Business Administration: Digital Business and Innovation

Meet the business challenges of the digital age

Explore how digital technologies innovate organizations and create new business value

Digital technologies are changing business. New platforms such as Uber and Airbnb have disrupted traditional transport and hospitality industries. Internet-of-Things applications improve products and services and make business operations more efficient. Established organizations are digitally transforming their products and processes. Traditional jobs get replaced by algorithms and robots. And digital workplaces allow people to work anytime, anywhere. Such business opportunities and organizational challenges are the focus of the master programme Digital Business & Innovation. In this programme, you will develop yourself as an academic practitioner, combining intellectual rigor and hands-on experience, ready to shape the future!

Key questions that drive the programme:

  • How can we use emerging digital technologies to create more value for customers, new business models, and new ventures?
  • How can organizations manage digital innovation, when such innovation is faster, more connected, and ever evolving?
  • How do technologies, ranging from social media to robotics, enable the transformation of working and organizing?
  • How can we use ‘big data’ and analytics effectively?
  • How can information systems make business processes more efficient?
  • How do people collaborate to make best use of knowledge within and outside organizations?
  • What are the ethical and societal implications of digitalization?

The programme draws upon multiple disciplines of business and management, including business information systems, innovation management, strategy, organization studies, marketing, and entrepreneurship. All courses seek to integrate theory and practice, allowing you to kickstart your career in business, consultancy or a startup.

Contact the Programme Director Hans Berends, and Programme Coordinator Dr. Maura Soekijad (see

Programme objectives
Digital Business & Innovation is a one-year academic master programme of 60 credits. It is fully taught in English by members of the KIN Research Group , one of the world’s leading research centers in digital innovation. We have used our experience to develop and refine the programme over a decade and constantly renew it, to ensure a perfect link to developments in industry, research, and society.

In the programme you will learn how organizations can effectively use digital technologies to innovate their business processes, products, services, and business models. It focuses on the business opportunities and organizational consequences offered by a wide range of digital technologies, including cloud computing, 3D printing, robotics, internet-of-things, and ‘big data’ analytics. You will learn to function as a bridge between ‘digital technology’ and ‘business’. The programme helps you to develop into an academic practitioner. It offers theoretical insight and promotes the development of your analytical and creative skills.

All courses seek to integrate theory and practice and actively engage students. Besides lectures and individual studies, you will work in small groups, studying international real-life cases and conducting small-scale research. In courses and projects, you will frequently collaborate with companies within a diversity of industries, such as financial and service firms, start-ups, and manufacturing companies. This unique way of working that is central to our programme allows you to grow both your network and your knowledge, and optimally prepares you for a professional career.

The programme is organized around three themes: 1) Business Information Systems, 2) Innovation Management, and 3) Digital Transformation. The first half of the programme introduces you to the core topics (both compulsory and elective courses). The second half of the programme puts more emphasis on real-life projects and an internship. During the final phase of the programme, you will organize and conduct an independent scientific research project which will serve as the basis for your DBI Master’s thesis.

The programme in a nutshell

Compulsory courses:

  • Digital Business & Information Systems (6 EC)
  • Management of Digital Innovation (6 EC)
  • Working & Organizing in a Digital Age (6 EC)
  • Digital Innovation Lab (6 EC)
  • Ethics in a Digital Age (3 EC)
  • Research Design & Methods (6 EC)

Minimum of two elective courses (each 6 EC), options including:

  • Business Process & IT Alignment
  • Digital Entrepreneurship Project
  • Digital Consultancy Internship
  • Managing Sustainable Innovation
  • Digital Marketing

Master thesis (15 EC): an in-depth study of a topic of your choice

Distinguish yourself
Use the ample opportunities we offer to distinguish yourself and develop your excellence! For instance, you can take part in the ABRI-MSc Honours programme on business research if you want to develop your research potential. You can enroll in the CIO competition Rethinc Digital Challenges ( with our own team, in which we compete with other Dutch university teams. Or take up an assistantship, or actively organize the Aureus  Studyclub of DBI, which will allow you to develop your talents. These are among our extracurricular activities that Digital Business & Innovation students can use to build their CV and distinguish themselves.

