Curriculum

Curriculum

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 also have to increasingly navigate more complex 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 about contemporary issues in strategy and to practice them through case discussions, group exercises, and guest lectures.

      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 technological developments. The fast pace of innovation require 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 about navigating an increasingly complex innovation landscape and to practice it through case discussions and group exercises.

      Review the course guide for more details. 

      Taught by dr. K. Kavusan.

    • In today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) business environment the challenges of strategy development and implementation are greater than ever before. This course teaches you a new approach to strategic decision making to motivate and mobilize stakeholders to achieve the business’s overarching goals, such as making a profit and delivering on people- and planet-related objectives.
      The course consists of 6 sessions. Articles, book chapters, case studies and (short) videos help you prepare for the sessions. In the sessions you work on real-world cases and exchange insights. Your skills are tested by means of an individual exam based on a case.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. M. Baaij.

    • Companies are ever more relying on mergers & acquisitions (M&As) and alliances as different modes of corporate development to promote new learning, capability development and value creation. In a world where pressures for globalization, technological developments and time-compression incur a blurring of traditional organizational boundaries, the sets of managerial actions that enable relatively discontinuous changes in corporate growth and scope are a critical element of firm strategy and competitiveness. The past two decades have experienced a dramatic increase in mergers, acquisitions and alliances, both domestically and internationally, but there is also empirical evidence showing that a significant proportion is not giving the expected results.

      The objective of this course is to help participants develop a conceptual and practical understanding of the role of acquisitions and alliances in the general context of corporate development. After successfully completing the course, students will have to their availability a toolkit that helps them deal with the nuts and bolts of alliances and acquisitions from a strategic angle. This includes tools to make a choice between acquisitions and alliances based on their pros and cons, as well as to assess their implications and integration into firms’ corporate strategies. Practically, this also involves tools assessing the specific ways in which resources of companies can be integrated to achieve corporate growth, value creation and competitive advantage, while highlighting the pitfalls. The course also pays attention to the managerial challenges alliances and acquisitions pose by addressing the levers of successfully integrating acquisitions, controlling alliances, selecting targets and partners, developing alliance/acquisition capabilities and managing portfolios of alliances and acquisitions, as well as the role of social capital in realizing these. The course develops state-of-the-art understanding of the risks and returns associated with acquisitions and alliances, 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.

    • This course combines key insights from the areas of Strategic Management and International Business to shed light on the topic of international business strategy. International business strategy means effectively and efficiently matching a multinational firm’s internal strengths (relative to competitors) with the opportunities and challenges found in institutionally and geographically dispersed environments that cross international borders. Such matching is a requirement for creating value and satisfying stakeholders’ goals, both domestically and internationally, and hence for survival and good performance.

      Since globalization has increased both the opportunities and challenges found in the international business environment, forming and executing successful international business strategies has become increasingly complex for firms. Developing and building on a unifying framework of the practitioner-oriented literature on international business strategies, this course familiarizes students with the core concepts and dynamics associated with such strategies, thereby increasing students’ academic understanding of successful international strategy formation and implementation.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by prof. H. van Oosterhout.

    • 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. R. Haans.

       

    • 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. But 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. RSM Career Centre has therefore developed a course aiming to put you in the driver seat of your own career and to support you in identifying and preparing for your first career step after graduation. 
       
      Through several online modules, the “Your Future Career “ course will help you make crucial steps towards landing the best suitable internship or job. Your career development begins with personal reflection on interests and motivations, before moving on to developing knowledge of the job market, functions, companies and industries. Once you have targeted your role and sector, you will intensively work on preparing your internship or job applications.
       
      The course consists of several blended-learning online modules, which all have individual assessments and learning objectives. Through these modules you will:

      • explore your own personality, skills and competencies,
      • investigate industries, career paths and job opportunities
      • learn how to prepare a job application and an interview.

      To achieve this you will participate in several activities, including: creating a personal career plan, virtual job applications, online peer feedback interaction, mentoring, video interviewing and self-assessment.
       

      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. But 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. RSM Career Centre has therefore developed a course aiming to put you in the driver seat of your own career and to support you in identifying and preparing for your first career step after graduation. 
       
      Through several online modules, the “Your Future Career “ course will help you make crucial steps towards landing the best suitable internship or job. Your career development begins with personal reflection on interests and motivations, before moving on to developing knowledge of the job market, functions, companies and industries. Once you have targeted your role and sector, you will intensively work on preparing your internship or job applications.
       
      The course consists of several blended-learning online modules, which all have individual assessments and learning objectives. Through these modules you will:

      • explore your own personality, skills and competencies,
      • investigate industries, career paths and job opportunities
      • learn how to prepare a job application and an interview.

      To achieve this you will participate in several activities, including: creating a personal career plan, virtual job applications, online peer feedback interaction, mentoring, video interviewing and self-assessment.
       

