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 ECTS). Master electives (18 ECTS) 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 ECTS).

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 a firmly established field of scientific inquiry and management practice. This course teaches you theories, methodologies and debates in the strategy field.

      You will explore:

      1. the process of strategy formulation and implementation;
      2. the managerial implications of the relevant accumulated knowledge.

      We will encourage you to reflect on your understanding of the principles and your implications in a practical setting. This advanced course prepares you for addressing strategic issues by providing you with the appropriate knowledge base and opportunities to enhance your analytical and teamwork skills.     

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by Dr. J. Sidhu and Prof. H. Volberda

    • Many students are most likely familiar with the basic concepts of strategy. While the focus of most courses is to advance students’ understanding of strategy formulation, this core course will deepen students’ knowledge about the even more difficult process of strategy implementation (or execution). Strategy implementation is often misunderstood. It’s “getting your hands dirty” and getting things done, but it’s more than this. It involves macro issues as well as micro issues. It involves conceptual thinking as well as routine elements. It integrates long- and short-term decisions and actions. In short, implementation covers a great deal and integrates much of what you’ll handle in your prospective managerial jobs. The course prepares students for a managerial career through the provision of knowledge and skills relating to the management of strategy implementation processes.

      Review the course guide for more details. 

      Taught by Dr. Mirko Benischke.

    • You are continuously pressured to adapt to globalisation, technological developments and time-compression. The sets of managerial actions that enable changes in corporate growth and scope are critical elements of firm strategy and competitiveness.

      More than ever before, companies are relying on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and alliances as different modes of corporate development to promote new learning, capability development and value creation. The past two decades have experienced a dramatic increase in mergers, acquisitions and alliances, domestically and internationally. However, evidence shows that this doesn’t always achieve the expected results.

      During this course, you will develop:

      1. a conceptual and practical understanding of the role of acquisitions and alliances in the general context of corporate development;
      2. a comprehensive understanding of the risks and returns associated with acquisitions and alliances
      3. the managerial skills and capabilities you need to be successful.

       Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by Dr. Raymond van Wijk and Dr. Anna Nadolska-den Ouden

    • Globalization has increased both the opportunities and the challenges for firms operating across national borders. As a result, forming and executing successful international business strategies has become increasingly complex.

      Extend your strategic management and international business knowledge, and familiarize yourself with international business strategy. Learn how to effectively and efficiently match a multinational firm’s internal strengths with the opportunities and challenges found in institutionally and geographically dispersed environments. Such matching is important because it creates corporate value and enables firms to achieve the goals of their domestic and international stakeholders.

      Based on an overarching yet simple framework of the practitioner-oriented literature, this course familiarizes you with the core concepts and dynamics associated with international business strategies. As a result, you will improve your academic understanding of successful international strategy formation and implementation.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. R.L. Olie and dr. B.C. Pinkham

    • Strategic management is constantly pushing knowledge frontiers further, by developing new insights of relevance to practitioners.

      In this course, you will gain cutting-edge expertise with conducting research in a particular strategy sub-field of your choice.

      This will enable you to:

      1. identify academically and managerially-relevant gaps in the literature;
      2. formulate research questions and devise a research design to address the gaps.

      After two plenary sessions, you will explore strategic management in a series of four work group sessions under the close supervision of an assigned coach.

      You will be expected to have developed a research proposal at the end of the course. This will serve as the foundation for writing your MSc thesis in strategic management in the second half of the programme.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. J.S. Sidhu


    • 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

    • 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

    • This class discusses key issues in strategy execution by asking and developing answers to nine questions that constitute key problems in strategy execution and management control. By the end of the course you should have the ability to find answers to the following questions for different types of organizations.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by S.P.L. Fourne. 

    • Google, Apple, and Amazon as well as countless other firms in the digital landscape are operating what is referred to as the platform-based business model. Platforms differ from traditional markets in that platform owners, the firms coordinating and governing these markets, have to get two or more distinct groups of users on board, and the value of the platform to one group of users (e.g. producers of video games) is contingent on the presence of other groups (e.g. consumers of games). Platform owners that successfully solve this “chicken-and-egg” problem typically enjoy steep adoption rates and, as a result, tend to outperform their rivals. This elective unveils why it is that certain platforms win the standards war where others fail. The course also covers competitive dynamics for the providers of complementary goods, the firms and individuals operating within the confines of platforms. The applications of the course can be found in real-world platforms and phenomena including: video game consoles, peer-to-peer sharing platforms such as Kickstarter and TopCoder, ‘killer apps’ and the long-tail, as well as some canonical examples from recent history including video cassette players and the QWERTY keyboard. The following lectures will be taught: (1) Fighting the standard wars, (2) How network effects work, (3) Beyond pricing: platform rules, (4) Killer-apps and the long tail, (5) Competition within platform markets, and (6) Platforms for the people.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. G.J. Rietveld

