MBAX9154 Managing with Digital Technology - 2019

Online, weekly
Intensive, Sydney CBD
Term 2
6 Units of Credit

Offering Selection

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

Managing with Digital Technology aims to increase technical literacy of managers and leaders. The main objective of this course is to give managers a high-level overview of the fundamental concepts, main topics and problems in computer science and information technology and how they relate to business settings, and thus equip them to make better decisions regarding applications of technology, even if they are not technologists themselves. This course takes a top-down approach and emphasises high-level mastery of important concepts in computer science and information technology. Students who successfully complete this course will feel confident in any technology organisation and will have an appreciation for the problems in the field, how they affect or constrain business decisions and how it all works.

The course prepares students for product-management roles. Product manager is increasingly becoming the job of choice for MBA students. Similarly, more and more industries, especially traditional service industries, are creating their own products to deliver more capabilities to their customers and require new capabilities from their managers. Being a product manager requires similar skills to a CEO, which combined with the perceived attractiveness of working in the tech industry, makes it an attractive career path for graduating MBA and management students. A successful product manager needs to master the business side of developing a product as well as be able to interact with a wide range of technical and non-technical stakeholders - from customers through to product engineers and user experience specialists.

Managing with Digital Technology equips founders to succeed in technology endeavors. Successful start-up founders will come across technology from day zero. Virtually every business idea today involves technology - often entire stacks of various technologies. Founders with a non-technical background must rely entirely on their technical co-founders, if they are lucky, or on the word of developers and other technologists they hire, to help them realise their dream. They are often faced with difficult choices and this course aims to equip them with the knowledge and confidence to make informed choices not just in business but in technology as well.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

Managing with Digital Technology is divided into several logical parts, each forming a building block in the overall picture.

Context is the focus of Unit 1 of this course. It is concerned with providing students with a basic contextual framework that will enable them to connect the dots throughout the course.

A technology and software primer are the focus of Units 2-5 of this course. Unit 2 introduces students to key internet technologies and how they work in a way that will help them to better make decisions relating to technology strategy. In Units 3-5 students will get a practical understanding of the software stack, how the various stacks relate to each other and what types of software can be used to solve particular problems.

Managing products is the focus of Units 6-8 of this course. Students will get an appreciation for the software development process. Students will be introduced to best practices in product management, software development and systems deployment so they know what to expect from a professional team.

Managing technical organisations is the focus of Units 9 and 10 of this course. Unit 9 ties closely into concepts in Organisation Behaviour. Students will learn how to manage software teams and other technical staff, as well as the key components and roles required for developing multi-functional product development teams. In Unit 10, students will learn to articulately synthesise the impact of cybersecurity and data-privacy policies to internal and external stakeholders, while also learning about the major cybersecurity threats faced by companies today and how to prevent such attacks.

Additonal Course Details

3. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Course CoordinatorJakub Krajcovic
Course CoordinatorSoham Srivastava
Course CoordinatorSoham Srivastava
Course CoordinatorJakub Krajcovic

4. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

Course Structure

Unit 1, Introduction and Context - Technology is changing the way businesses and economies are functioning. In this unit, students will learn about the history of technology and its relationship with commerce, how businesses today are adapting to the daily challenges of technological and digital disruption, and how some of them are using this new environment to excel and gain a competitive edge. Students will be introduced to core technology concepts such as Moore's Law and Metcalfe's Law, while also exploring the evolving role of IT within a firm and how digitally literate business managers will play a crucial role in the businesses of tomorrow.

Unit 2, Internet Technologies and Cloud Computing - This unit delves into the basics of how the internet works and the various layers that make up types of internet technologies, while also exploring the broader opportunity the internet offers to global businesses. As well, this unit covers the basics of cloud computing and cloud infrastructure and the importance of each in today's business environment.

Unit 3, Data and Databases - This unit introduces students to data structures and databases. Students will explore the various types of data, data storage formats, and database systems commonly available today, and the commercial benefits and challenges associated with each.

Unit 4, Web Design and Development - This unit takes students through the various types of websites and the technologies and programming languages that power them. Students will learn about the components of a website along with the interplay that websites have with databases, user clients, and mobile devices. Students will also receive a brief glimpse into the mechanics of search engine optimisation and best practices for website development.

Unit 5, Mobile Development - Our mobile devices and the apps we interact with on a daily basis know more about us than we do about their internal workings. This unit explores the importance of mobile apps for businesses and the role application design plays in influencing user behaviour. Students are introduced to mobile software development kits (SDKs) for Android and Apple while learning about the challenges and benefits associated with each of the platforms. Students will also be introduced to monetisation strategies for mobile apps.

Unit 6, Tech Stacks, Patterns & Architectures - There are a host of technology combinations, commonly referred to as stacks, that are available in the market today and each comes with its own set of pros and cons. This unit explores the different types of technology stacks, architectures, and patterns and the commercial benefits and limitations of each combination with respect to cost, scalability, compatibility and durability. Students are also introduced to the basics of APIs and their importance in the application design process. The unit ends with an introduction to the concept of technical debt and the decision-making processes and frameworks that can be used to identify if and when it should be incurred for a business.

