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The RSM MSc in Strategic Entrepreneurship programme is one academic year’s duration. Core courses are compulsory and will be offered during the autumn semester (22 EC). Master electives (18 EC) are offered during the spring semester, of which one elective can be chosen from another MSc programme. During the year, students work on a master thesis project (20 EC).

Please note that certain electives may be very popular. Although we can place most students in the elective(s) of their choice, there are no guaranteed places.

    • Increasingly, in today’s fast paced, uncertain world, sustained innovation and progress through creating meaningful opportunities is a necessity not only to thrive but also to survive. However, for most firms, the strategies and processes associated with opportunity creation remain vague and are not understood nor applied systematically. In this course, we will learn how you, as an entrepreneur, can create opportunities and consequently create meaningful value for your audience. The aim of the course is to provide a set of concepts and theories, as well as practical tools and processes, that can be used by entrepreneurs in their organizations or start-ups to create unique opportunities. 

      The course is taught in a very interactive fashion. Therefore, attendance is essential and your participation matters. The format is intense, but allows you to focus on the subject matter and to have engaging debates and discussions in the classroom. Consequently, the course will provide you with an insightful and fun learning environment. Applying the theoretical and practical knowledge is a central aspect of this course. Therefore, it will include several practical examples and cases.  

      All sessions will be highly interactive, with sufficient room for discussion, group presentations focusing on applying the theory to practical examples, and small group exercises. The approach is strongly participative and based on the co-creation method of learning. Co-creation involves developing deeper relationships between you and me as the facilitator, and between you and other learning partners in the class. Education is perceived as a shared endeavor where learning and teaching are done with you not to you. Co-creation method of teaching and learning is therefore a collaborative, reciprocal process through which all participants have the opportunity to contribute equally, although not necessarily in the same ways, to curricular or pedagogical conceptualization, decision making, implementation, investigation, or analysis. 

      Each week, we will have team assignments to be prepared for the next session. You will be working on the assignment pertinent to the theme and content of the next session during the week, and you will then present your outcome of the assignment in terms of a short presentation in the next session, and we will have profound and in-depth discussions about your presentations. This way, we will learn a lot by doing and by engaging in intellectual discussions and debates. In order to have interesting sessions and to benefit from them to the fullest, you need to come to the class well-prepared. 

      At the end of the lecture series, you will be asked to demonstrate your understanding of opportunity creation in an individual assignment. This individual assignment will cover all materials of the course (i.e., material covered during sessions, assigned readings and academic articles, selected assigned videos, slides of lectures, and insights that you collect during sessions via discussions). The assignment will be a take-home assignment and include some questions about the application of theories, concepts, and models that we discussed in this course in a chosen setting. Questions will be open questions and will cover the application and synthesis of concepts, models, and theories covered in the course and its underlying lectures, slides, videos, and readings. 

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. H. Fasaei

    • Running a start-up requires operating under high uncertainty and navigating through often chaotic environments, where information may be scarce and unreliable. In this course, we will focus on the customer discovery process and address a set of skills that can help early-stage entrepreneurs with their opportunity pursuit. In particular, we will discuss the process of identifying one’s core business assumptions and engage in actively testing them by soliciting and analyzing potential customers’ feedback.  In doing so, we will also discuss the role of leadership in this context, as well as the characteristics of highly-effective teams and explore how these can impact the performance, motivation and culture of the venture. Using a set of experiential tools, we will also practice how to interview customers for maximum insight, how to effectively revise and update one’s business concept and how to generate commitment and traction for one’s idea. We will also focus on a range of influence tactics and negotiation techniques, which you can apply when testing for a product-market fit.  The overall aim of the course is to provide practical knowledge and skills that future entrepreneurs can apply when developing, testing and validating their hypotheses about a business opportunity.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by Dr. M. Cholakova

    • Many students and alumni from RSM Erasmus University will – at some stage in their career – consider entrepreneurship as a serious opportunity. This course focuses on real-life challenges and problems during the (pre-) startup phase of new business creation and its growth. The overall objective is to improve the ability of course participants to define start-up and growth problems, to diagnose them, and to recommend solutions. This course builds on theoretical and empirical explanations to explore how entrepreneurs cope with developmental challenges. This will improve the competence of students to evaluate opportunities and start-up initiatives as well as increase their readiness to start and grow new businesses themselves.

