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The RSM MSc in Strategic Management 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.


    • Strategic management is concerned with what is perhaps the most pressing issue for practicing managers: how can I make my firm outperform its competitors? To formulate such value-creating strategies, managers must identify a suitable business model, formulate growth strategies, identify core capabilities, and develop new ways of outcompeting their rivals. Firms are also increasingly confronted with more multifaceted environments such as business ecosystems as well respond to rapid technological innovations, such as for example new digital technologies. This course allows students to acquire relevant knowledge and skills needed to accomplish these activities and navigate the strategic decision-making process in an increasingly uncertain and complex business environment.


      The emphasis in this class lies not on identifying the “right” answer, instead the focus is on creating a learning environment that stimulates students’ critical engagement with the study material. Teaching methods therefore include a combination of lectures, plenary discussions, guest lectures, webcasts, group exercises and case work. Students are expected to prepare the assigned material and webcasts prior to each class in order to be able to be able to contribute to the interactive classroom discussions as well as being able to complete in-class group exercises.

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

      Taught by dr. M. Benischke.


    • In addition to formulating a competitive strategy that leverages a firm`s competencies, it is also important to update the strategy in response to developments that change the dynamics of competition. The fast pace of innovation requires firms to constantly upgrade their product and service offerings to remain competitive and be ambidextrous: firms should not only focus on exploiting their existing capabilities, but also on developing new and complementary competencies. Two important skills to strategically change a business is to deploy existing competencies in innovative ways, and to locate and benefit from external knowledge that will facilitate new innovations. This course allows students to acquire relevant knowledge and skills about navigating an increasingly complex innovation landscape and to practice it through case discussions and group exercises. Throughout the course there will be a healthy mix of theory and its application in real-life situations.

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

      Taught by dr. K. Kavusan.

    • In today's world competitive advantages erode faster and faster. Globalization, technological development and industry convergence pressure organizations to put more emphasis on corporate strategy. Corporate strategy revolves around the 4 themes of boundaries, diversification, synergy, and innovation. Traditionally, corporate strategy involves the choice in which markets a company is active and managers decided mainly about diversification and resource allocation. These days corporate strategy also concerns leveraging resources across a company’s businesses to create both cost-reducing and value-enhancing synergies and to spur innovation. To get access to relevant resources they do not possess, firms increasingly look beyond their boundaries and seek to acquire and ally with organizations. Such corporate development decisions have become an essential activity of corporate strategy, making corporate development departments central units in many organizations.

      The objective of this course is to help participants develop a conceptual and practical understanding of corporate strategy and the role of corporate development. After successfully completing the course, students will have to their availability a toolkit and skills that help them steer corporate strategy decisions. This includes tools to assess, transform and organize a corporate portfolio of businesses. It also includes tools to make a choice between acquisitions and alliances, and attention will be paid to the implications and managerial challenges alliances and acquisitions pose by addressing the levers of successfully creating value, selecting targets and partners, integrating acquisition targets and controlling alliances. Finally, in addition to accessing new resources through alliances and acquisitions, the shedding of resources through corporate divestments will be addressed. As part of the skills trajectory across the core courses, this course develops two important corporate skills: portfolio analysis and target valuation. Overall, the course develops state-of-the-art understanding of the risks and returns associated with corporate strategy and corporate development, and the managerial skills and capabilities needed to be successful.

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

      Taught by dr. R. van Wijk and dr. A. Nadolska.

    • Positioning: In contrast to business-level strategy, which is about the question how firms can secure a competitive advantage in a single product or service market, corporate strategy is about corporate advantage and the question how firms can secure advantages from different business activities being incorporated into a single business entity: a corporation. While the Corporate Growth and Development (BM03SM) course focuses mostly on the question how to optimally manage (potential) synergies between different business activities and resources by growing or acquiring/merging them into a single corporate entity, the Corporate Ownership and Governance course (BM04SM) will focus more on the question how to understand and manage the governance costs that result from managing (different) business activities, or business models within the boundaries of a single corporate entity. As such, this course confers the concepts, theoretical frameworks, empirical knowledge, as well as the analytical skills and critical attitudes that are required to evaluate the ownership and governance of firms, with the ultimate objective of learning how to develop the ownership and governance strategy for a firm as a critical component of its overall corporate strategy.

