BSc Management (Marketing)

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Digital Economy: Platforms, AI and The Business

Course unit fact file
Unit code BMAN31952
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? No


The course discusses a rich list of topics from recent economics literature on digital economy. They include the theory of network industries, multi-sided platforms, platform strategies, platform design, recommender and reputation systems, Internet business models, online start-ups, AI technologies, big data analytics in platform businesses, AI start-ups, online pricing strategies, algorithmic pricing, financial technology platforms, payment networks, Blockchain and virtual currencies, firm digital transformation, strategic decisions for incumbent firms in adopting digital technologies, and competition policies for the digital world.

The course is a great fit for anyone who is considering starting a business or joining a start-up in the digital platform space or is trying to decide what type of sector or business to focus on. The class will provide the structure and conceptual framework to gain a solid understanding of digital technologies, AI and related businesses.

The course will throughout rely on rich recent economic and firm data to support analyses. All analyses are empirically based.




Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Economic Principles BMAN10001 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
BMAN10001 is a Pre-Requisite for BMAN31952. Only available to students on: Mgt/Mgt Specialism; IMABS; IM and ITMB/ITMB Specialism.

Pre-requisite course units have to be passed by 40% or above at the first attempt unless a higher percentage is indicated within this course outline.


The course is both analytical and applied; it uses relatively recent economic theories and developments and a rich set of recent cases to help students understand the digital economy.

The course aims to provide a solid understanding of foundational concepts, theories and technologies that are essential for understanding the digital economy. It offers a thorough review of platform strategies / competition and covers the emerging literature on corporate digital transformation: the process by which traditional firms adopt digital and AI technologies to adapt to changes in the market.

The course also aims to demonstrate how emerging technologies such as AI and Blockchain, joined with platform technologies, have begun to transform industries such as the financial sector, retail, advertising, healthcare and transportation.

By examining a rich list of cases and data and using recent theories, the course aims to facilitate students form a systematic view of how digital technologies are likely to shape corporations and industries, and change the nature of competition.

By examining numerous young online firms from different sectors, the course will seek to explain the process of start-up formation, and show how to set up an online business.

Finally, equip students with an ability to use Excel (or R - optional) to analyse firm data in business decision making, use economic theories to make sense of economic data and news, and use their empirical understanding to improve on business decisions and master data-driven business decision making. 


Learning outcomes

  • Understand the logic of network industries, gain a solid understanding of the theory of multi-sided platform, AI (artificial intelligence) technologies and digital business,
  • Understand platform leadership strategies, platform competition, and algorithmic pricing,
  • Gain a solid knowledge of online / platform start-ups and their growth strategies, and learn how to establish and growth their our online business
  • Understand platform design - various key components forming modern online platforms such as recommender and reputation systems as well as governance rules,
  • Form a sound understanding of the AI revolution, Blockchain and general purpose technologies, and explore how these technologies are likely to transform businesses
  • Gain an understanding of how platform technologies, AI and cloud technologies have already begun to transform industries such as finance, providing a good understanding of Fintech start-ups
  • Understand challenges faced in digital transformation of industries and firms and relevant tactics and strategies - the process of corporate digital transformation,
  • Understand dominant internet business models and how to generate new online business models
  • Develop an ability to use Excel or R to analyse data in business decision making in firms.
  • Develop an ability to make sense of economic data / news in an intuitive manner to enhance decision making in the firm.
  • Design business strategies for growing and running digital marketplaces.

Teaching and learning methods

Methods of delivery: Lecture and practices (2 hour per week). The first hour of the lecture will cover theory and second hour will apply the theory to business cases and discuss emerging digital / AI start-ups.

Total study hours: 200 hours split between lectures, classes, self-study and preparation for classes, coursework and examinations.

Assessment methods

1.    2.5 hour unseen examination answering 3 questions from 8 (70%),
2.    Coursework (20%). (2000 words)
3.    Class participation (10%). Class participation mark is based on in-class online 10 MCQ practices via Blackboard. The mark will be given based on the 5 MCQs practices with the highest marks. DASS students are allowed to submit their answers online outside the class during the same day. Students will randomly be assigned to MCQs. The questions will be based on case studies distributed in advance. 


Feedback methods

  • Informal advice and discussion during a lecture, seminar, workshop or lab.
  • Responses to student emails and questions from a member of staff including feedback provided to a group via an online discussion forum.
  • Written and/or verbal comments on assessed or non-assessed coursework.


Recommended reading

McAfee, A. and Brynjolfsson, E., 2017. Machine, platform, crowd: Harnessing our digital future. WW Norton & Company.

The course comes with extensive self-sufficient teaching materials that cover advance topics not found in textbooks. The materials will mainly draw on research papers. In addition, the course will draw on:

Gawer, A. (Ed.). (2011). Platforms, markets and innovation. Edward Elgar Publishing

Peitz, M. and Waldfogel, J. eds., 2012. The Oxford handbook of the digital economy. Oxford University Press.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Mohammad Salehnejad Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Additional notes

Programme Restrictions: BSc Management and Management (Specialisms), BSc International Management with American Business Studies, BSc International Management, BSc ITMB.


For Academic Year 2022/23

Updated: March 2022

Approved by: March UG Committee

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