      The case method utilized is a sound base to handle entrepreneurial startup & growth. Studying the process dimensions of entrepreneurship will challenge you to critically explore the differences between new business venturing efforts within established corporations and venturing efforts of start-ups. Moreover, guest lecturers are invited to challenge you in class: with their help we will transform the classroom into a clashroom.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. Y. Liu.

    • In today’s dynamic and continuously changing business environment, entrepreneurship is an essential and indispensable element in the success of many organizations. Corporate entrepreneurship (or intrapreneurship) refers to activities involved in creating and exploiting new resource combinations in the context of existing corporations. Although many business books purport to teach top management how to create a culture that nurtures visionaries like Sergey Brin (Google) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), the ability to think and act entrepreneurially and engage in ongoing processes of creativity often fails because established organizations present hostile environments for entrepreneurial ideas. This core course focuses primarily on organizational and managerial efforts aimed at the identification, development and exploitation of entrepreneurial ideas, the management of new product or process developments, and on effective new venture management in the context of large corporations. Topics include ways how organizations can stimulate corporate entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial action, work contexts, exploration and exploitation.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. A. Distel​​​​​​​.


    • The aim of this course is to offer the foundational considerations for starting your thesis project. Specifically, it focuses on a variety of topics around the first, theory-focused part of your thesis (rather than the empirical part)—including topic choice, research question formulation, framing, and hypothesis development. These topics will be addressed in a series of lectures, building on published work on doing research as well as the experiences and submissions of prior students.
      In addition to these subjects, a key aim of the course is to provide students with practical insights with respect to writing academic work, including but not limited to: identifying relevant literature, the issue of plagiarism, writing style, referencing style, reading academic papers, organizing your notes, and using the TOP system.  

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. P. Klopf​​​​​​​.


    • The aim of Your Future Career is to prepare students at an early stage in their MSc for their career.

      When you care about what you do, you will enjoy your work more, create greater impact, and be more successful in being a force for positive change. However, it can be difficult to identify what your passion is, where your competencies and skills will be useful, and which professional environment and culture are the best match for you. Therefore, RSM Career Centre has developed a course to put you in the driver's seat of your career, and to support you in identifying your first career step after graduation and preparing for it.

      The online modules of “Your Future Career” will help you make crucial steps towards the most suitable internship or job for you. To pass the course you need to gain a minimum of 50 points by 31 January 2022, 16:00. You can decide yourself if you want to reflect on your interests and motivations, develop knowledge of the job market, functions, companies and industries, receive peer feedback on your application materials, have contact with an alumni mentor or attend an interactive workshop.

      The course will be offered to MSc programmes who opted in for this. The Your Future Career course takes place in block 1 and 2 (30 August 2021– 31 January 2022) and is awarded 1 ECTS based on pass/fail.

      Contact: RSM Career Centre via

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. M. Szymanowski & L. Keir.

    • Technological change (e.g., the emergence of new digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things) leads to major organizational challenges for many firms. In recent years, the investments in industrial research and development (R&D) have increased in many sectors. To provide a beneficial organizational context for the exploration, assimilation, retention, and exploitation of new technological knowledge, firms need to consider specific organizational and management concepts, which are addressed in detail in this course.

      The students gain detailed knowledge about fundamental issues concerning strategies, organizational capabilities and organizational designs with respect to technological change. Among other aspects, the course addresses organizational issues related to technology forecasting, knowledge governance, R&D processes and structures, absorption of new external knowledge, strategic technology alliances, technology-based M&A activities, as well as leadership and HR management in R&D.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. A. Distel.

    • If you want to know more about developing a business model for a startup and/or setting up your own venture, the Entrepreneurial Lab course is for you. Within an intense and hand-on experiential approach, the Entrepreneurial Lab course allows you exploring a business opportunity with your team and testing its potential value.

      This course provides advanced master students with a practical, yet rigorous understanding of the role, the analytics, and the process of business planning that leads to the successful creation of new ventures. Above all, students will be responsible to develop their own professional networks. As it’s a hands-on course, you will learn about business modelling, how to refine opportunities, analyse feasibility, financial planning, and organisational implementation. You will write a weekly blog and a business report and pitch your idea to a jury of experts. In previous years our students launched successful new businesses, including Senz Umbrellas, Symbid and

      Working with other MSc SE students as a team you will develop your own business; practical experience of the process means you gain a thorough understanding of the role played by planning in the successful creation of new ventures, and you’ll have personal experience of the analytical processes  that take place.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by Dr. L. Berchicci.