      Substantial focus: Corporate governance is about ‘the rules of the game’ within which firms develop and exploit their resources and undertake business activities to create and appropriate value. These ‘rules of the game’ are shaped both at the country level (e.g. markets, laws, culture) and at the level of the firm (e.g. ownership, the board, alliances, etc.), at which level they are most flexible. At the firm level, these rules of the game include the ownership of the firm, its basic decision-making structures and practices, as well as the accountability structures and practices through which those who make and/or execute decisions can be held accountable by those bearing residual risk from those decisions. In publicly listed firms, for example, executives make the bulk of everyday decisions, while dispersed and therefore mostly uninvolved shareholders (as well as other stakeholders) bear the risks that result from them. This has traditionally made the question how dispersed, and uninvolved shareholders can secure maximal returns from the firm a central corporate governance challenge for publicly listed firms. A striking fact about economic reality, however, is that there do not just exist publicly listed firms, but many different forms of ownership, such as: partnerships, cooperatives, family firms, state-owned firms, and non-profit organizations, that each dominate specific industries, such as accounting, agriculture, defense, higher education, and healthcare, for example. These different forms of ownership face their own distinctive corporate governance challenges, and will therefore need to develop a set of equally distinctive set of corporate governance structures and practices to meet these challenges. As a result, there does not exist any single corporate governance model that is suitable for all firms.

      Overarching aim: Given that is there exists no best single solution to questions of corporate ownership and governance, the overarching aim of this course is to develop a strategic understanding of corporate ownership and governance. In this view, the ultimate aim of corporate ownership and governance is to align the firm’s ownership, decision-making, and accountability structures and practices, on the one hand, with its strategy, core activities, key resources, and critical resource dependencies, on the other. In order to develop a strategic understanding of corporate governance, we will discuss various forms of ownership, such as publicly listed firms, (professional) partnerships, family firms, and new ventures, for example, in order to explore a variety of corporate governance structures and practices that can be implemented to meet these challenges. Because the ownership of the firm generally involves the most fundamental ‘governance choice’ to be made, we will begin by discussing the costs and benefits of different forms of ownership and the specific governance challenges that arise from them. We will also discuss the stakeholders of the firm, however, as well as the governance practices that firms can implement to secure stakeholders’ continued involvement in, or support for, the firm. Finally, we will explore how firms can secure their societal license to operate, because firms as institutions of private ordering, and only exist and function within an institutional context that partly comprised of public ordering (e.g. the state, the law, society, etc).

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

      Taught by prof. H. van Oosterhout, Dr. M. Baaij & Dr. A. Mulder​​​​​​​. 

    • 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.

    • Only 5 percent of our decisions come from rational and deliberate thinking. This means that only a tiny fraction of our decisions are conscious and intentional. The rest of 95 percent of our decisions are based on mental shortcuts, emotions, cognitive biases, and intuition. Becoming aware of those biases and mental shortcuts, the way they work on us as humans, and mastering how they could be used and managed in different situations and walks of life will make the process of decision making strategic, and make the outcomes favorable. After all, we humans are predictably irrational. In this course we will delve into those aspects of irrationality in decision making and discuss how we could predict them and strategically manage them to make the outcomes of humans' decisions and decision making process favorable: for ourselves as individuals, for organizations, and for the society. 

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

      Taught by dr. H. Fasaei​​​​​​​. 

    • The course is structured to include a review of strategic statement development and deconstruct these by utilizing both company prepared reports and external sources to analyze and describe operational performance within the different business units. In addition, it will explore structuring and implementation of different KPIs and related tools in assisting management to implement strategy across an organization. The course will explore the differences between divisional business strategies and how these can/should be operationalized, measured and linked between them.

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

      Taught by dr. A. Brown​​​​​​​.

    • The course will help students explore and better understand how politics and their environments both internally to the enterprise and externally affect strategy formulation with a specific focus on emerging economies

      This module will allow the student to be able to analyze of the inter-related nature of the environment in which business organizations exist and the implications for the way they work.  An introduction to models of industry analysis. An introduction to the main theoretical planning models.  The use and application of financial information relevant to different groups of stakeholders.  The implications and influence of cultural and ethical issues for strategic planning.  The effective strategies for organizational competition and growth.

      The course will include but not be limited to explore Micro-politics, concepts on national, regional and local identifies. The impact of local networks and political capital, Multinationals versus local in contextualization and influencing laws and regulations. The impact of international politics and local enterprises: trade wars, climate change, regional alliances, trade zones, international agreements, WTO. The politics and strategy development of globalization vs localization in emerging nations.

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

      Taught by dr. A. Brown​​​​​​​.