More information about courses can be found in the studyguide. Note however, that this is valid for the current academic year (2016-2017) in which the specialisation is still called Information & Knowledge Management (IKM).

Already during the programme, you will get the opportunity to meet many organizations and alumni. There is a high demand for graduates because of the quality and profile of the programme. Many students find a job before they complete the programme. Graduates’ unique professional value is primarily in their capability to act as a bridge between digital technologies and (innovative) business, and their skills of creative problem solving. When you combine this profile with the right mentality, you will be an attractive candidate for jobs in various industries. Our alumni work for organizations such as IBM, Accenture, KPMG, TNT, Deloitte,, TomTom, PWC, Ordina, Microsoft, CapGemini, LinkIT, ABN AMRO, Philips, eBay, and a wide variety of startups.

The fields of work of alumni include:

  • Digital innovation or IT departments of established organizations across all sectors, including (commercial) industry and services as well as healthcare and government; as IT consultant or project manager; on the long run they can develop into Chief Digital Officer, Chief Information Officer
  • Consultancies that help client firms to leverage digital technologies in change trajectories (e.g. as business analyst or innovation consultant), or in order to generate new business (e.g. as business developer)
  • Digital startups: embark on an entrepreneurial journey by starting your own venture or joining a technology-based start-up

A unique focus
Digital Business & Innovation is unique because it takes a multidisciplinary perspective on digital innovation. This is essential for addressing the challenges of today’s organizations. Especially when they are in a process of digital transformation and use digital technologies to innovate their products, services, business processes, and business models.

Integration of theory and practice
Theory and practice mutually reinforce each other. As pioneers in this field, we have developed a strong expertise on combining them in our teaching. You learn to use theory to solve practical problems and reflect on real world experiences to advance theory. The programme is designed to present you with a rigorous academic challenge and is ideally suited to high achievers who are not afraid to work hard and seize opportunities.

Dynamic teaching by expert teaching staff
Our enthusiastic teaching staff provides an ideal combination of scholarship and hands-on experience. The KIN Research Group at FEWEB has a strong international network and reputation, publishing in top-tier academic journals and is strongly connected to practice. Teaching generally takes place in groups, which ensures that you receive personal attention and have the freedom to express your views.

Students in our programme become part of a strong community of students, and a wider network that includes researchers, entrepreneurs, alumni and many companies with which we regularly collaborate in our teaching and research. Through our alumni for instance, we maintain strong links to companies with which we collaborate.

Strategic location
Situated in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is strategically placed at the very hub of the business services sector. The area is home to large and medium-sized financial services and IT companies, as well as start-ups, employment agencies, haulage contractors and consultancy firms, all of which bring extra dynamics to the programme.

Geert Faber



"This Master’s focuses on recent scientific research and interesting business cases. The classes are a combination of individual and group assignments, class discussion and presentations by professionals in the field. The academic approach and the expertise of the lecturers provided me with in-depth knowledge of Digital Business and Innovation, while the small-scale approach and accessibility of the supervisors were a great support in finishing my Master’s."

Meet DBI Students

Overview Business Administration: Digital Business and Innovation

Language of instruction



1 year

Tuition fee

Application deadline

1 June via (students with direct admission) / International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may hold for other category students)

Start date

1 September

Study type



Specialization in Business Administration

Field of Interest

Economics, Business and Law

Meet DBI Alumni

Professor H. Gerrits


"The rapid emergence of the Internet and related technologies has led to a clear need for a scientific approach to applying these tools. Effectively managing information and knowledge is becoming one of the most important competencies for organisations in both the public and private sector. This Master’s specialisation provides students with a solid foundation for becoming a key player in this exciting and satisfying field."

