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Strategic Business Development D, 30 Credits


The course is directed to students aiming to become entrepreneurs as well as managers or project leaders focused on (international) business development. The course provides deepened theoretical and practical knowledge about strategy, innovation, entrepreneurship, networking and business growth and at the same time, systematically incorporates sustainability and internationalization aspects.The aim is to develop capabilities and skills to act upon business and societal opportunities, needs and challenges, in order to develop successful businesses and innovations in a global and changing business environment.
The course is given and examined in English.
Generic learning outcome.
The course has a number of goals for the development of generic competences. After completing the course, the student should be able to:

  • valuate equality, diversity and multiculturalism multiculturality and work effectively in multicultural teams
  • integrate knowledge and expertise from different fields for decision making in companies and  organization and for identifying, analysing and solving problems related to entrepreneurship and business development
  • plan, conduct, and present verbally and in writing investigations and discuss their conclusion and the knowledge and arguments behind, in dialogue with different types of stakeholders
  • Demonstrate an ability to take ethical and sustainability consideration when analysing and solving business development and entrepreneurship problems 

Common expected learning outcome:

  • communicate central concepts for the course in English, both orally and in writing

The core course consists of four modules, which will be further described below:
Module 1. Perspectives on Strategy, 7.5 credits
Module 2. Managing Networks and Internationalisation 7,5 credits
Module 3. Entrepreneurship and Business Growth 7.5 credits
Module 4. Strategizing in Business Development 7,5 credits
Module 1. Perspectives on Strategy, 7.5 credits
This module highlights key challenges facing contemporary [1] firms in a globalized world. The students will gain an interdisciplinary understanding of the business context and the intertwined nature of its events and processes. Alternative theoretical perspectives on strategy will be presented to provide a comprehensive platform for the forthcoming modules. Students will practice to think strategically from both an internal and external perspective. Module 1 integrates theoretical insights with practical applications in a learning environment characterized by active participation, both individually and in groups. Throughout the module the students are encouraged to develop their own strategic approaches. During the module, students will also be introduced to methods of working in international teams and the code of academic conduct, e.g. referencing, or how to avoid plagiarism and cheating
Expected learning outcomes:
After completing this module, the student should be able to:

  • describe and analyze the foundations of strategy and strategic perspectives.
  • propose solutions to cope with internal and external strategic challenges and complexities.
  • propose appropriate strategies to meet key dilemmas concerning for example  innovation, product, process, organization, marketing and business models.
  • critically reflect upon the consequences of strategic choices and assess the need for further knowledge and skills.
  • describe, recognize and apply academic conduct to the student's own work. 

Focus of instruction:
In addition to lectures and guest lectures, learning is supported by cases and seminars. The module requires significant amount of independent study. This means reading the assigned compulsory book chapters, articles, hand-outs and case material. It is the student's responsibility to come prepared for lectures and seminars, and to participate actively in discussions. Case studies are carried out in groups with oral and written presentation. Students also learn  academic ethics as well as academic conduct including referencing and how to avoid plagiarism and cheating.

Examination modes
The basis of examination in this module consists of case reports, a individual written hall exam, and an individual online test of academic conduct. Case reports are performed in groups and the exam is individual. Attendance at case-seminars is mandatory and is thus a requirement to pass the module. A passing grade for each graded part of the module is required to pass. The course is given and examined in English. Note as well examination modes below for the course as a whole.
Module 2. Managing Networks and Internationalisation, 7,5 credits
In the module, the two main topics are internationalisation and networking of entrepreneurial organizations. Key issues in this module are how companies can develop business capabilities through internationalization and networking; building, maintaining and supporting businesses with various modes of foreign operations, e.g., exporting, joint ventures, alliances and networks, meeting competition from existing incumbents as well as new entrants during internationalization and to balancing cooperation and competition in international business settings. The students will analyze strategies for internationalization and network relationships through cases.

Expected learning outcomes
After completing this module, the student should be able to:explain the relationships between entrepreneurship, networking, internationalisation and business development
interpret the dynamic structures and processes for international business development
apply models and theories for decision-making
develop action plans and recommendations in order to support business development activities
identify strategic and ethical aspects of networking and internationalisation processesFocus of instruction
From lectures, seminars and the literature base the ambition is to encourage the development of a conceptual understanding of the field. The ability to analyze real business problems and integrate different models and perspectives to solve these these problems will be developed through different learning methods such as cases and simulations. During the module students will analyse cases (company/ organization/network or an industry). The simulation will help the students to act upon suggestions for strategies and actions programs for networking and international development.

