Business Administration: Strategy and Organization

Competing in dynamic markets

The Strategy and Organization programme trains you to become a professional expert in managing strategic and organizational challenges based on profound skills in analytics, critical thinking and reflexivity and the ability to act responsibly and foresightedly in complex and dynamic market environments.

Area of interest

The Strategy and Organization specialization takes you on a journey that explores the complexities of dynamic and globally integrated market environments in which business firms compete. We will challenge you to look further for new ways how organizations can rethink the way they strategically manage their boundaries, and how they can act responsibly to make a sustainable contribution to society. After learning about core aspects of strategic management and organizational challenges related to growth, renewal and entrepreneurship, you can chose to specialize in two modules. Each takes a closer perspective on highly topical issues which represent current mega-trends that businesses need to tackle in order to remain competitive: On the one hand, the need for companies to rethink the way they interact with competitors, for instance via forming alliances, mergers, participating in business ecosystems and fostering open innovation. On the other hand, rising stakeholder expectations that urge companies to compete successfully and sustainably by enhancing their corporate social responsibility (CSR) profile.

In all courses in the Strategy and Organization specialization you will explore not only the “content-dimension” of strategy (what is my strategy and how to design it?), but also the “process-dimension” (how to organize it and bring strategy to action?), thus giving you a holistic perspective on strategy making and strategy execution.

You are in the right programme if you are interested in questions such as: How can companies formulate and implement a strategy that allows them to remain competitive in a dynamic market? How should they strategically engage with other firms, including their direct competitors, with their consumers and critical NGOs? How to develop a strategy that not only allows thriving financially, but also ensures sustainability and social responsibility?

Core methodology

We believe that the complexities and dynamics of global business environments can only be grasped by openness and reflexivity about multiple research philosophies to examine and understand the multiplicity of challenges organizations and managers face in today´s world. We therefore go beyond commonly offered economic approaches to strategic management. You will learn that using both quantitative and qualitative methods is necessary to understand how strategy works in practice and how managerial challenges in organizational life can be solved based on better-informed decisions.

Admission and application details

The Strategy and Organization programme has the following learning goals.

Have the advanced and original academic and research skills to contribute to the body of knowledge
Throughout the programme, students learn to review and analyse critically the state of the art research related to strategy and organization to get acquainted to the contemporary debate in the field. Together with research methodology courses (focusing on both quantitative and qualitative approaches) students will be well equipped to make their own original contribution and create knowledge in their master thesis that is not only rigorously conducted but also original, interesting and important from a societal point of view.

Have thorough knowledge of relevant theory and methods
Two stage-setting core courses on “Growth Strategies and Organizational Challenges” and “Strategic Entrepreneurship and Organizational Renewal” introduce students to essential knowledge about strategy development and implementation. After that, you can opt for two topical modules that each goes deeper into exploring a specific aspect of strategy and organization. To deepen their knowledge, students can additionally choose from several electives that each are strongly based on fostering student’s ability to act in response to strategic and organizational challenges. To broaden your horizon beyond the core of strategy and organization, you can also choose electives from other Business Administration programmes such as International Management, Leadership and Organizational Change Management, Management Consulting, and Human Resource Management. Several interdisciplinary electives offer an additional opportunity to deepen your knowledge of a topical issue in business and management beyond the boundaries of the Strategy and Organization programme.

Have an academic approach to solving complex [business/economics] problems
Every course includes a strong practice component and real-life cases, including visits to companies. In interactive lectures and smaller workgroup sessions, you and your team are challenged to use the theory covered in the course to analyse business situations and provoke with a fresh perspective on possibly unconventional solutions to the problem. During the study period students have the opportunity to do an internship at a company or work on a problem-driven research report in collaboration with business firms.

Have the professional social skills to interact with other professionals
Courses have a strong focus on fostering your communicative skills, your ability to speak up and defend your arguments and position in front of a critical audience. This will be practiced during team-based presentations with your peers and invited managers that assess your performance and provide valuable feedback. You will be trained to constructively evaluate strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your peers.

Have an horizon beyond the professional area
We put strong emphasis on your ability to think and act critically and be reflexive. This means to not take things for granted as they are, but be able to challenge them, in particular the increasingly contested impact of business on stakeholders as well as social and environmental conditions. In your thesis, you are encouraged to select topics that deal with the interaction between business and society.