    • 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

    • 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

    • Firms experience a wide variety of pressures from multiple different institutions in their environment, such as laws, accreditation agencies, social expectations, or external stakeholders. Not obliging these different institutions can result in fines, loss of accreditation, boycotts, or reduced access to vital knowledge or resources. Yet the expectations from these different institutions are often not in line with the goals of the organisation. Moreover, they tend to conflict with each other as well. Developing an appropriate response to these institutional pressures is an issue faced by every firm. This problem is further amplified for firms that operate internationally, as they face not one set of institutional pressures, but multiple, and often conflicting ones. For example, laws might differ from country to country, or behaviour that is taken for granted in one country might be totally inappropriate in another.
      Since firms are rarely able to satisfy all the institutional pressures they are subjected to, firms need to develop and apply appropriate strategic responses to manage their institutional environment. This course will teach you how to identify the different types of institutional pressures and their potential conflicts, the selection of available strategic responses for firms, and which responses are appropriate for a firm in which situation. An emphasis will be placed on internationally oriented firms and the conflicts that arise due to the different sets of institutions they encounter in the global market.

      Review the course guide for more details.


    • In this elective, you will:

      1. investigate the shaping of today’s corporate governance landscape and the operation of corporate leaders;
      2. review how management failures were caused amongst multinational companies so you can prevent them from happening again;
      3. explore the activities of the board of directors and of top executives and their roles in the governance and strategic decision-making processes of large publicly-traded firms;
      4. take a closer look at actual governance practices of large corporations, their effects on corporate strategy and performance;
      5. analyse the strengths and weaknesses of accepted corporate governance mechanisms that are increasingly being used globally.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. M.H. Benischke

    • Don’t miss this course if you’re seeking a successful career in strategy, marketing and corporate communications. However, the knowledge and analytical skills provided by this elective are applicable in a wider area. Organisational identity has emerged as a powerful, exciting concept to understand and manage organisational behaviour and outcomes in companies as diverse as Apple, Greenpeace and Heineken. You will discuss the nature of organisational identity in this inter-disciplinary course, which draws on economic, political and sociological thought.

      You will examine case studies, act out role plays and use practical illustrations to highlight the different implications for managing organisational identity when it is viewed from modern and post-modern perspectives. You will learn how to manage organisational identity to enable strategic change and to influence corporate image and reputation.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. J.S. Sidhu

    • 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

    • Although we typically envisage the marketplace as ‘the’ arena for competition, the reality is that most intra- and inter-group rivalry actually takes place on the fringes of it. The social and political frontiers of the firm are particularly challenging to navigate simply because it is there that firms typically find most resistance to their (economic) objectives and actions. How can firms pursue commercial opportunities in environments plagued by political uncertainty? How can firms deal with disgruntled activists, escalating boycotts and meddling politicians? Which candidate should firms support in upcoming elections? Perhaps more importantly, can organizations preempt those external pressures by becoming political and social actors themselves?
      The course essentially delves into non-market strategy and its key components. We explore topics such as issue and crisis management, coping strategies, the leverage of organizational influence and manipulation, and the intricate balance firms need to maintain between various stakeholders. We combine several theoretical lenses with plenty of anecdotal evidence and case studies to better understand when, why and how firms compete socially and politically to advance their interests. Ultimately, we investigate whether non-market strategy complements or substitutes for market strategy.
      Finally, we wrap our discussions with a full-day simulation – the Emergency Summit- that allows you to experience first-hand the complexities and perils of appeasing various stakeholders simultaneously. ‘Delegations’ with diverse (and often conflicting) interests, including companies, civil actors, politicians, international representatives and local communities will be assigned to teams of two students. All delegations are then handed a crisis scenario; through strategic negotiations and deliberations in a game-setting, you ultimately decide whether to cooperate or compete against others to attain your objectives.    

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by O. el Nayal

    • To write an excellent thesis in strategic management, you need to perform a well-crafted study. This ability also aids in making suitable business decisions. This course caters to your needs along the three most popular methods used by strategists. You supervisor will list you in one of these tracks, based on your research proposal.


      a. Qualitative research

      You will learn to:

      ·           understand when qualitative research methods are appropriate;

      ·           develop the ability to select and tap into different qualitative data sources;

      ·           develop the skills to systematically analyse qualitative data;

      ·           develop the skills to report findings from qualitative research in a structured and concise yet complete way.


      b. Questionnaires: Design, administration and analysis

      You will learn:

      •how to create proper questions, scales and items to be included in questionnaires;

      •to adapt and rely on scales and items from prior studies and follow the proper steps in developing new questionnaires;

      •the steps and procedures in administering offline and online questionnaires;

      •techniques to increase your questionnaire’s response rate;

      •the important steps to successfully analyse questionnaire data.


      c. Databases and archival data: Collection and analysis

      You will learn:

      •how to make use of the excess of company-related databases;

      •the different ways of how to structure your dataset for subsequent analyses;

      •longitudinal techniques such as panel data, count data, time series and survival analysis.

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.