    • Corporate sustainability, inclusive business, corporate (social) responsibility, and shared value creation have been widely embraced by a wide variety of firms. These buzz words basically refer to a firm’s pursuit of social and ecological objectives in addition to the classic economic goals. But what does a strategy to achieve corporate sustainability really look like?
      Building on Hambrick and Fredrickson’s (Academy of Management Executive, 2005) well-known article “Are you sure you have a strategy?,” five components of a sustainable strategy will be identified: a sustainability logic (why to go for sustainable business?), sustainability differentiators (how to make a sustainability-related difference?), sustainability vehicles (how to engage a variety of stakeholders?), arenas of sustainable business (in what sustainability markets?), and staging of a sustainable strategy (how to unfold a sustainable strategy over time?).

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

      Taught by dr. F.H. Wijen and R. Rotmans MSc.

    • •    Understanding why and how some companies survive technological changes, and others do not.
      •    Analyzing various organizational and management dimensions of technological transformation in businesses.
      •    Acquiring and applying relevant concepts and tools related to the exploration, retention, and exploitation of new technologies to solve real company case problems associated with strategic challenges.
      •    Evaluating the effects of different organizational design elements on companies’ technological transformations. 
      •    Recommending strategies for start-ups and incumbents to take advantage of technological disruptions on the basis of relevant concepts and case studies.

      Review the course guide for more information.

      Taught by dr. A. Distel.

    • 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.

    • This course provides insight in the sustainability challenges and the link to finance. The main task of the financial system is to allocate funding to its most productive use. Traditional finance focuses on financial return and regards the financial sector as separate from the society of which it is part and the environment in which it is embedded. By contrast, sustainable finance considers financial, social, and environmental returns in combination and shows how finance can accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, inclusive economy.

      The course reviews evidence that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors matter and explains in detail how to incorporate these in company business models and strategies, equity investing, bond investing, and bank lending. The course examines the financial instruments and techniques that can be applied in the context of evolving climate policies (and other sustainability policies). The tools will be applied in a group assignment on the valuation of a company based on ESG factors.

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

      Taught by prof. D. Schoenmaker.

    • The core element of this course are your consultancy projects. You will start off working in small groups on a field project of your own choice, analyzing the strategic problem or opportunity of your client and developing strategic solutions.  During this project you will be coached by the lecturers, who will provide you detailed feedback. As a major milestone of your project you have the opportunity to present and discuss your intermediate findings in front of a panel consisting of your coach and representatives of a top tier strategy consulting firm.

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

      Taught by dr. X. Welch Guerra and dr J. Klitsie

    • The acquisition process is a complex, uncertain and ambiguous process that requires thorough analysis, due diligence, preparation, and rational choice; but it is often fraught with shortcuts, biases, stereotypes and emotion. Left unchecked, these managerial challenges will undermine strategic decision-making, and cause puzzling deficiencies in the formulation and implementation of acquisitions. Being a successful manager, strategist, analyst or advisor therefore requires having realistic assumptions about human cognition, emotion, and social interaction. In this course, you learn to understand, and develop skills in identifying, analyzing, and dealing with the socio-psychological reality of consequential strategic processes. Ultimately, the goal of the course is to provide you with insight into how to become a smarter decision maker and implementer of consequential strategic events, such as mergers and acquisitions. The formulation and implementation of these events requires not just an understanding of how others are influenced by psychological qualities and constraints but also how you are yourself affected by these qualities and constraints. 

      This course will focus on a managerial perspective of mergers & acquisitions. Yet, the knowledge and skills you gain from the course are also valuable in many other contexts and processes that you will encounter as a manager, entrepreneur or consultant. The M&A process as a complex, consequential strategic process provides a rich illustration of the manager’s challenges and success factors, and the psychological foundations of strategic management. 

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

      Taught by prof.dr. T.H. Reus

    • Increasingly, in today’s fast paced, converging world, sustained innovation is a necessity not only to thrive but also to survive. However, for most firms, the strategies and processes associated with innovation remain vague and are not strategically managed. As a result, most firms are unable to innovate successfully, and thus fail to create meaningful value for their customers.  

      In this course, we will learn how firms could create and capture meaningful value for their customers. 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 managers in their organizations to manage innovation more strategically. 

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

      This course is taught by dr. H. Fasaei​​​​​​​. 

    • 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.

    • Ever done hundreds of repetitive actions on rows in tables? Ever copied daily update information from websites every day? Ever wondered how computer programs work, or how online shops keep track of all items for sale and their stock? 

      Then, this is the elective module for you! You will be learning the basic components of computer programs, write your own programs in Python, trace bugs and inspect variables in Jupyter Notebooks. 

      “Why would I want to be able to write computer programs, or tiny helpers?”, you may ask. Customized computer programs tailored to specific business are used in many companies. Being able, as a manager, to communicate with in-house or hired computer programmers is an asset. 