Examination modes
The examination is based on three parts: 1) active participation on literature and case seminar(s) with written reports and oral presentations 2) active participation in business simulation game 3) individual written home exam. The course is given and examined in English. Note as well examination modes below for the course as a whole.

Module 3. Entrepreneurship and Business Growth, 7.5 credits
A key challenge for start-ups and existing organisations is to maintain the entrepreneurial spirit and create growth.The module defines growth in small- and medium-sized enterprises and the differences between entrepreneurial orientation and a more traditional small business orientation. In the module students will analyse entrepreneurship, and how professional investors perceive entrepreneurial growth in emerging enterprises. Main themes concern (i) the theory of entrepreneurship and its connections to business growth, (ii) the characteristics and components of entrepreneurial motivation, risk taking and the willingness to grow businesses, (iii) entrepreneurial strategy-making, (iv) entrepreneurial growth in context (v) venture capital and financing challenges. The literature will cover these themes and connect them to businesses. During the module, students work with cases related to the above themes and develop consultant solutions to solve the issues and problems outlined in the cases.

Expected learning outcomes
After completing this module, the student should be able to:

  • apply theoretical knowledge to identify and evaluate challenges for, and ethical consequences of, entrepreneurial growth
  • analyse driving forces for entrepreneurial growth and create strategies for new venture development
  • assess how investors evaluate entrepreneurial growth and how institutional intervention influence entrepreneurial growth
  • create solutions about how to turn around entrepreneurial ventures in distress
  • apply investors decision making tools in order to evaluate and improve entrepreneurial ventures

Focus of instruction
Learning is supported by lectures and seminars and the teaching is characterized by a strong emphasis on student activity, both verbally and in written tasks. Presentation skills and team work is focused upon. Assignments will include both practical analyses of growth possibilities and growth restrictions on the separate themes during the course. The student is expected to actively participate both individually and work in small groups during seminars and tasks, and in the written and oral presentations.

Examination modes
The examination consists of practical "hands-on" team presentations and case reports, literature seminars and an individual written home exam. A passing grade is required for each part of the module. The course is given and examined in English. Note as well examination modes below for the course as a whole.
Module 4. Strategizing in Business Development 7,5 credits
Business developers and entrepreneurs must be able to design the future strategy for their business or business area. We acknowledge that the environment, the opportunities and the plans are likely to change over time. Strategic plans and programs are important tools in aiding the business developer or entrepreneur to make sense of environmental and organizational dynamics. In this module students participate in a real-life strategic process which requires them to act based on assembled knowledge and take part in addressing a business development challenge,  for example by developing a business plan for a start-up, or by developing a business plan for a new venture within an established organization.

Expected learning outcomes
After completing this module, the student should be able to:

  • demonstrate analytical and integrative skills in solving advanced tasks within business development
  • apply acquired knowledge and understanding from this module as well as from previous courses to, within given timeframes, design a business development plan
  • integrate sustainability when analyzing and solving business development tasks
  • critically reflect upon the individual's and the group's ability to work effectively with external organizations
  • orally and in writing for stakeholders, present analyses, ideas and conclusions developed and/or drawn by the team or individually
  • evaluate his/her competence and need for competence development in order to work with strategic business development.

Focus of instruction
Learning is supported by work with a real-life case as the main pedagogical method. This entails students working in teams with existing companies, organizations, or start-ups to develop a business development plan. The groups will work relatively independently but in dialogue with representatives of the real-life case. Students will receive regular supervision from faculty and potentially by external experts in workshops, seminars and lectures.

Note: depending on the type of real-life case selected, some smaller introductory/preparatory activities may be required during one or several of the earlier modules during the course. In that case, time will be set aside within these modules for such activities.

The examination consists of four parts. First, a business development plan conducted in a group and, second an oral presentation of this plan. Third, a written individual assignment. Fourth, active participation in and contribution to the module's seminars as well as consultations and meetings related to the work with their business plan. A passing grade is required for each part of the module. The course is given and examined in English. Note as well examination modes below for the course as a whole.

Expected learning outcomes

See each separate module.

