Electives on the MPhil in Technology Policy

Students on the MPhil in Technology Policy choose six electives:

  • four electives from the “sectorial & skills” or “enterprise” streams (the enterprise stream focuses on both the public and private sectors)
  • two “open” electives (these can also be drawn from the “sectorial/skills” or “enterprise” lists)

Students on the MPhil in Technology Policy programme choose four electives from the sector-specific/skills-based and the enterprise streams:

Sectorial & skills electives

This module introduces you to two essential and complementary ways of dealing with future uncertainties. On one hand we have diversification, the intuitive notion that you should “not put all your eggs in one basket”, which is ubiquitous in modern management. This exemplifies passive risk management. On the other we have the real options paradigm. This emphasises that future value depends on both unfolding uncertainties, which you cannot control, and the flexibility of your future responses. By investing in research and development projects, for example, companies buy the option to launch a product, which they may or may not exercise, depending on the level of success of the R&D effort and on market conditions at the time of launch. However, flexibility also costs money: R&D expenditure, for example in the biotech industry, can be huge. So how much flexibility shall we build into the system? This is the realm of project design for active risk management. System designers and project managers need tools that help them decide if added flexibility is worth the money. This course gives you a mindset and a suite of tools to tackle such problems.

All participants are expected to be familiar with probability and statistics at the level of an introductory undergraduate course.

This course provides a firm foundation in modern electricity policy with an emphasis on the UK, introducing you to a wide variety of mature and emergent electricity generation and demand-side technologies. It also exposes you to the local, regional and global environmental effects of energy use. The course introduces the key considerations of energy policy and develops frameworks by which progress against policy goals may be achieved. Furthermore, it discusses issues with electrification of heating and transport.

You will be able to critique scenarios for the future UK electricity system out to 2050, evaluate and compare the efficacy of different electricity generation technologies, understand current and future electricity policy options, and appreciate how economics and engineering interact in a sustainable electricity system.

This module equips you with negotiation and strategic skills relevant to high-technology organisations. The relevant negotiations include those within the firm (such as between management and labour or within a board or among firm founders), those between firms (as occurs in the building of industrial consortia), and negotiations between firms and government agencies or amongst a diverse group of stakeholders. Strategic issues covered include situations of conflict and cooperation under a range of assumptions about timing of actions and the kind of knowledge available to decision makers.

On completion of the module, you should have a basic understanding of both the theory and practice of negotiation. Negotiation simulations play a critical role in the pedagogy. As befitting the nature of negotiations, this is a simulation-driven workshop with a bit of theory sprinkled in rather than a lecture-based module with occasional simulations

This module enables you to understand how linear regression and associated statistical techniques are used to estimate causal relationships from primarily cross-sectional, observational data. You are introduced to the principles and methods in data analysis, and their application. By the end of the course you should understand how linear regression and associated statistical techniques are used to estimate causal relationships from cross-sectional data. You will be also able to specify, estimate, test, interpret and critically evaluate single equation regression models, with applications in a variety of subject areas of management, finance and business economics. It is expected that students will be equipped to read and critically evaluate empirical papers in research journals in management.

The module runs twice per week. All Technology Policy students are required to pass a qualifying test based on a summer reading list at the beginning of Michaelmas Term.

Enterprise electives

A circular economy model requires firms in different sectors across the value chain to integrate disruptive technology and design business and financial models that are based on longevity, renewability, reuse, repair, upgrade, refurbishment, serviceability, capacity sharing, and dematerialisation. Organisations still have to take into consideration cost management and control, but they have to think about the financial impact – rethinking products and services and designing end user value propositions that offer increased efficiency, effectiveness, and performance. Despite the importance and potential benefits of the circular economy, the private sector is yet to adopt this new approach at either the strategic or operational level for many different reasons. The circular economy model applies to innovation and entrepreneurship, and government need to create the policy condition to make it develop and thrive and contribute to economic growth and development.

The course links circular economy concepts to entrepreneurship, finance,  innovation and government policy.

Innovation is a critical activity for most firms. In fact, many of the most successful firms derive a large portion of their revenue from new products, for example, 3M’s objective is for 40% of its revenue to be derived from new products. However, to achieve such an objective is no small task; it is a significant challenge for most organisations, regardless of size. This course is designed to highlight what these challenges are, why they arise (or exist), and how we can manage them.

Ultimately, in today’s business environment it is hard to avoid the challenges that arise from innovation. Indeed, at some point in your career (as a general manager, a product manager, an entrepreneur, a consultant, or even a private equity manager) you will face challenges associated with some new product and/or service development. In this course we use a selection of readings, case studies, in-class exercises, and a term long project to prepare you to identify and manage the innovation process. Ultimately, the Managing the Innovation Process module provides you with comprehension of the managerial and operational challenges associated with each stage of the product and service development process; proficiency with a set of managerial tools and methods for effective product and service development; and competence to manage interdisciplinary tasks in order to achieve a common goal.

In recent decades, businesses have been confronted with a whole new set of digital challenges and opportunities, leading to a revolution in competitive dynamics. Many of the biggest success stories of our time (Facebook, Google, Microsoft, etc.) are not bricks and mortar but platform-based firms active in sectors that are heavily influenced by network effects and big data. Similarly, firms like Apple and Samsung may produce hardware but are in fact shaping ecosystems that enable the success of their hardware. Finally, established retailers, banks, media companies and other service providers are confronted with challenges and situations that define the new economy – multi-sided markets, serial monopolies, winner-take-all networks, platform mediated networks. Understanding how this new digital space functions is key to success in the post-COVID-19 world.

In this course you learn how technologies and platforms are developed and leveraged by firms to attain competitive advantage. The course also examines various other challenges that firms currently face including monetisation of online communities, overcoming strategic advantages provided by winner-take-all networks, multi-sided markets, direct and indirect network effects, role of complementors and much more. We discuss real-life cases of a range of industries. Through the application of analytical tools and frameworks in a wide variety of situations you’ll become familiar with the various situations in which managers have to craft strategies and the process that they follow to do it.

You must also choose two open electives in consultation with the Technology Policy faculty. These can be selected from the “sectorial/skills” or “enterprise” streams or, alternatively, from other selected courses offered by Cambridge Judge Business School and the Department of Engineering.

The following is a sample of such courses that students have recently taken:

  • Management of Technology
  • Accounting & Finance
  • International Business
  • Policy, Legislation & Government
  • Resilience of Infrastructure Systems
  • Business Innovation in a Digital Age
  • Business & Social Impact
  • Organisations & Strategic Innovation

Please note that the specific content of the programme varies from year to year. The Student Handbook provided during the Orientation week will show the full list of available modules for your academic year.