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Strategic Business Development D, 30 Credits

Swedish name: Strategic Business Development D

This syllabus is valid: 2012-08-27 valid to 2013-08-25 (newer version of the syllabus exists)

Course code: 2FE178

Credit points: 30

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Business Administration: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: Three-grade scale

Responsible department: Business Administration


The core course consists of four modules, which will be further described below:

Module 1. Perspectives on strategy, 7.5 ECTS
Module 2. Entrepreneurship and business growth 7.5 ECTS
Module 3. Managing networks and internationalisation 7,5 ECTS
Module 4. Strategizing - planning and processes 7,5 ECTS

The Master Degree of Business Development and Internationalisation is an advanced degree program directed to students aiming to become entrepreneurs as well as managers or project leaders focused on (international) business development. The aim is to prepare students with skills involved in launching and leading businesses but also to use those skills to develop and run businesses or business units with a direction toward innovation, international expansion and growth. During the four core modules of the program, students will be exposed to theory as well as practical hands-on work with real businesses.

Module 1. Perspectives on strategy, 7.5 ECTS
The first module sets the stage for forthcoming course modules in business development. The module highlights key issues for understanding and dealing with the challenges facing contemporary organizations in a globalised 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 in order to provide a comprehensive platform for the forthcoming core courses. A distinction will here be made between the rational, decision-making oriented view in traditional management literature and the process-based, strategy-as-practice view in front-line research. Students will be trained to think strategically from both an internal and external perspective.

The students will develop capabilities and skills to deal with the knowledge-based challenges of firms and their value creation in new product, service and organizational development covering the following topics: How organizations develop dynamic strategies, including choices and actions. How innovation emerges and develops into business ideas. How suitable marketing strategies are implemented in relation to customers, markets, competitors, and products.

Module 1 integrates theoretical insights with practical applications in a learning environment characterized by active student participation, both individually and in groups. Throughout the module the students are encouraged to develop their own strategic approaches.

In addition, students are introduced to what good scientific practice means, how students and instructors can create and maintain a constructive learning environment while preventing misconduct and fraudulent behavior such as plagiarism. Students are, therefore, required to carefully study the guide of ethical and professional behaviour, which is aligned with the rules and regulations of Umeå University. Since knowledge of these rules and regulations are fundamental for coming courses and thesis writing this module includes a web-based test to ensure that students understand how to follow these guidelines in practice.

Expected learning outcomes:
After completing this module, the student should be able to:•Compare theoretical perspectives on management, entrepreneurship, and marketing strategies.

  • Evaluate organizations’ strategies with regard to current and future trends in the environment.
  • Propose solutions to cope with internal and external strategic challenges and complexities.
  • Propose appropriate strategies to meet key dilemmas of innovation, relating to 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 and apply ethical/professional learning and research conduct.

Focus of instruction:
The researchers and teachers of USBE and UmU are committed to and encouraged to emphasize their own special knowledge, research results, and know-how in their teaching. Beyond the interactive lectures and guest lectures, the tutoring incorporates reading seminars, case group work(s) and case seminars. The module requires significant amount of independent studies, meaning reading the assigned compulsory book chapters, articles, handouts, and writing self-governing case analyses. It is the responsibility of the students to come prepared for class and to actively participate in discussions. Case related group work will be carried out in teams of 3-5 students and reflection papers and oral presentations will be required.

Examination modes
The assessment of this module consists of seminars and papers, prepared and presented both individually and in groups, and an individual written exam. Due to the character of the topic, the students must attend the obligatory seminars and case presentations in order to pass the module. Furthermore, all students have to pass the web-based test on ethical behaviour and professional conduct. A passing grade is required for each part of the module.

Module 2. Entrepreneurship and Business Growth, 7.5 ECTS
A key challenge for start-ups and existing organisations is to maintain the entrepreneurial spirit, consolidate business activities and create growth. Obviously, this is a main concern of small as well as large companies, whereby it is a huge market for business consultancy. To prepare students for this demand, this course focuses on management for and under business growth. 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) growing pains, downsizing and size management and (v) venture capital and financing challenges. The course literature will cover these themes and connect them to businesses. During the course, students work with cases related to the above themes and develop consultant solutions to solve the issues and problems outlined in the cases. In order to prepare students for future consultant work and for contemporary organizations, much of the work in this course will be executed in teams.

