BUS 491: Italian Business and Italian Society for Spring 2020

BUS 491 001: Italian Business and Italian Society
(With optional embedded travel to Italy over Spring Break)

Elective: Spring 2020
CRN: 21088
Time: Thursday, 4:30 – 7:10 PM
Instructor: Professor Robert Pierce

Please note: BUS 491 is the course number used for special topics courses.  Please do not be intimidated by the 400-level number. The course prerequisite is that you have junior or senior standing.

Course Description

This course will introduce students to Italian society and the business environment in Italy. The course will rest on two premises: (1) that business and society are interconnected and (2) that the tentacles of globalization have reached into virtually all corners of life, including the rich and varied business traditions of Italy. The course will have both business and liberal arts lenses. From the business perspective, the course will focus especially on Michael Porter’s theory of national competitive advantage and on four iconic Italian industries: high-end Italian cars, Italian fashion, Italian food products, and mass tourism in Italy. From a liberal arts perspective, the course will have required readings from several academic disciplines (history, economics, literature) and as well as from travel literature.

Students successfully completing the course will receive elective credit from the School of Business. The course would also fulfill elective credit for students minoring in Italian in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.  The language of instruction will be English.

The course offers optional embedded travel to Italy over spring break. The embedded travel is partially funded by the GMU Global Education Office. In addition, the Dean of the School of Business is offering $1,000 scholarships to the first twenty declared business majors to apply for the embedded travel and enroll in the course.  For the first twenty declared business majors, the cost of travel paid by students will be under $600 per person.

If you have any questions about the course content, please contact Professor Pierce at  For more information about the optional travel, please go to the GEO web page:

If you have any questions on enrollment in or eligibility for the course, please contact an advisor in the School of Business – Office of Student Success and Academic Services at 703-993-1880 or email

Mary Byerley

Mary Byerley serves in the Office of Student Success and Academic Services for the School of Business at George Mason University.
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