Business Administration: Strategy and Organization

Thriving in competitive and dynamic markets

How do you formulate and implement a business strategy that keeps you competitive in a dynamic market? What does it take to strategically engage with other organisations – including competitors, consumers and NGOs? What are the components of a strategy that not only ensures financial success, but also sustainable and socially responsible business practises?

If you're curious about the answers to these questions, then you’re the right fit for the Strategy & Organisation Master’s programme. You’ll learn to manage strategic and organisational challenges and develop profound skills in analytics, reflexivity and critical thinking. You’ll gain the skills to act responsibly and with foresight in complex and dynamic environments. In short, you’ll learn what it takes to not only develop the strategies that succeed, but also how to bring them to life within complex organisations looking to you to solve their real-life challenges.

AACSB

The Strategy & Organisation Master’s from VU Amsterdam will teach you how to develop and design competitive strategies and how to put them into practice. After two core courses, you can choose one of two study tracks. One related to rethinking relationships with competitors, the other related to stakeholder demand for improved Corporate Social Responsibility.

To break it down:

  • You’ll take two mandatory courses:
    • Growth Strategies & Organisational Challenges – Learn about contemporary growth challenges in mature and emerging markets.
    • Strategic Entrepreneurship & Organisational Renewal – Study how companies can continuously reinvent themselves to remain competitive.
  • You’ll take three elective courses in periods 2 and 3; at least two of the following four courses:
    • Alliances, Mergers and Networks – Discover key challenges companies face in successfully managing strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions.
    • Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility – Gain profound knowledge on important CSR themes, and why and how companies apply them.
    • Business Ecosystems and Open Innovation – Learn how companies manage innovation, and how they deal with technological and market disruptions.
    • Multi-Stakeholder Management – Explore complex societal problems from the perspective of various stakeholders.
  • You’ll also take a course in Business Ethics -  Learn ethics philosophies and how they relate to business strategy and organisation.
  • In your second semester, you’ll learn academic research skills and put them straight into practise by writing your Master’s thesis.
  • Whatever your personal career ambitions, you can tailor your Master’s programme. Select from 12 electives and three different types of internships to customise your Master’s. Choose to specialise in Strategy & Organisation or generalise with other BA courses from Human Resource Management, International Management, Leadership & Change Management or Management Consulting.

Find the complete breakdown of courses and electives here.

Want to know more? Check out the Study Guide!

  • The programme not only teaches you state-of-the-art theories of Strategy & Organisation and shows you how to apply them, but also how to turn theories into practical, out-of-the-box solutions to the most pressing issues of the business world today. In short, you’ll learn how to understand, evaluate and execute key strategic business decisions.
  • Every course exposes you to complex, real-life business cases, so that you can develop practical, but well-informed solutions based on proven theories. You’ll also be able to defend those solutions and enhance your skills as a critical thinker and reflexive professional.
  • You will learn the critical ethical components that will guide you in the business world, and as a global professional.
  • Class sizes remain small enough for personal attention and opportunity for distinction, and yet large enough to support a wide variety of electives that allow you to create the Master’s programme that suits you best.
  • You are a keen problem-solver and critical thinker.
  • You thrive in a highly diverse and multicultural environment, and enjoy working in a variety of team settings.
  • You aspire to guide companies to the strategies and structures that ensure profitable growth and responsible, ethical business practices.
  • You have a talent for turning theory into practice and addressing tough challenges with tougher solutions.

Does this sound like you? Then come along to one of our Master information sessions where you can find out more and try out the programme for yourself! If you’re keen to apply and meet the entry requirements (see below), then take a look at our application procedure and deadlines.

  • How employable will you be after completing the programme?
    • A large percentage of students who follow this programme quickly find a job, before or after completing the programme. VU Career Services and programme specialists will be there to guide and support you.
  • What kinds of jobs are available to you?
    • Initially, a Master’s in Business Administration: Strategy & Organisation will prepare you for a career as a business analyst, project manager, or strategy consultant. But in the long term, we give you the tools you need to eventually thrive as a top manager, responsible for seeing the big picture and developing a company’s overall businesses strategy.
  • What have alumni of the programme gone on to do?
    • Graduates of the programme go on to careers as diverse as the graduates themselves.  While many of our graduates choose careers in the consultancy and financial services industries, we also see a wide variety of careers develop in education and research, fast-moving consumer goods, health and welfare and IT.  The roles our alumni fill range from administration, management and sales and marketing, to operations and research. What all our graduates have in common is their ability to think strategically, act passionately, and thrive professionally in their chosen field.
  • How does the programme help students select the right career path?
    • Know where you want to go? You can tailor your study accordingly. Not sure yet? We’ll help you decide and offer a variety of options to explore along the way.

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 from non-EU/EEA countries (different deadlines may hold for other category students);
15 July for Dutch degree holders and international degree holders from EU/EEA countries

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 15 July. 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 formal transcript of your bachelor grades. Your transcript must include an average score (GPA).
  • 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

If you do not meet these requirements, you may be admissible with the Premaster programme.

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 15 July. 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. Your transcript must include an average score (GPA).
-    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).

Admission via premaster programme
If you have an academic bachelor's degree but do not meet the requirements above, you can gain admission after doing the premaster programme.

The premaster programme is a deficiency programme that provides the necessary knowledge and prepares you for this master's programme. It is a 30 EC program that takes place in the second semester, from February through July.