Dutch students

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

General requirements for holders of a(n):

  • Dutch University degree
  • Dutch HBO degree
  • International degree   

Specific admission requirements Master's programme Business Administration, specialization Digital Business and Innovation:
  • Applicants who have gained a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration at  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are admitted automatically to the Master's programme.
  • Applicants who gained a Bachelor's degree in Economics or Econometrics and Operations Research have access to the Master’s programme provided they successfully completed two courses from the following subjects from the VU-curriculum:
    • Business Intelligence
    • Enterprise Systems
    • E-Business
    • E-Business and IT-Industry
    • Knowledge Management
  • Applicants with at least a Bachelor's degree from another accredited university are admissible if they have a specialization in Business Administration, witnessed by thorough knowledge of the standard literature described below (or its equivalent)
  • Applicants with at least a VU Bachelor's degree in other specializations can be admitted to the master, but depending on their degree they will be required to take extra courses with a minimum of 30 credits. In that case their programme will take at least a year and a half
  • You can apply before having your bachelor's diploma, if you expect to graduate before the end of the academic year. Your eligibility will be assessed without the actual diploma, and after (conditional) admission, you will be asked to submit the original diploma or a certified copy

Standard literature: students are assumed to be thoroughly familiar with:

Information TechnologyBaltzan, P., Phillips, A., & Haag, Stephen (2009). Business Driven Technology (3rd ed.), Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill
Boddy, D., Boonstra, A., & Kennedy, G. (2008). Managing Information Systems. Strategy and Organisation (3rd ed.), Harlow, UK: Prentice Hall
E-BusinessTurban, E., King, D., McKay, J., Marshall, P., Lee, J. & Viehland, D (2008), Electronic Commerce 2008: A Managerial Perspective, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
Knowledge ManagementHislop, D. (2004) Knowledge Management in Organizations, Oxford University Press
Strategy/Strategic ManagementG. Johnson & K. Scholes (2005), Exploring Corporate Strategy (7th ed.), Prentice-Hall
Management and OrganisationKeuning, D. (2007), Management: A European Perspective (2nd ed.). Groningen: Wolters-Noordhoff
H.L. Tosi, N.P. Mero & J.R. Rizzo (2000), Managing Organizational Behavior (4th ed.) Oxford: Blackwell 
StatisticsBerenson, M.L., D.M. Levine & T.C. Krehbiel (2009), Basic Business Statistics, Concepts and Applications (11th ed.). Prentice Hall Press, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
Marketing/MethodologyKotler, P. & Armstrong (2009), Principles of Marketing, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, (13th ed.)
Peter & Olson (2007), Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy. McGraw-Hill (8th ed.)
Yin, R.K. (2003) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Applied Social Research Methods Series, vol. 5, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA

More information regarding the premaster programme (in Dutch)


If you did not take your Economic or (international) Business Administration Bachelor's degree (IBA students, see paragraph for IBA students below) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you must submit a request for admission to the admission board. You have to fill out the Form Evaluation admission Master and add to it the following documents: a description of the subjects you passed, your transcript, the study load and a list of the literature studied.

You could send your request per email until 1 May.

The Admission board will then decide whether you can be admitted directly to the Master's or whether you first need to compensate for any mismatches between your qualification and our admission requirements. Possible outcomes of your application are direct admission to the Master's programme, admission under the condition that you must also pass one or more Bachelor's courses, admission to one of the pre-Master's programmes or admission to one of our Bachelor's programmes.

More information regarding registration WO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).

Students with direct admission from VU Amsterdam
If you have direct admission to the Master's programme of your choice you need a new enrollment in Studielink.

International IBA students (3rd year students)
Students with a Bachelor's degree in International Business Administration from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and direct admission to the Master's programme (for Master's specific entry requirements see the related IBA pages) of their choice can go to Apply for Diploma and follow the instructions. Additionally, you will need to register yourself through Studielink as a Master's student. If it is uncertain if you finish your Bachelor before the 1st of September, you need to both register yourself as a Master’s student and re-register as a Bachelor’s student IBA. Once your application for the Master's programme of your choice has been accepted and your registration as a Master’s student is complete, you can cancel your registration as an IBA student. Reminder: you are officially registered as a student if you have filled in your re-registration form and paid the tuition fee.