    • Behind each successful venture, there is an investor. No ventures can scale without sufficient funding and mentoring from investors. However, ventures successfully backed by investors are a select group as fewer than 5% of ventures receive funding of which only about 25% ever return their invested capital. Selecting ventures that hit a homerun is an exception rather than a rule. As it is difficult to predict which venture will successfully scale up, we need ‘smart’ investment strategies that help to cope with these uncertainties.

      In this course, we will learn that investing in ventures is more than simply making ‘random bets’. Entrepreneurial investments can be understood and managed. The course guides students through the investment process of selecting, monitoring, and exiting ventures. We will get to know the different types of entrepreneurial investors, such as venture capitalists, corporate investors, and governmental investors. We will discuss topics such as the venture capital investment model, combining strategic and financial investment goals, investing under uncertainty, staged decision-making, syndication, venture selection and monitoring techniques, and exit strategies. The knowledge and analytical skills gained in this course will be particularly valuable for students who are seeking a career in high-technology industries, venture capital, new business development, and consulting.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by Dr. S. Koster

    • Most students from RSM will be confronted with new business development at some stage in their careers. This course aims to serve as a pilot test for you, assessing your strength and weakness in entrepreneurial practices. To do so, this course will collaborate with multiple companies and provide tangible business projects for you, with the aim to address real business challenges related to new business development. As a result, you will face the full complexity of new business development. To assist you navigate the project, a reference contact from the company will actively work with you during the six weeks of the course.  

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. Z. Wu.

    • Subject

      In daily and business life, you can find yourself in situations where you want to get something done, but you do not have much to offer as an exchange. For example, you want to initiate a project or business, but you are lacking cash, knowledge and resources. You may have an idea for a great new product, but your superiors are only supportive when it takes a limited investment and no excessive risks. Or you want to expand your network with some highly-regarded people, potential employers or difficult to approach customers for your own business, but those people may not find you very interesting. These situations are in a basic sense similar to all ‘ventures’ where success depends on your ability to mobilize other people and to reduce risks. Entrepreneurial bootstrapping is the pursuit of success (or getting things done) with limited resources and with the help of others (or free outside help). In general, bootstrapping refers to a self-starting and self-sustaining process that is supposed to proceed without external help or input. The origins of the term seemingly go back to the 19th century American in the phrase ‘to pull oneself over a fence by one’s bootstraps’[1], to mean carrying out an absurdly impossible task.[2]


      Five subthemes of bootstrapping are distinguished and discussed. First, the basic principles of bootstrapping will be introduced: informal and creative resource acquisition, the use of networks, networking and influencing skills, entrepreneurial marketing (marketing on a shoestring) and entrepreneurial finance (do more with less). Second, in the so-called creative resource acquisition perspective, bootstrapping is an original strategy of obtaining resources without a big spending effort), for instance through a direct exchange of goods and/or services with others without money (barter trade) or by making creative use of the limited resources one has at its disposal (e,g. effectuation, frugal innovation and bricolage). Third, networking is at the heart of any bootstrapping effort. The lectures will cover networking theory, i.e. the purposes and potential effects of networking, and how networking partners can be a source of free information and advice, followed by paying attention to more specific networking skills on how to get in touch and build a relationship, and subsequently, how to influence other people and/or benefit from ‘relevant others’, such as friends, family members, mentors and coaches. Fourth, in discussing the topic of entrepreneurial marketing, an exploration is sought of the emerging phenomena of innovation by users, open-source projects, and crowdsourcing. User innovation basically implies that there are many users out there who develop their own products to use themselves – and they generally share their innovations for free! Open-source projects imply that a distributed community of users contributes to an overall project. Crowdsourcing, finally, is the act of outsourcing tasks to an undefined, large group of people or community through an open call, implying that you can mobilize people to work for you. Fifth, within the framework of entrepreneurial finance, bootstrapping refers to the different financial strategies entrepreneurs pursue to keep the venture under their control (not diluting all kinds of bootstrapping techniques involving cheap ownership and equity in the company), turning key fixed costs into variable costs, or by effectively managing cash flows and making process within the firm efficient. The entrepreneurial finance approach will be elaborated by considering money and crowdfunding.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by Dr. W. Hulsink

      [1] Bootstraps are the tabs or handles at the top of tall boots, allowing one to use fingers or a hook to help pulling the boots on.

