 4, 5)


. Lecture

Business Strategy I



What is Strategy. Michael Porter

The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy. Michael Porter


SESSION 9. Guest Speaker

Investor or Business Angel

. Lecture + Business Case

Stan Lapidus: Profile of a Medical Entrepreneur (case discussion)

Business Strategy II


HBS-805087-E Stan Lapidus

Note on Business Model Analysis for the Entrepreneur. Hamermesh & Marshall & Pirmohamed


SESSION 11. Guest Speaker



. Lecture + Business Case

CV Ingenuity (case discussion)

Business Strategy III


HBS-315045-E CV Ingenuity

Evaluating the Commercial Viability of New Health Care Technologies. Herzlinger, Regina

SESSION 13. Lecture + Business Case

Organization and Human Resources Management

BMVSS changing lives (case discussion)



HBS-9-114-007 BMVSS changing lives, one Jaipur limb at a time


SESSION 14. Lecture + Business Case

Syndexa and Tech Transfer Harvard (case discussion)

Operations, Production and Logistics



HBS-808073-E Syndexa

SESSION 15. Lecture + Business Case

Proteus Biomedical: Making Pigs Fly (case discussion)

Performance and Quality
Exercise 4 (written, collaborative)



HBS-809051-E Proteus Biomedical

Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System. Kaplan & Norton


Teaching and learning activities

In person

Teaching will follow an experiential approach to help the students deepen into the concepts and knowledge.


Students can expect the following learning activities:

  • Synchronous lectures and tutorials
  • In-class and online role-play activities: Students take on an assigned role in a group or individual activity
  • Group-work activities where students work collaborate in a “Wiki” at moodle in order to prepare online presentations of a case study analysis to the whole class
  • Asynchronous discussion forum
  • Problem-based learning in-class and online activities
  • Discussion boards, chat, e-mail,  blogs, video conferencing, desktop sharing applications and whiteboards

In-blended model

Classes are expected to follow an “in-blended” model that combines physical assistance and online teaching using tools such within Moodle such as Collaborate or alike (if necessary).

Classroom policies

  • Class name cards. Please display your name card at every class meeting. (Remember to bring it with you to each class. If you forget your name card, please make a substitute.)
  • Please be prompt. Arriving late or leaving early from class meetings can disrupt the learning experience for other students.
  • Dress code for class is “student formal”
  • Please take advantage of the guest speakers. They will volunteer to give lectures and to meet with you. Please interact with them by asking questions during class, and chatting with them after their presentation, typically at the mid-class break. Do not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity to ask for possible collaborations/internships.
  • No eating during class. Please eat before, after, or during the break.
  • Remember to turn off / silence mobile phones. Laptop computers or tablets are allowed but could be asked to remain closed if its use hampers participation or distracts from the learning experience in class.


The classes will be held by default in English.


Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

Class participation:    10%

Exercise 1:                 10%
Exercise 2:                 10%
Exercise 3:                 10%

Exercise 4:                 10%

Business Cases           10%

Final exam:                40% 


  • Class participation (10% of final grade): Evaluates your preparation for in-class discussions as a critical part of the learning experience, not your class attendance record. This is an extremely important part of the learning experience in this course as the richness of the learning experience will be largely dependent upon the degree of preparation by all students prior to each class session. 

    Missing classes or coming unprepared to classes lowers your grade for this evaluation element. A missed class, weather justified or unjustified, counts as an unprepared class. If your attendance falls below 80%, this grade will fall to zero. A student can have a perfect attendance record and still score zero in participation grade. 
    A failure to actively participate in group and class activities during the discussions of cases and articles will be considered as an indication that a student has not prepared for the class. Do not think of this grade as an entitlement or a gift – it has to be EARNED. 

    This course incorporates the use of case analyses to illustrate the practical application of concepts and practices requires the student to diligently and thoroughly prepare cases and actively offer the results of the analyses and conclusions derived as well as recommendations during each class session. My expectation and that of your classmates are that you are prepared for all classes and will actively participate in and meaningfully contribute to class discussions. 
    If you have not previously participated in case discussions in class, please find one or more of the excellent guides to student preparation for case discussions online, such as: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tauV48IEcgc  (a basic, short summary).

    Cold calling may take place to encourage active participation and to gain multiple perspectives and points of view, thus lending itself to the richness of the learning experience. In-class participation grading will be based on students’ demonstrated willingness to participate and the quality of the comments expressed, rather than quantity. While some students are far more comfortable than others with class participation, all students should make an effort to contribute meaningfully. 

