Business Administration: Specialization in Strategy & Organization

vuIn the 21st century, organizations aiming to obtain and sustain a competitive advantage need to achieve global efficiency and local responsiveness, while embracing creative solutions and worldwide learning. The Master’s specialization in Strategy & Organization focuses on these management challenges and is built around the next topics:

Globalization
How can organizations successfully prepare, design and manage their international business activities? Topics include corporate strategizing and the design of multinational enterprises, diversification strategies, multi-market competition, downsizing, offshoring and nearshoring, re-locating production facilities and headquarters, and other issues concerning corporate strategy.

Connected world
How can organizations successfully establish and manage interorganizational collaborative relations, including alliances, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic networks? Topics include management decisions to form, manage, and evaluate strategic alliances, pre-merger & post-merger activities, acquisition strategies, and the design and management of strategic networks as a means to gain competitive advantage.

Why Strategy & Organization at VU University Amsterdam?
Organizations aim to obtain and sustain a competitive advantage to achieve global efficiency and local responsiveness.

The Master’s specialization in Strategy & Organization focuses on these management challenges and is built around three topics: globalization, the connected world and ongoing transformation.

As a Master’s student specializing in Strategy & Organization, you will explore the challenges associated with managing the international activities of multinational enterprises and entrepreneurial firms acting across borders. You will be confronted with questions such as: which decision-making processes drive offshoring and nearshoring of R&D, IT and business processes? How do you choose the best location for your production facilities or corporate headquarters? What are the best strategies when gearing up for growth and expansion?

A strong focus on strategy and organization, particularly in international service organizations
In addition to internationalization, organizations are increasingly interacting with their environment by means of collaborative relationships and networks. The programme will encourage you to examine these different forms of interorganizational collaboration, including strategic alliances and networks. You will also delve into the processes and techniques that strategists deploy to enable strategic and organizational change in public as well as corporate settings.

Strategy & Organization will provide you with a combination of in-depth understanding of the latest research on all these topics, as well as practical research experience and skills, allowing you to cope with the strategic challenges of the 21st century. The focus is on strategic and organizational issues in the design and management of national and international organizations. In addition to acquiring state-of-the-art knowledge on the specialization’s main themes, you will be trained in a range of research methods that can be used to investigate real-life management problems. This challenging programme will enhance your analytical and social skills and encourage you to develop your aptitude for engaging in critical discussion and reflection.

Study programme
The Master’s specialization in Strategy & Organization is a one-year programme worth 60 credits. The curriculum is divided into six periods and consists of courses focusing on key topics, research methods and business ethics. You are free to take a number of optional subjects and you can count on expert supervision to help you complete your Master’s thesis.

Period 1 focuses on the challenges of international management and the strategic design and control of organizations. By using a case analysis to explore these challenges, you discover how to make strategic decisions yourself.

Period 2 gives you the opportunity to study these issues in greater depth. For instance, you examine how organizations use boundary-spanning activities, such as alliances, mergers and acquisitions, to obtain and sustain their competitive advantage. In this period, you also have the opportunity to select an optional course of your choice.

In Period 3 you become acquainted with ethical issues in business and a variety of research methods. These courses help prepare you to design and conduct qualitative and quantitative research projects.

Period 4 enables you to further develop your research skills. Moreover, it features a course on strategic and organizational change, offering you a dynamic perspective on strategy and organization. In addition, you will write a research proposal that forms the basis for your Master’s thesis.

In Periods 5 and 6 you will conduct your empirical research and write your Master’s thesis. You may also take another optional course in Period 5.

Admission requirements and application
There are strict admission criteria. These are set by the Admissions Board, which also decides on individual applications. The requirements are split up into Masters’ specialization specific requirements and general requirements. Please read them both carefully:

General requirements for holders of a(n):

Specific admission requirements Master’s programme Business Administration:

  • Applicants who have gained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Economics or Econometrics and Operations Research at VU University Amsterdam are admitted automatically to the Master’s programme
  • Applicants with at least a Bachelor’s degree from another accredited university are admissible if they have a specialization in Business Administration, witnessed by thorough knowledge of the standard literature described below (or its equivalent)
  • Applicants with at least a VU Bachelor’s degree in other specializations can be admitted to the master, but depending on their degree they will be required to take extra courses with a minimum of 30 credits. In that case their programme will take at least a year and a half
  • Standard literature: according to the specialization of their choice students are assumed to be thoroughly familiar with:
Strategy and Environment De Wit, B., Meyer, R. (2004) Strategy: Process, Content, Context. An International Perspective. 3rd edition, London: Thomson
Organization Design Jones, G.R. (2007) Organizational Design and Change. 5th edition, Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall

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