Teaching Focus and Materials

Professor | Researcher | Consultant | Leader

Teaching Philosophy

In my courses, I push students to think critically, understand the assumptions behind their arguments, and identify the logic of their statements. Although I used textbooks early in my career, I now ask students to read the original frameworks and tools published in managerial journals like Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review. I also write cases to illustrate their application, using information from periodicals such as The Economist, Financial Times, or Wall Street Journal. This results in students’ deeper learning and understanding as they critically analyze and apply the concepts, tools, and frameworks discussed in class to recent events.


I teach advanced courses on global strategy. They provide students with concepts, frameworks, and tools for understanding how to create value

Throughout my career, I have taught a variety of courses. This a list of courses and workshops I have taught at universities around the world. A few course syllabi appear at the end of this page. 

Strategy: Northeastern University (Undergraduate, 2015-2024), University of Pretoria (Masters, 2022, 2023), University of South Carolina (Undergraduate, Masters, 2006-2010), Tecnológico de Monterrey (Undergraduate, 2014-2018, Ph.D. 2011-2014), University of Minnesota (Ph.D., 2001)

Sustainability: Northeastern University (Undergraduate, 2012-2014, Masters, 2024), IPADE (Masters, 2011), University of South Carolina (Masters, 2010)

Innovation in Emerging Markets: University of Pretoria (Masters, 2021), Tecnológico de Monterrey (PhD, 2012-2013)

Emerging Market Multinationals: Fundação Getulio Vargas (Ph.D., 2013), University of València (Ph.D., 2011)

Doing Business in Latin America: University of South Carolina (Undergraduate, Masters, 2005-2009), Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (Masters, 2010)

International Management: Fundação Dom Cabral (Executive, 2010-2019), UNIS (Executive, 2012), University of South Carolina (Ph.D., 2006, 2010), University of Minnesota (Ph.D., 2000), Warsaw School of Economics (Executive, 2003).

International Business: University of Minnesota, (Undergraduate, Masters, 2000-2005). 

Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra, professor, researcher, consultant, speaker, dictating a lecture
Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra, professor, researcher, consultant, speaker, dictating a lecture in Asia
Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra, professor, researcher, consultant, speaker, dictating a lecture during a conference

Teaching Case Studies

Global Strategic Management

Cuervo-Cazurra, A. and Montoya, M.A. 2014. Building Chinese Cars in Mexico: The Grupo Salinas-FAW Alliance. Innovar, 24 (54), 219-230. 

Ricardo Salinas Pliego was the CEO of Grupo Salinas, one of the largest business groups in Mexico, and in 2009 he faced a challenge. Two years earlier, he had negotiated with the Chinese car company FAW to import Chinese cars into Mexico as an initial step towards their manufacturing. However, the global crisis of 2008 made him question the viability of the project and he had to decide whether to close the operation or continue in the hope of a quick recovery. This was a difficult decision because the group had sold several thousand cars and established a network of car dealers. Closing the operation would mean not only losing the investment in the network while having to continue servicing the cars, but would also result in a blow to the reputation of the group. He was pondering what the best option would be. 

Cuervo-Cazurra, A., and Alvim, F. 2013. Achieving global leadership in the plug-in commercial refrigeration industry. Northeastern University, D’Amore-McKim School of Business and Fundação Dom Cabral (Case and teaching note). Ivey Publishing 9B13M012

The chief executive officer and chair of the board of directors of a company that designs, builds and sells consumer and commercial refrigeration products are trying to decide if the firm should expand in Asia and, if so, which method it should use. In recent years, Metalfrio has become a global leader in its industry by establishing manufacturing operations in Mexico, Turkey and Russia, as well as expanding within its home territory of Brazil, with sales in over 80 countries. Asia is offering promising opportunities for growth, and key customers are suggesting the company establish manufacturing operations there to better serve its global needs. The case addresses how Metalfrio transfers its competitive advantages across its international operations, and it further discusses how the company coordinates its operations to serve countries in which it does not have a production facility via exports. The case analyzes the competitive advantage of the firm and its transferability to other countries. 