      [2] An impossible action, almost similar to bootstrapping, can be found in the 19th century book The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen by RE von Raspe, where the main character pulls himself (and his horse) out of a swamp by his hair (or more precisely, by his pigtail).

    • The world has been increasingly viewing new ventures within a societal framework. Nearly every venture creates or destroys value for customers, suppliers, employees, and communities, in addition to shareholders. These individuals, which are commonly referred to as stakeholders, might be either actively involved with the work of new ventures, or passively engaged in gain or loss as a result of the venturing activities. Key stakeholders could make or break the success of new ventures. Developing skills to successfully governing stakeholder relationship is therefore vital to entrepreneurs. In this course, I will take a relational (in academic term: behavioral) lens to equip you with know-how regarding how to be “swim with sharks” (i.e., stakeholders) in your entrepreneurial journey.  

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. Z. Wu.

    • Family firms are ubiquitous across space, time and industries. Family businesses do not only represent small, private companies. Founders or founding families are important controlling owners of large corporations listed on stock exchanges around the world. Famous examples of family businesses are IKEA, Harley Davidson and Heineken. As such, family businesses represent a very important force for the economic and social development anywhere in the world. At the same time, family control raises unique value-creating opportunities as well as challenges for family businesses and their different stakeholders, such as customers, financiers, suppliers, partners, employees, board members and owners. 

      This course introduces students to the widespread, yet complex, phenomenon of family business. It touches upon several important themes, such as strategy development, succession, governance, conflicts, business continuation, and more. The aim of this course is to introduce concepts and practical learning situations which will help the students to make sense of family businesses and to assist them in better understanding and dealing with the unique opportunities and challenges faced by different family business stakeholders. 

      The course is specially designed for those who are interested in working in family businesses (e.g., as managers and/or owners) or with family businesses (e.g., as advisors or consultants), and for those coming from a family business background themselves. Whatever their future role will be, students will find it useful to understand the uniqueness of these organizations. During the course, the students will develop their own perspective on family business. After the course, the students should be able to apply in practice appropriate models and theories presented during the course, as well as critically examine models and theories regarding family business development. 

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. G. Criaco 

    • All over the world, firms are being disrupted by fast-moving, innovative startups such as Uber, AirBnB, Spotify and Snapchat. Startups are known for their innovative business models, exciting and promising ideas, and organizational agility. In contrast, large firms have an abundance of resources, scale advantages, power and experience (Weiblen & Chesbrough, 2015). Rather than simply competing, both large firms and startups have started to see the advantages of joining forces, allowing new innovations to emerge.
      Through corporate venturing, the corporation may invest in a startup within or outside of the organizational domain (Sharma & Chrisman, 1999). However, despite their promising outlook, corporate venturing activities are often not successful for both the investor and the startup. Because of the potentially high risks and high rewards involved, corporate venturing has been compared to ‘swimming with sharks’. In this course at the intersection of strategy and entrepreneurship, we will therefore focus on both the benefits and challenges of managing a corporate venturing portfolio.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by J. Duijsters MSc.

    • How can firms gain and sustain their competitive advantage in increasingly competitive environment? Firms have realized that a focal source of competitive advantage lies in internationalization. At the same time, they have realized that increasing internationalization also bears challenges by exposing firms to competition from domestic as well as foreign firms. Furthermore, there are three factors that complicate the management beyond a firm’s domestic market: First, the potentially fundamental differences of markets, second, the scale and complexity of cross-border business, and third, the uncertainty revolving around the economic and political conditions between countries. In this elective, we will address these factors and their implications for firms’ competitive advantages in international markets and their considerations to move into foreign markets on the one hand, as well as for firms’ decisions regarding how they intend to operate across borders on the other hand. This will help us understand global strategy, why some firms thrive, while similar ones may struggle in the global marketplace. 

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. P. Klopf.

    • Several underlying assumptions of out current economic system – such as profit as the fundamental purpose of business, opportunism as the key feature of managers’ behavior, and competition as the key process for reaching prosperity – have been subject to increasingly fierce contention in recent times. As stakeholders embrace a notion of organizations being responsible for the wider societal good, several questions arise. Why do corporations not do more to achieve social goals? How can enterprises overcome the limitations of the capitalist system? How are impact organizations designed, founded, and managed?

      Along these big questions, this course will explore the organizing dynamics and practical challenges of managing an impact organization. The focus is on unravelling features, conditions, potential, and limitations of such organizations. Yet, the knowledge gained from this course is applicable in strategic contexts beyond the boundaries of impact creation.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by Yannick Wiessner​​​​​​​ and S.M. Musa.