Are self-reflective professionals
Together with SBE Career Services, the Strategy and Organization specialization offers tailor made workshops to provide you the best possible preparation for your entry to the job market. As part of our portfolio-programme, you are challenged to think critically about who you are and what you want to achieve, reflect about the job you want to have, how to build a professional network that helps you achieve your goals, and how to act responsibly on a solid ethical basis. A two-minute personal video pitch is a required component of your master thesis.

Download the Business Administration: Strategy and Organization curriculum

Business Administration: Strategy and Organization courses in study guide.

Aspirational job (far future)
As a top manager you would be responsible for seeing the big picture and develop the overall strategy of the organization to ensure sustainable competitiveness by creating out-of-the-box solutions to emerging business challenges.

Actual placement (near future)
With a Master degree in Strategy and Organization, you can pursue a career in senior management of corporate strategy and development, as a business analyst, project manager or strategy consultant. Popular fields of work are in multinational enterprises, the SME sector, academia, governments and entrepreneurship.

Challenge to distinguish
The Strategy and Organization specialization offers multiple possibilities for excellent and ambitious students to distinguish themselves by taking additional courses and participating in tailored activities. We offer the renowned VU honours programme that includes advanced courses in a small-class environment, and provide special opportunities to meet with businesses throughout the programme.

Academic
Our programme not only introduces you to the state of the art knowledge about strategy and organization and teaches you how to apply hands-on academic skills. We also show you how practical a good theory can be for finding out-of-the-box solutions to the most pressing strategic and organizational challenges of business firms competing in highly dynamic environments. For us, theories are important tools that allow you to understand and evaluate, not just execute, key strategic decisions of business firms.

Professional
Every course in the Strategy and Organization specialization is based on complex, real-life business cases. We teach you to develop practical but theoretically informed solutions, be able to defend them argumentatively and in doing so enhance your skills as a critically thinking and reflective professional.

Citizen
Our programme embodies the VU core values of being responsible, open and personally engaged by paying attention to societal issues and the personal development of our students. Becoming a professional expert in Strategy and Organization allows you to evaluate the role of business in society and enhance your profile as a responsible citizen in today’s labour market and society.

Community
The Strategy and Organization specialization allows you to participate actively in a thriving student community. This is not only a fun activity to join and where to make new friends, but also to advance your academic and professional skills. Together with VU Career Services, we offer several tailor-made career trainings, such as networking skills, preparing your CV, and mastering an assessment day .We strive to optimally support your transition to the labour market. The programme also includes other activities as part of our community as well, such as a LinkedIn group that features alumni and current students, our student organization Aureus that organizes several interesting meetings, and a graduation ceremony at the end of year during which we celebrate your successes.


I want to send my application form to apply for a Master's programme before the first of April. I expect to graduate before the end of this academic year. Is it possible to apply without having my Bachelor's diploma yet?
Yes, that is possible. Your eligibility can be assessed without the actual diploma. After (conditional) admission to one of our MSc programmes, we will contact you and ask for the original and official documents for registration at the university. One of these documents is the official diploma (or certified copy of it).

I have graduated from a Dutch HBO. Is it possible for me to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?
Unfortunately, if you hold a HBO BSc diploma you cannot get direct admission to one of our Master's programmes. We have a specific Premaster’s programme for some of our Master’s programmes. The Premaster’s programmes are entirely Dutch taught, you need a NT2-2 certificate to get admission and your GMAT score has to be at least 550. Some Master’s programmes have other entry requirements if you hold a Dutch HBO. Please check ‘admission and application’ on the Master’s page to see if there is a specific Premaster’s programme available.

Is it possible to study one of the Master's programmes part-time?
All Master's programmes open to international students are full time programmes, which means that you are expected to spend at least 4 days a week at the university. There are two part-time Master's programmes both taught in Dutch.

Can I apply for a MSc programme starting in February?
No, all our Master's programmes start in September.

Can I apply online?
International students can apply online. See the webpage "Admission and application" of your respective master's programme for more information.

Application deadline
International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may hold for other category students). Dutch degree students: Application in Studielink before 1 June.

Do you require work experience to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?
No, we do not require work experience. Sometimes it might help to have some work experience to get admission if your Bachelor's diploma does not cover all the academic requirements (see admission requirements in the left menu).

Do you require GMAT or GRE to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?       
In some cases we might require a GRE or GMAT. For the Master’s programmes in Economics and Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics a GRE might be required. The admission board will let you know if a GRE is required. At other Master’s programmes a GMAT or GRE is not required. This does not mean that we do not pay any attention to your grades. If you have obtained a good GMAT or GRE score it is recommended to mention this in your application and to enclose a copy of the results. 
 