Required Knowledge

90 credits out of which 75 credits in Business Administration whereof 15 credit bachelor courses or equivalent. Approved 52,5 credits whereof 7,5 credits in bachelor courses.
It is required to have broad knowledge of different specializations within the subject of Business Administration i.e. Management, Marketing, Accounting and Finance.

Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English B/6.

Form of instruction

See the respective module.

Examination modes

See each separate module and below.

The following grading system is used:
Pass with distinction (Väl godkänd, VG, 75% or more),
Pass (Godkänd, G, 50% or more)
and Fail (Underkänd U, less than 50%).
Grades on the course are awarded when the student has passed all examinations and compulsory course elements. The course is given and examined in English.

To receive the grade Pass with distinction (VG) in the 30 credits course consisting of four modules of the same size, the student must have achieved Pass with distinction (VG) in at least three out of four modules. In shorter courses for example 7,5 credit courses, 15 credit courses or 22,5 credits courses Pass with distinction (VG) is given when the student has achieved at least 75% of the total weighted points.
A student who does not pass at the time of the written examination will be offered an opportunity to sit a further examination within two months. Beyond that, additional examination opportunities normally arise every academic year, one week prior to the start of the autumn term. If required by specific circumstances, the Director of Studies may decide on other forms of examination

In case of failure on seminar participation or individual and group assignments, compensating assignments must be completed in accordance with instructions given, no later than two weeks after the completion of the module. Mandatory assignments (seminars, written assignments, cases, computer assignments etc.) that have not been handed in within stipulated time must be done the next time the course is offered. If the form of examination does not permit repetition other forms of re-examination may be used.
Exceptions from examination form as stated in the syllabus can be made for a student who has a decision on pedagogical support for disabilities. Individual adaptations of the examination form should be considered based on the student's needs. The examination form shall be adapted within the framework of the expected learning outcomes stated in the course syllabus. At the request of the student, the course responsible teacher, in consultation with the examiner, must promptly decide on the adapted examination form. The decision must then be notified to the student.

When a student has failed an examination on two occasions, he or she has a right to have another grading teacher. A written request for an alternative examiner should be handed to the director of studies no later than two weeks before the next examination opportunity.
A student who has passed an examination cannot redo the examination to get a higher grade.
If a student fails to present a photo ID at the occasion of a written exam in an exam room will not be allowed to take the exam.
Disciplinary action may be taken against students who uses unauthorized help aids or in some other way tries to mislead on a test or when another type of task is being evaluated. Rules and regulations concerning the production of academic texts and correct referencing will be applicable to all written assignments. (see instructions in the thesis manual, Thesis Writing in Business Administration). Urkund records may be used for control. In addition, Umeå University rules and regulations for education and research applies.

Educational activities are designed to facilitate students towards achieving expected learning outcomes and can explain, supplement and provide contrast to the course literature and other relevant course materials.

Other regulations

Academic credit transfers are according to the University credit transfer regulations.

This course can not be included in the degree together with 2fe200, 2fe197, 2fe425 and 2fe147


Valid from: 2023 week 33

Module 1

Exploring strategy
Whittington Richard, Regnér Patrick, Angwin Duncan
Thirteenth Edition. : Hoboken, NJ : Pearson : [2023] : pages cm :
ISBN: 9781292428758
Search the University Library catalogue

Scientific articles (approx. 50-80 pages) available from Umeå University library databases.

Module 2

There will be about 20 scientific articles (approx 400-500 pages) to read for the module, which will be available from Umeå University library.

Module 3

There will be about 20 scientific articles (approx 400-500 pages) to read for the module, which will be available from Umeå University library.

Module 4

Exploring strategy
Whittington Richard, Regnér Patrick, Angwin Duncan
Thirteenth Edition. : Hoboken, NJ : Pearson : [2023] : pages cm :
ISBN: 9781292428758
Search the University Library catalogue

There will be about 150-200 pages of scientific articles to read for this module, which will be available via Umeå University library.

Course reference literature

Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics USBE. Thesis writing in Business Administration. Thesis manual. (latest edition)
USBE Företagsekonomi :

Business ethics : managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization.
Crane Andrew, Matten Dirk, Glozer Sarah, Spence Laura J.
Fifth edition : Oxford : Oxford University Press : 2019 : xxiv, 608 pages :
ISBN: 9780198810070
Search the University Library catalogue