    • In this course we will identify and learn how to apply a set of managerial skills that can improve your ability to communicate and interact with others more effectively. We will focus on a range of examples from successful leaders and managers and build a toolbox of skills that can help you achieve greater impact within an organization. In particular, we will zoom in on different leadership styles and decision making approaches and explore how these can affect the performance, motivation and culture of the members of an organization. We will further focus on strategies for making good decisions and discuss ways to avoid common mistakes and biases. Being an effective manager and leader will also require learning how to handle difficult employees and to manage one’s team and thus we will further identify a set of techniques for effective conflict resolution, as well as a range of influence tactics and mechanisms. In addition, we will discuss different negotiation styles and learn how best to align individuals’ goals, interests and values with those of the organization. Lastly, we will focus on how to brand one’s ideas in a powerful and convincing way, by analysing a set of effective storytelling techniques and nonverbal behaviours. The overall aim of the course is to provide practical knowledge and skills that can enhance the managerial effectiveness of the participating students.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. M. Cholakova

    • 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 difference?), sustainability vehicles (how to engage a variety of stakeholders?), arenas of sustainable business (how to position sustainable business in different 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.

    • You can learn to think like a top tier strategy consultant.

      This course teaches you how to analyse and solve complex business problems, just like the world’s top tier management consulting firms, such as McKinsey & Company. Their successful problem-solving method and techniques enable you to develop more effective solutions to complex strategic and other business problems. The method and techniques are valuable to you whether you want to become a consultant, a manager or an entrepreneur.  In addition, you will deepen your understanding of the workings of strategy consulting firms and the dynamics of the strategy consulting industry.

      In a series of workshops, a guest workshop by a top tier strategy consultancy firm, and a group project, you will learn the top tier strategy consultants’ method and techniques:  

      •        how to identify the real strategic issue instead of an assumed issue;

      •        how to decompose issues to uncover insights missed by others;

      •        how to formulate hypotheses to become more focused and reach results faster;

      •        how to design customised analyses – instead of using standard frameworks -  to test your hypotheses;

      •        how to design a structured and convincing PowerPoint presentation.

       

      In the workshops you will also deepen your understanding of:

      •        the origin and evolution of strategy consultancy

      •        the impact of strategy consultancy at the level of the client, their industry, and the society

      •        the disruption of the strategy consultancy industry

      •        the strategy consultancy firms and their business models

      •        the strategy consultancy clients and other stakeholders

      •        the marketing and acquisition of strategy consultancy projects

      •        the management of strategy consultancy projects

      •        recruitment and careers in strategy consultancy

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. M.G. Baaij and 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, they will undermine strategic decision-making, and cause puzzling deficiencies in the formulation and implementation of strategies.  Becoming successful strategists 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 psychological nature of consequential strategic processes.  Moreover, you will learn how to become smarter strategic decision-makers.  Successful strategy formulation and implementation 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 the psychology of mergers & acquisitions.  Yet, the knowledge and skills you gain from the course are also valuable in many other contexts and processes that you would encounter as a manager, entrepreneur or consultant.  The M&A process as a complex, consequential strategic process provides a rich illustration of 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 professionally managed. As a result, most firms are unable to innovate and thus create new value, and among those who are able to create new value, few are able to capture it. In this course, we will learn why firms struggle to create and capture new value. Finally, we will share a number of concepts on how to implement innovation in an organization. The aim of the course is to provide a set of concepts as well as practical tools and processes that can be used by managers in their organizations to manage innovation better.

      View the course guide for more details.

      This course is taught by dr. SM Ansari

    • Small firms and start-ups play an increasingly important role in our economy.  Research and development spending by small firms has increased and many disruptive innovations have started out as new entrants to an industry. This is a major threat to existing firms.

      How do some large firms continuously succeed in creating new businesses, while others barely manage to follow? How can they deal in a most effective way with the turbulence and uncertainty that often characterizes the environment that they operate in? Over the past decades, corporations such as Shell, DSM and KLM have invested heavily in the creation of dedicated corporate venturing units, to identify and further develop new business opportunities. Corporate venturing can be achieved in different ways, including: taking a minority position in a startuip company (corporate venture capital), building a new business as a stand-alone unit, or building a new business inside the existing firm with a structure allowing for managerial autonomy and independence. This course will discuss strategies, organizational structures and implementation challenges of new ventures within an established corporation as well as options to leverage external partners outside the boundaries of the corporation within the process of new business development.

      Review the course guide for more information.

      Taught by J. Duijsters MSc.

    • To be announced.

      Review the course guide for more information.

      Taught by prof. T. Reus.

    • 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.

    • 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. The aim of this course is build a deep-level understanding of formulation and implementation of strategies to generate innovation outcomes through alliances and acquisitions. You will have the opportunity to apply this understanding to real-life cases that will be discussed during the course, and to a company of your choice, in a group project. During this course you will develop

      • A solid conceptual foundation of how a company can benefit from alliances and acquisitions to generate innovation outcomes.
      • An ability to identify appropriate alliance partners and acquisition targets, and to specify a knowledge utilization strategy, for a company depending on its innovation-related goals.
      • An accurate understanding of how a company should balance between its internal organization, alliances and acquisitions to maximize its overall innovation potential.

      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

    • The course is specially designed for those who are interested in working in (e.g. as owner and/or manager) or with (e.g. as advisor and consultant) family businesses, and for those thinking of taking over a family business. During the course you will develop your own perspective on family businesses. The aim is not only to prepare you to work in a family business, but also to work with family businesses (i.e., to advise and consult these firms). Since most businesses are family businesses, understanding their unique characteristics and challenges is key to be a successful advisor, accountant, consultant or employee and manager.

      Review the course guide for more information.

      Taught by dr. G. Criaco and M. Leusder MSc.

    • 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.

      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 courses outside of official exchange partnerships or other inter-faculty agreements.