Please note: To be admitted to one of our specific Dutch taught pre-master's programmes you have to score at least 550 on the GMAT. 

Is it possible to pay the tuition fee in installments?
Yes, that is possible. The registration period is in August after your arrival in the Netherlands. You can pay the tuition fee either at once before 1 September or you can choose to sign a contract that you will pay it in installments during the academic year.

Christopher Wickert (PhD)

Programme coordinator/associate professor in ethics and sustainability

Christopher Wickert

"Strategy and Organization is a great adventure, enabling students to explore the challenges faced by businesses in the 21st century. It is the ideal study programme for all those who want to think beyond mainstream approaches to strategy and organization. S&O allows you to become thought-leaders and crafters of strategies that are competitive and socially responsible."

See my profile.

Overview Business Administration: Strategy and Organization

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION

1 April for international degree holders (different deadlines may hold for other category students);
1 June for Dutch degree holders

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

Specialization in Business Administration

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law

Renée Schuurman

Graduate

BA_Strategy_Renee Schuurman 

"My interest in the design and management of international organizations led me to opt for the specialization in Strategy and Organization. It has been a very worthwhile experience. I have learned to identify strategic and organizational management problems, to use a holistic view to develop appropriate solutions, and to offer recommendations for implementation. I particularly enjoyed the challenging business cases, which call for initiative and creativity. The classes are stimulating and varied, incorporating simulation, team assignments, and student-to-student sessions."

Admission with a Dutch Degree

We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious students who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, (International) Business Administration, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and other related disciplines. Typically, successful students in this programme have at least a 7 average grade (or an equivalent GPA score for international students) in the third year of their Bachelor’s programme, or a GMAT score of 600. Prior relevant work experience and experience with volunteering or other citizenship behaviours are encouraged and also taken into account.

Admission requirements
With a Bachelor's degree in (International) Business Administration, Economics or Econometrics and Operations Research from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you are admissible provided you successfully meet the requirements in this document. Furthermore, we take into account your motivation, prior relevant work experiences, and any relevant volunteering experiences and/or citizenship behaviors.

Application procedure
To enroll in the programme submit your enrolment application via Studielink. Please note: in Studielink you can apply for the Master in Business Administration and in VUnet you can select your specialization.

Step 1:
Apply for the MSc programme Business Administration via Studielinkbefore 1 June. You can apply for the specialization in VUnet (see step 2)

Step 2:
Please complete your application in VUnet by answering additional questions and affirming  your choice for the specialization. Furthermore you need to upload:

  • a transcript of your bachelor grades. (You can create a pdf of your grades via the application results on VUnet yourself.)
  • a motivation letter in which you explain why you want to pursue a Master’s programme in BA, Strategy and Organization, at VU Amsterdam, and also explicitly elaborate on your vision about the role of BA graduates in society.
  • a recent resume.

Please note: we can only process your application when your choice of specialization is clear and your documents are uploaded.
 
More information regarding registration WO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).

Services for international (IBA) students / Residence permit:
If 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.

We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious students who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, (International) Business Administration, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and other related disciplines. Typically, successful students in this programme have at least a 7 average grade (or an equivalent GPA score for international students) in the third year of their Bachelor’s programme, or a GMAT score of 600. Prior relevant work experience and experience with volunteering or other citizenship behaviours are encouraged and also taken into account.

Admission requirements
The masterprogramma Business Administration, specialization Strategy & Organization is open to students with a university Bachelor's degree that provides a thorough knowledge in:
Business Administration. Also, we take into account your motivation, prior relevant work experiences, and any relevant volunteering experiences and/or citizenship behaviors. Furthermore you need to have successfully completed courses and studied literature related to the core of this programme, consisting of (or equivalents of):

International Strategy:
•    De Witt, B., & Meyer, R. (2014). Strategy: An International Perspective, 5th Edition. Hampshire: Cengage Learning.

Strategic Management:
•    Hitt, M. A., Ireland, D. R., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2014). Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization – Concepts and Cases, 11th Edition. Stamford: South-Western College Pub.

(De Witt & Meyer is used in the VU BSc IBA programme; Hitt et al. is a standard textbook used at universities around the world), or an equivalent textbook on strategic management:

Concerning the specialization Strategy and Organization, approval is in most cases given to students who hold an academic Bachelor’s degree in
o    (International) Business Administration,
o    Political Science (provided that  they have a sufficiently matching profile),
o    Sociology (provided that  they have a sufficiently matching profile),
o    Economics

Applicants with at least a (VU) Bachelor's degree in other specializations that are not strongly related to Strategy& Organization / Business Administration can be admitted in the Master, but depending on their degree they will be required to take extra courses in business administration to reach a minimum of 30 credits, and/or in research methods courses. In that case their programme will take longer than one year.