Course details in the study guide

Admission requirements premaster programme

  • You have an academic bachelor's degree from a Dutch university
  • You have a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) combined score of at least 550 for the parts Verbal and Quantitative. Also note the following:
    • The score may not be older than two years, counted from the date you start the premaster programme
    • The Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment score do not count for admission
    • You can use a Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score for the parts Verbal and Quantitative to satisfy the GMAT score requirement. To convert your GRE score to its GMAT equivalent, use the GRE Comparison Tool

GMAT and GRE
A GMAT score of at least 550 or an equivalent GRE score is a requirement to participate in the premaster programme. Please fill in the test that 'Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam' may receive your score. The official score will be sent by GMAT to VU. Please note that it may take up to 20 calendar days for the VU to receive your GMAT score, so plan GMAT on time.

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) offers a course in preparation for the GMAT, the GMAT preparation course. The preparation course starts each year in August. For more information, please visit the website of the GMAT preparation course.

Costs
Tuition fee 2018-2019: EUR 1030.00

Deadlines and application
The programme starts 1 February, and you must have completed your application before this date! Note that the Premasterassessment does not apply in this case!

Apply now

You will gain direct admission after completing the premaster programme; this is a full-time programme with courses on at least three days per week.

Premaster programme
The premaster programme is a deficiency programme that provides the necessary knowledge and prepares you for this master's programme. It is a 30 EC program that takes place in the second semester, from February through July. These courses involve both content as well as academic skills and knowledge, and research methods.

Course details in the study guide

Admission requirements
The premaster programme has two admission requirements:

  1. You have an hbo degree
  2. You have a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) combined score of at least 550 for the parts Verbal and Quantitative. Also note the following:
    • The score may not be older than 2 years, counted from the date you start with the premaster
    • The Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment score do not count for admission
    • You can use a Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score for the parts Verbal and Quantitative to satisfy the GMAT score requirement. To convert your GRE score to its GMAT equivalent, use the GRE Comparison Tool!

GMAT and GRE
A GMAT score of at least 550 or an equivalent GRE score is a requirement to participate in the premaster programme. Please fill in the test that 'Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam' may receive your score. The official score will be sent by GMAT to VU. Please note that it may take up to 20 calendar days for the VU to receive your GMAT score, so plan GMAT on time.

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) offers a course in preparation for the GMAT, the GMAT preparation course. The preparation course starts each year in August. For more information, please visit the website of the GMAT preparation course.

Costs
Tuition fee 2018-2019: EUR 1030.00

Deadlines and application
The programme starts 1 February, and you must have completed your application before this date!

Apply now


Information days and activities
contact@vu.nl
Admission questions
toelating.sbe@vu.nl
or on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 15:00h and 16:00h: Tel. 020 5985873
Tuition fees, Studielink, VUnet
Central Student Desk
Application
Studielink
Other questions
contact@vu.nl

Visit our information day
Master's Evening
December 3rd, 2019
More information

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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. You can already apply online without having completed your Bachelor’s degree. After admission, you will have until 31 August to send a proof of graduation by postal mail.

Step 1: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents and arrange the payment of the non-refundable €100 application fee. You can find a more detailed explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English, and preferably in .PDF format.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU citizens)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation letter
  • Transcript of records
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education, with the main literature used for those course. You can use this format.
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing). If your thesis was not written in English, please submit the original with an added summary of about 3 pages in English.

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via e-mail. Please refer to the application page to see which application deadline applies to you.

Step 2: Await decision on admission
After submitting your complete application, the Admission Board will review all your documents to assess your eligibility. In general, we can inform students of the admission decision within 4 weeks. Around deadlines, this can take a bit linger, so we always recommend to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted, you will receive your letter of conditional admission by email. After that, you can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 3: Finalize your enrolment and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your enrolment as a student before the start of the programme. Here on our website, you will find an explanation of all things to arrange after admission. When all enrolment requirements have been met you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam!

Further information about:

All international students are required to apply for the MSc programme of their choice first. If you do not meet the admission requirements directly, you could gain admission after completing the premaster programme.

The premaster programme is a deficiency programme that provides the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare you for this master's programme. It is a programme of 30 ECTS that is offered in the second semester, from February through July. Content details of the offered premasters can be found here.

Admission requirements for the premaster programme

  • You have a bachelor's degree from a non-Dutch university or from a non-Dutch university of applied science.
  • You have a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) combined score of at least 550 for the parts Verbal and Quantitative. Also note the following:
    • The score may not be older than two years, counted from 1 February
    • The Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment scores do not count for admission
    • You can use a Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score for the parts Verbal and Quantitative to satisfy the GMAT score requirement. To convert your GRE score to its GMAT equivalent, use the GRE Comparison Tool
  • You can demonstrate sufficient English proficiency by meeting the requirements listed above

More information on the requirements, including GMAT preparations, can be found on the central premaster website.

Deadlines and application
The programme starts 1 February. Because of visa application deadlines, non-EU citizens must have completed their application before 1 November. EU citizens can complete their application until January 31st.

Note: When applying, you can find the premaster programme in Studielink after selecting "Type of study programme: Bachelor's or other non-master programmes".

Our international student ambassadors are happy to tell you all about their experiences with studying at VU and living in Amsterdam. Our student ambassadors come from all over the world and are currently attending various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here.

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

International students can apply to several scholarships. For all VU scholarships, please see www.vu.nl/scholarships. Any available external grant or scholarship can be found through www.grantfinder.nl.

Visit our Master's Events

Central International Office
For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure, please contact one of your International Student Advisors at the International Office: masters.sbe@vu.nl

Leanne Schrijver
Leanne Schrijver
Tel +31 20 59 83032
Paul Steeman
Paul Steeman
Tel +31 20 59 88739
Amu Shrestha
Amu Shrestha
Tel +31 20 59 84296
Lotte de Winter
Lotte de Winter
Tel +31 20 59 89072


For general information about VU Amsterdam:
Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 09:00 to 17:00).
You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl.

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