    Students will offer their opinions in group settings many times in their careers; thus, class participation serves to prepare students for this business experience. The evaluating of in-class participation is based on the following: 

    • Relevance – Does the comment or question meaningfully bear on the subject at hand? Irrelevant or inappropriate comments can detract from the learning experience.
    • Responsiveness – Does the comment or question connect to what someone else has said?
    • Analysis – Is the reasoning employed consistent and logical? Has data from course materials, personal experience, or general knowledge been employed to support the assertions/findings? 
    • Value – Does the contribution further the understanding of the issues at hand?
    • Clarity – Is the comment concise and understandable? 

During class sessions, the role of a facilitator could be assumed by a student to encourage a discussion that includes perspectives from a variety of viewpoints and, secondly, to help pull together prevailing analyses and recommendations. The direction and quality of a discussion is the collective responsibility of the class.

To provide clarity on the expectations for class participation, the following behavioral rating scale is provided as follows: 

Excellent Performance 

•  Initiates information relative to topics discussed 

•  Accurately exhibits knowledge of assignment content 

•  Clarifies points that others may not understand 

•  Shares personal experiences or opinions related to topic 

•  Offers relevant / succinct input to class 

•  Actively participates in class exercises 

•  Demonstrates ability to apply, analyze, evaluate & synthesize course material. 

•  Demonstrates willingness to attempt to answer unpopular questions 

•  Builds on other students’ contributions 


Average Performance 

•  Participates in group discussions when asked 

•  Demonstrates knowledge of course material 

•  Offers clear, concise, “good” information on class assignments 

•  Offers input, but tends to reiterate the intuitive 

•  Attends class regularly 


Unacceptable Performance 

•  Fails to participate even when directly asked 

•  Gives no input to discussions 

•  Does not demonstrate knowledge of the readings 

•  Shows up to class: does nothing 

•  Distracts group / class 

•  Irrelevant discussion 


  • Exercises (40% of final grade): 
    • Reflective exercises 
    • Peer assessment of student publications
    • Electronically submitted essays, reflective learning journals, blogs
    • Collaborative projects
    • Individually written assignments submitted electronically 
    • Quality of thought, summary or reflection


  • Business Cases (10% of final grade):
    • Reading all business cases 
    • Preparation of the business case assigned to the group 
    • Teamwork 
    • Group presentation 
    • Quality of the summary and/or reflection

Self-assessment and group work: Students will carry out a self-assessment at the end of the course where they will define their own perceived grade in key variables of group work (contribution to group work, effort, ideas, execution, etc.), as well as the same evaluation of each one of their colleagues in the business case group. These grades will be free and anonymous in a range from 0 to 10 (0 being no contribution and 10 being contribution/outstanding work). These grades will be binding in whole or in part for the final grade.


  • Final Exam (40% of final grade): Minimum of 5 out of 10 to pass the course. In case of failure in the first chance, there will be a second chance to pass where the student will be able to pass, but with a penalty. The minimum grade to pass will still be 5 but out of 7. Hence, students in the second chance can get a maximum grade of 7 instead of 10 in this part.

The exam will consist of a closed-book quiz intended to test your acquisition of knowledge from the readings, the class sessions and guest lectures. In general, the exam will be around 20-30 questions long, straightforward, fact-based, and multiple-choice or very short answer. The exam will cover any material given in the course. 

The date is yet to be confirmed, it will be during the class time slot.  

Plagiarism, copying or any other action that may be considered cheating will be zero in that evaluation section. Besides, plagiarism during exams will mean the immediate failing of the whole subject.

Bibliography and resources

See above, within each session.

Recommended additional bibliography:

1)      The Lean Start-Up. Erick Ries

2)      Four Steps to the Epiphany. Steve Blank

3)      The Startup Owner’s Manual. Steve Blank & Bob Dorf

4)      Business Model Generation. Alexander Osterwalder 2010. John Wiley & Sons Inc

5)      Growth Hacker Marketing. Ryan Holliday

6)      Blue Ocean Strategy. W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne


All the resources required to follow the content of the class will be provided to the students either through the intranet of the UIC or handled in person.

Students that wish to develop further or deepen their knowledge on a topic are encouraged to do so through the additional bibliography suggested. 

Note that many of these materials are copyright protected.