Cuervo-Cazurra, A., and Alvim, F. 2013. A note on the commercial refrigeration industry. Northeastern University, D’Amore-McKim School of Business and Fundação Dom Cabral (Case and teaching note). Ivey Publishing 9B13M024

This supplement to Metalfrio: Achieving Global Leadership in the Plug-in Commercial Refrigeration Industry 9B13M012 gives an overview of the commercial refrigeration sector, including a history of the industry, major participants and markets, and key local and regional competitors. The note also provides select financial and market data for the years 2002 to 2009. 

Global Sustainable Governance

Mthombeni, M., Wöcke, A., and Cuervo-Cazurra, A. 2020. McKinsey & Company: Facilitating Bribery in South Africa. Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria. (Case and teaching note). Ivey Publishing 9B20M145.

The head of the South African subsidiary of the US consulting firm McKinsey & Company (McKinsey), has to address the implications of the firm’s involvement in a corruption scandal. The South African office was implicated in a scandal involving its local partner, Trillian Capital Partners (PTY) Ltd. (Trillian), and Eskom, a South African state-owned enterprise (SOE). McKinsey was required to partner with a local company as a condition of any contract with a South African SOE. McKinsey took on Trillian as its local partner after Trillian was recommended by a former client. Trillian was, however, associated with the Guptas, a family that the South African Public Protector (an ombudsman) had accused of using its influence with the South African president, Jacob Zuma, and his family for corrupt activities. The partnership (first with a company named Regiments Capital (PTY) Ltd. [Regiments] and then, following restructuring, with Trillian) directly benefited the Gupta family. More than three years into the relationship, McKinsey claimed to have discovered that its partner was politically exposed and under investigation by the South African authorities. McKinsey’s new global managing partner attempted to limit the damage to the company’s reputation by issuing an apology. However, the South African public appeared skeptical about the apology, and questions remained regarding McKinsey’s integrity. The questions left unanswered included the following: Was Sneader’s apology enough to enable McKinsey to quell the attack on its reputation? Should McKinsey do more to enhance its standing within the South African business community, or should it accept that its reputation had suffered irreparable harm?

Cuervo-Cazurra, A., Train, M., and McNett, J. 2011. Ransom on the high seas: The case of piracy in Somalia. Northeastern University, College of Business Administration. (Case and teaching note). Ivey Publishing 9B11M104

In recent years, incidents of piracy have increased dramatically off the coast of the failed state of Somalia. In this case, a group of 14 pirates have hijacked a cargo ship full of machinery, but have yet to make any demands. They hold hostage a multinational crew of 20 (whose captain and two officers are American), the ship, and the cargo. The chief operating officer of an international shipping company must choose among alternative strategies to get the crew, cargo, and ship back safely with as little cost as possible. 

Dau, L. A., and Cuervo-Cazurra, A. 2010. Cemex: Building Global Sustainability Advantage. In Costanzo, L. A. (Ed.), Cases in Strategic Management. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill.

This case study focuses on the global sustainability practices implemented by the Mexican cement producer CEMEX. In three decades the company has grown rapidly through aggressive expansion efforts and acquisitions, while reducing costs and improving efficiency, to become one of the largest cement firms in the world. However, in the same period individuals and governments have increased their demands that companies minimize their environmental impact if they are to operate in their countries. As such, CEMEX has strived to not only improve its sustainability practices, but also to become a global leader by transferring best practices across countries. However, such a transfer is challenging. Unlike the skills needed to operate cement plants, which are fairly standard across countries, the skills to achieve a sustainable operation require adaptation to local needs and demands.


Global Strategy  - Executing Global Strategy

Strategy - Strategy

Strategic Sustainability - Advanced Global Management