Application procedure
To enroll in the programme submit your enrolment application via Studielink. Please note: in Studielink you can apply for the Master in Business Administration and in VUnet you can select your specialization.

Step 1:
Apply for the MSc programme Business Administration via Studielinkbefore 1 June. You can apply for the specialization in VUnet (see step 2)

Step 2:
After applying for the programme in studielink you will receive a VUnet-ID and password. Please complete your application in VUnet by answering additional questions and affirming  your choice for the specialization. Furthermore you need to upload:
-    a formal transcript of your bachelor grades,
-    a motivation letter in which you explain why you want to pursue a Master’s programme in BA, Strategy and Organization, at VU Amsterdam, and also explicitly elaborate on your vision about the role of BA graduates in society,
-    a recent resume.
Please note: we can only process your application when your choice of specialization is clear and your documents are uploaded. 

Step 3:
The admission committee will assess your application and decide whether you are admissible. You will be informed about this decision via email.

More information regarding registration WO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).
We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious students who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, (International) Business Administration, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and other related disciplines. Typically, successful students in this programme have at least a 7 average grade (or an equivalent GPA score for international students) in the third year of their Bachelor’s programme, or a GMAT score of 600 (please note: the admissible GMAT score for the premaster is 550). Prior relevant work experience and experience with volunteering or other citizenship behaviours are encouraged and also taken into account.

If you have a Dutch higher vocational (HBO) degree you need to enroll in a pre-master’s programme, which is designed to bridge the gap between higher vocational education and university-level education. Beside a HBO degree you also need to score at least 550 on the GMAT test. Please note: the pre-master's programme is taught in Dutch only.

For more information about the pre-master's programmes see 'Master na HBO' (in Dutch).
More information regarding registration HBO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).

Students who have successfully completed the VU pre-master’s programme in Strategy & Organization are automatically entitled to admission to the master’s specialization Strategy& Organization.


Information days and activities
contact@vu.nl
Admission requests, admission requirements and admission questions
toelating.sbe@vu.nl
(can only be reached by e-mail)
Tuition fees, Studielink, VUnet
Central Student Desk
Application
Studielink
Other questions
contact@vu.nl

Visit our information day
Master's DaySaturday 10 March, 2018
Please register later

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Admission with an International Degree

We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious students who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, (International) Business Administration, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and other related disciplines. Typically, successful students in this programme have at least a 7 average grade (or an equivalent GPA score for international students) in the third year of their Bachelor’s programme, or a GMAT score of 600. Prior relevant work experience and experience with volunteering or other citizenship behaviours are encouraged and also taken into account.

Admission requirements
In order to gain admission to our Master’s programme, you 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. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score, but we do take into account your motivation, prior relevant work experiences, and any relevant volunteering experiences and/or citizenship behaviors. Furthermore you need to have successfully completed courses and studied literature related to the core of this programme, consisting of (or equivalents of):

Strategic Management:
•    De Witt, B., & Meyer, R. (2014). Strategy: An International Perspective, 5th Edition. Hampshire: Cengage Learning.
•    Hitt, M. A., Ireland, D. R., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2014). Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization – Concepts and Cases, 11th Edition. Stamford: South-Western College Pub.

English language proficiency
The admission board wants 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.

VU 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 for the programme:  

IELTS (academic):
•    Minimum general score 6,5
•    Minimum score writing 6,0

TOEFL
•    Paper based test 580
•    Internet based test 92

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

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the TOEFL ITP English-language proficiency test. The test is offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at www.taalloket.nl

Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test.

If you have read the admission requirements 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: 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
•    A motivation letter
•    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 VUnet you can select your choice of specific programme. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via e-mail. Please refer to our application page to see which application deadline applies for you.

Step 2: 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 3: 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:
Accommodation

Visa
Tuition fees


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 here on this webpage; vu.nl/ambassadors.

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

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 www.vu.nl/scholarships or www.grantfinder.nl


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
E masters.sbe@vu.nl





 Foto Paul SteemanPaul Steeman
Tel +31 20 59 88739
E masters.sbe@vu.nl

 




Shrestha_Amu_86x129Amu Shrestha
Tel +31 20 59 84296
masters.sbe@vu.nl

 




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 study@vu.nl.



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