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

      Course taught by Jeroen Engelberts, with the help of the software developers at RSM in IT Business innovation and IT Research Support

    • 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.

    • The shaping of today’s corporate governance landscape and the functioning of top management teams within it have become a major topic of discussion in the last decade. This interest has been intensified by recent corporate failures among both American and European companies. We have all heard of Enron, WorldCom and Ahold. This course reviews the problems that lay behind such management failures. It focuses on the behavior of the board of directors and of the top management team and on their role in the governance and strategic decision-making processes of large publicly-traded firms. It takes a closer look to actual governance practices of large corporations, their effects on corporate strategy and performance, and it analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of prevalent corporate governance mechanisms that are increasingly used world-wide.
      The course will cover the most essential traditional topics related to strategic leadership and corporate governance as well as recent developments in the area.

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

      Taught by I. Orlandi MSc & R. Blagoeva, MA​​​​​​​

    • As the rate of innovation increases and competition intensifies at the global level, even the largest companies require knowledge, ideas and capabilities from beyond their boundaries to develop innovations. Alliances and acquisitions are therefore becoming increasingly important corporate development activities for many companies to tap into external knowledge sources. Large firms frequently acquire and ally with younger and smaller companies to combine their innovation potential with their own resources and expertise. Smaller firms, including start-ups, need these partnerships with larger firms to convert their innovative ideas into economic value. Realizing the potential benefits of alliances and acquisitions in generating innovations is however no simple task: it requires a careful evaluation of potential alliance partners and acquisition targets, as well as of different knowledge utilization strategies, in terms of their suitability for a company`s innovation-related goals. In this course, we will discuss the benefits of innovation-oriented alliances and acquisitions, challenges of managing them as well as the ways to overcome these challenges. The knowledge and analytical skills gained in this course will be particularly valuable for students seeking a career in high-technology industries, corporate strategy, and consulting.

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

      Taught by dr. K. Kavusan

    • This course addresses a variety of political and social (i.e. non-market) boundaries, which, when considered along with market boundaries, help us understand why some firms thrive and others struggle. The non-market is a sometimes-neglected arena, which can severely limit or enable firms in doing business and influence their strategy. Eventually non-market boundaries can affect firm success, while they are particularly challenging to navigate since non-market actors differ in their motives, objectives and tactics relative to conventional market actors. Overall, the non-market opens up questions calling for strategic answers: How do firms incorporate interests of non-market actors, who are not (primarily) concerned about wealth maximization? How do firms draw the line between and manage their ‘duty’ to their constituents (i.e. non-market strategy) and their obligation to shareholders (i.e. market strategy)? What are the benefits and perils of corporate political and social engagement? Ultimately, is the management of non-market interests a means to an end, or an end in itself? In this elective, we will address these questions and discuss how firms are affected, and how they can themselves affect their non-market context. This will help us understand non-market strategy, why some firms thrive, while similar ones may struggle in the politically and socially colored market. 

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

      Taught by dr. P, Klopf. and dr. C. Witte​​​​​​​

    • As future leaders in the business world, you need to understand what makes people (consumers, investors, employees, and even yourself) tick. This course is intended to expose you to “behavioral” lens to understand why people make the decisions they do, and how to influence them for the better.  Armed with behavioral lens, we will look “rationally” at the ways people behave “irrationally.” In doing so, you will learn actionable insights on how to employ behavioral science to address social and business problems of our time.

      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. Family control, however, raises unique challenges as well as value-creating opportunities 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 challenges and opportunities 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. 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.

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

      Taught by dr. G. Criaco 

    • 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).

    • Negotiation is one of the most important skills that a manager should have in his or her professional life. In our curriculum, however, this important skill has been underemphasized. This course aims to help you be a better negotiator. I will provide you with negotiation tools to effectively persuade others. The specific topics of this course include seeing and expanding the pie, dealing with someone who has a very different perspective on the world, disagreeing respectfully and productively, etc.

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

      Taught by dr Zhiyan Wu​​​​​​​.

    • 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.

      It seems easy to collect and analyse cases, because information about business organisations is abundantly available and all students have a certain experience in interpreting and writing texts. However, a number of thorny issues render qualitative research a challenging task. First, how to know whether the focal research topic lends itself to the use of this type of research? Second, if qualitative research is indeed a suitable method, how to determine what data are most relevant and how to access those data? Third, once all data has been gathered, how to reduce the vast amount of data to manageable proportions and how to make sense of the data? Fourth, after the data analysis, how to report relevant findings in an insightful way? This course offers answers to these questions, which are of critical importance to anyone conducting qualitative research (such as case studies).

      See 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.

      See 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.