Services for international (IBA) students / Residence permit
When you are planning to continue your studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam after your IBA, please contact the Central Admission’s Support Team of  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for further information and specific questions about the offered services for international students like extending your residence permit. You will need to apply for extension of your residence permit if you continue your studies at  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

A Dutch HBO BSc diploma does not provide direct admission to the master's programme. Depending on your higher vocational qualifications (Dutch HBO or equivalent) you can gain admission to one of our Pre-master's programmes. These Pre-master’s programmes are designed to bridge the gap between higher vocational education and university level.

You must score at least 550 on the GMAT for admission. Please also note that the Pre-master's programmes are taught in Dutch only, and you need an NT2-2 certificate for admission if you have a non-Dutch degree.

For more information about the Pre-master's programmes see 'Master na HBO'.

Visit our information day

Master's Day11 March, 2017

Information days and activities
Admission requests, admission requirements and admission questions
(can only be reached by e-mail)
Tuition fees, Studielink, VUnet
Central Student Desk
Other questions

More information
Information days (in Dutch)
Information days (in English)
Order the brochure

International students

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.
In order to gain admission to one of or Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 EC or equivalent.

Specific admission requirements for the MSc programme Business Administration specialization in Digital Business and Innovation

Applicants need to have successfully completed the following courses and studied the corresponding literature (or its equivalent):

  • Information Technology or E-Business 
    Baltzan, P., Phillips, A., & Haag, Stephen (2009). Business Driven Technology (3rd ed.), Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill
    Boddy, D., Boonstra, A., & Kennedy, G. (2008). Managing Information Systems. Strategy and Organisation (3rd ed.), Harlow, UK: Prentice Hall
    Turban, E., King, D., McKay, J., Marshall, P., Lee, J. & Viehland, D (2008), Electronic Commerce 2008: A Managerial Perspective, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
  • Knowledge Management or Innovation Management 
    Hislop, D. (2009) Knowledge Management in Organizations, Oxford University Press
  • Research methods 
    Berenson, M.L., D.M. Levine & T.C. Krehbiel (2009), Basic Business Statistics, Concepts and Applications (11th ed.). Prentice Hall Press, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
    Yin, R.K. (2003) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Applied Social Research Methods Series, vol. 5, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test. You can already apply online without having the test results. We do advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores: 

IELTS (academic):

  • Minimum general score 6,5
  • Minimum score writing 6,0


  • Paper based test 580
  • Internet based test 92-93 

Cambridge English:

  • Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
  • Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C

VU-test English-language proficiency: offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at

Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test. The admission board does want to clarify what they expect from students in the programme. They want to stress the intensity of the programme; reading scientific articles and writing papers will be a key part, all in a very high pace. Your English language skills, both oral and written, are extremely important in this programme. As you will have to communicate frequently with your fellow students and you will be working with and for international companies

If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents and arrange the payment of the application fee, a non-refundable €100 application fee applies. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcript of records
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. In Studielink you can apply for the Master in Business Administration and in VU net you can select your choice of specialisation. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.  

Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam!

Further information about: 
Tuition fees

As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries. 

Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on or

Contact a Student Ambassador

Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed on the webpage below. Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

Information for international students > International degree holders > Contact our student ambassadors

Visit our information days
More information about Master's programmes
Visit our information days

Central International Office
For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office:

Foto Leanne Schrijver Leanne Schrijver
Tel +31 20 59 83032




Foto Paul SteemanPaul Steeman
Tel +31 20 59 88739




Foto Floris KorbeeFloris Korbee
Tel + 31 (0)20 598 3944



For general information about VU Amsterdam:
Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00).
You may also e-mail us at

For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisors at the International Office: 

Floris Korbee, Paul Steeman and Leanne Schrijver

Roxane Fadel



"There is a lot of student-teacher interaction in the Master’s in Digital Business and Innovation and the approach is far more personal than you might expect from a large university. I am very pleased that many of our teachers come from the business world. It means that we have the added advantage of utilising their existing networks. Thanks to the great balance between theory and practice, I will not only possess the academic knowledge I need as a graduate, but I will also be thoroughly prepared for the business world."

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