    • Social entrepreneurship is an emerging field of academic study and real-world practice. At its core, social entrepreneurship pertains the combination of market-based and nonprofit approaches to solve social issues, a feat social entrepreneurs achieve by combining the knowledge and skills used in traditional business with a passionate commitment to having a meaningful and sustainable social impact. By combining insights from the academic literature with real cases and scenarios, the course will introduce students to both theory and practice of social entrepreneurship.

      Each week, the course will focus on one important aspect or theme of social entrepreneurship, through two types of lectures: a “theoretical” lecture and a “workshop”.

      • “Theoretical” lectures will compose the first appointment of each one of the six weeks of the course. These lectures will take the form of traditional frontal lectures where the lecturer will cover the material related to the week’s topic.
      • “Workshop” lectures will instead compose the second appointment of each week and will focus on interweaving the theoretical content covered in previous lectures with real case scenarios and practical exercises. Such lectures will be interactive in nature, with in-class exercises (both individual and in groups), case-studies, and contributions from guest practitioners.

      The six weeks of the course will cover the following topics

      • Week 1. Social Entrepreneurship: definition and characteristics
      • Week 2. Social entrepreneurs and opportunities recognition
      • Week 3. Hybrid business models for social enterprises
      • Week 4. Scaling impact in social entrepreneurship
      • Week 5. Evaluating social impact
      • Week 6. Group projects final presentations

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​ for more details.

      Taught by dr. P. Versari​​​​​​​

    • The Research Methodology course guides you through the thesis research process and gives you the tools you need to write a high-quality master thesis. You will attend plenary introductory lectures, workshops sessions on specific research methods and meetings with your thesis supervisor. Depending on your preference, you may develop your thesis using either qualitative methods, such as interviews, observations and personal fieldwork, or quantitative methods such as surveys and secondary data.

      The challenges of qualitative research such as case studies are widely underestimated. While it is obvious that quantitative research cannot be conducted without mastering relevant statistical or mathematical techniques, many researchers engage in qualitative research without having the requisite knowledge and skills. This course seeks to endow prospective researchers with the insights needed to adequately perform one type of qualitative research: case studies.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      This course is taught by dr. FH Wijen & Wenjie Liu MSc.

    • In this course students will learn how to do empirical research. The course touches upon the fundamentals of research design and quantitative research, in addition to more advanced statistical tools. In addition to the lectures, a set of video tutorials provide deeper insights into the specifics of using statistical software and running various models therein. The course is attended jointly by students from two programmes: Strategic Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management.

      This course seeks to provide students with the practical tools and theoretical vocabulary required to understand conduct, and critically evaluate quantitative empirical research. During the course, students are exposed to the key types of models, their assumptions, common data collection approaches, and statistical software needed to become a successful, independent researcher.

      The following key questions are addressed in the course: First, what research design is the best fit with my research question? Second, how do I measure the concepts underpinning my research question? Third, what data do I need to collect to address this question, and what tools should I use to collect this data? Fourth, what statistical models are best suited to analyse these data? And, finally, how do I report the results of my analyses in a rigorous and statistically sound manner? This course offers answers to these questions, which are of critical importance to anyone conducting quantitative research.

      Review the course guide​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ for more details.

      This course is taught by dr. RFJ Haans & dr. ME Flowers

    • For your master thesis, you will develop and apply scholarly knowledge with a focus on making a practical impact. You can organise your thesis process in such a way that you test your business idea and expand your network, for example by carefully choosing who you interview. Depending on your preference, you can make a rigorous academic contribution, develop a case study, or give advice to existing organisations to become better at business development.

      In this course students will learn how to do empirical research. The course touches upon the fundamentals of research design and quantitative research, in addition to more advanced statistical tools. In addition to the lectures, a set of video tutorials provide deeper insights into the specifics of using statistical software and running various models therein. The course is attended jointly by students from two programmes: Strategic Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management.


Note regarding taking courses if you are not an RSM master student: RSM does not offer the possibility for non-RSM students (master or otherwise) to take RSM MSc courses outside of official exchange partnerships or other inter-faculty agreements. If you are interested in learning more about corporate social responsibility, sustainability, or business ethics, please refer to our Open Programmes section.

For more information on all international opportunities offered at RSM, visit the website of our International Office.