Unit 7, Software Value Chain 1- Software and especially software-as-a-service have fundamentally changed existing business models, but outside deeply technical circles, little is known about how software is actually created and how the value it generates is delivered. This unit forms the first of two units that delve into the inner workings of software delivery and value generation. Students will be introduced to the concepts of continuous integration, continuous delivery and continuous deployment, and a link between high-performing IT and high-performing business organisations will be established. Students will compare and contrast 'traditional' ways of developing software with agile ways of developing software and will understand how and when software actually delivers business value.

Unit 8, Software Value Chain 2 - Developing software is only one half of creating value. An equally important step in the software value chain is putting the software into the hands of users. This unit is the second of two units that delve into the inner workings of software and delivery and value generation. Students will be introduced to the concept of devops and the three ways of devops: the principle of flow, the principle of feedback and the principle of continuous learning and experimentation. This unit will expose students to methods that world-class technology organisations use to deliver software into the hands of their users, and will equip them with tools to implement these methods in their organisations.

Unit 9, Managing Technical Organisations - This unit explores the various roles commonly encountered in a typical product development and IT operations environment. Students will learn about the expected qualifications and responsibilities of each role and the best practices used to motivate teams and manage common challenges that often arise in such environments. This unit will expose students to management practices across some of the most iconic technology firms in the world and will help them understand how some of these practices can be applied to any business with a technology organisation.

Unit 10, Cybersecurity, Legal and Privacy - Almost every aspect of human and commercial life is becoming increasingly digital and interconnected. This poses a significant challenge to the privacy and security of the data being transmitted over various digital touch points. This unit briefly explores the history of cybersecurity and key participants in the digital data exchange. Students will learn about common types of cybersecurity risks, attacks, best practices for data protection and the legal consequences for businesses that pertain to data privacy and protection over their owned networks and digital assets.

6. Course Resources

You have four major resources to help you learn:

  1. The course materials, comprising the weekly study units with readings, cases, references, insights and commentary. You will do much of your learning outside the classroom by working through the course materials, and by completing the activities as they arise.
  2. Your online or face-to-face classes with your facilitator. The facilitator's job is to guide your learning by conducting class discussion, answering questions that might arise after you have done the week's work, providing insights from their practical experience and understanding of theory, providing you with feedback on your assessments, and directing discussions and debates that will occur between you and your co-participants in class.
  3. Your co-participants. Your colleagues in the class are an invaluable potential source of learning for you. Their work and life, and their willingness to question and argue with the course materials, the facilitator and your views, represent a great learning opportunity. They bring much valuable insight to the learning experience.
  4. In addition to course-based resources, please also refer to the AGSM Learning Toolkit (available in Moodle) for tutorials and guides that will help you learn more about effective study practices and techniques.

7. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

Our courses are revised each time they run, with updated course overviews and assessment tasks. All courses are reviewed and revised regularly and significant course updates are carried out in line with industry developments, and the latest academic research.

The AGSM surveys students each time a course is offered. The data collected provides anonymous feedback from students on the quality of course content and materials, class facilitation, student support services and the AGSM program in general. This student feedback is taken into account in all course revisions.

All material used will be treated as confidential and these processes will have no bearing on course grades.

Student Response

As this course is new, we will be seeking student feedback at the end of the term, and during the term in the Week 5 Feedback Survey. We will act on feedback when received, and look forward to improving the course with your help.

Response to Student Feedback

Please see above.

8. Course Schedule

Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 Short essayIntroduction and Context
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 2 Self-paced study and online engagementInternet Technologies and Cloud Computing
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 3 Self-paced study and online engagementData and Databases
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 4 Self-paced study and online engagementWeb Design and Development
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 5 Self-paced study and online engagementMobile Development
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 6 Self-paced study and online engagementTech Stacks, Patterns & Architectures
Assessment 2 : Group case analysis and report
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 7 Self-paced study and online engagementSoftware Value Chain 1
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 8 Self-paced study and online engagementSoftware Value Chain 2
Assessment 3 : Multiple-choice test
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 9 Self-paced study and online engagementManaging Technical Organisations
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 10 Self-paced study and online engagementCybersecurity, Legal and Privacy
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 11 Self-paced study
Week 12 Self-paced study
Week 13 Complete and submit Assessment 4
Assessment 4 : Individual report - strategy operationalisation
Week 1 Unit 1Introduction and Context
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 2 Unit 2Internet Technologies and Cloud Computing


Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 3 Unit 3Data and Databases
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 4 Unit 4Web Design and Development
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 5 Unit 5Mobile Development
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 6 Unit 6Tech Stacks, Patterns & Architectures

Intensive Weekend 1: Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 July 2019, 9am-5pm

Assessment 2 : Group case analysis and report
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 7 Unit 7Software Value Chain 1
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 8 Unit 8Software Value Chain 2
Assessment 3 : Multiple-choice test
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 9 Unit 9Managing Technical Organisations
Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 10 Unit 10Cybersecurity, Legal and Privacy

Intensive Weekend 2: Saturday 10 August and Sunday 11 August 2019, 9am to 5pm

Assessment 1 : Readiness Assessment Tests
Week 11 Self-paced study
Week 12 Self-paced study
Week 13 Complete and submit Assessment 4
Assessment 4 : Individual report - strategy operationalisation

9. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations.
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

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