Expected learning outcomes
After completing this module, the student should be able to:•apply theoretical knowledge to identify and evaluate challenges for and under entrepreneurial business growth

  • analyse driving forces for entrepreneurial growth
  • use strategies to accomplish entrepreneurial growth
  • evaluate signals of acute organizational growth problems and make decisions on how to overcome them
  • identify and make decisions about downsizing and size management
  • make decisions about financial matters when growing a business
  • transfer dense theoretical material of entrepreneurship growth to applicable implications for businesses

Focus of instruction
A mix of lectures and seminars will be used 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. A core idea in the programme, is action based learning (or learning by experience) and how to use literature and theoretical ideas to create practical value for companies. Therefore, the module includes assignments that require team work aiming at developing consultant solutions for a set of key problems that exists for many entrepreneurs and companies. These hands-on assignments run throughout the module. The 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 the different seminars and tasks, and in the written and oral presentations.

Examination modes
The examination consists of practical “hands-on” team presentations and case reports of the themes covered in the course. An individual written exam covering the main themes will be given at the end of this module. A passing grade is required for each part of the module.

Module 3. Managing Networks and Internationalisation
This module highlights how companies can develop business capabilities through internationalization and networking. Key themes in this course are therefore to build, maintain and support business cooperation constellations in terms of joint ventures, alliances and networks, understanding and meeting competition from existing incumbents and new entrants as well as balancing cooperative and competitive relationships in international business settings. Furthermore, the participants will practice to analysing and planning internationalization strategies. Linkages to public and private policies and institutions will be introduced as an important resource base. The students will analyse a real organization’s network relationships and internationalisation.

Expected learning outcomes
After completing this module, the student should be able to:•identify strategic aspects of networking and internationalisation processes

  • interpret the dynamic structures and processes for international business development
  • apply models and theories via, simulations and real cases
  • explain the relationships between entrepreneurship, networking, internationalisation and business development
  • develop measures and recommendations in order to support business development activities

Focus of instruction
From lectures, seminars and the literature base the ambition is to encourage the development of a conceptual understanding of the field. The integration of models and perspectives will be accomplished by different learning methods like real-life cases and simulations. During the course students will analyse real cases (company/ organization/network or an industry). The simulation will help the students to act upon suggestions for strategies and actions programs for network and international development.

Module 4. Strategizing- planning and processes 7,5 ECTS
Business developers and entrepreneurs must all be able to gather information and 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, but consider strategic plans and programs an important tool in aiding the business developer or entrepreneur to makes sense of environmental and organisational dynamics. Plans and programs depict intended development, describe choices and actions to be undertaken, provide objectives, outline resources needed to achieve these goals, and offer a set of criteria against which performance can be compared.

In the final core module students therefore participate in a real-life strategic process which requires them to act based on the knowledge assembled during the semester as well as in their previous studies. Students studying business development will take part in developing a business idea, for example by developing a business plan for a start-up, or by developing a business plan for a new venture within an existing organisation.

Expected learning outcomes module 4
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 wells as from previous courses and modules to design a business plan within given timeframes.
  • Work effectively independently, in teams, and with external organisations.
  • 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
In this module, the main pedagogical technique is work with a real-life case for which a plan is to be developed. This may entail students working in teams with existing companies, organisations, or start-ups to develop a business plan. The groups will work relatively independently but in dialogue with representatives of the real-life case and teachers. 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 these activities.

The examination consists of four parts. First, a business plan and, second an oral presentation of this plan to a practitioner audience. Third, a written individual paper and an individual seminar focusing on experience exchange and the applicability of relevant concepts. Fourth, the student must actively participate in and contribute to compulsory seminars and meetings related to the work with their business plan.

A passing grade is required for each part of the module.

Expected learning outcomes

See respective module.

Required Knowledge

University: Courses in Business Administration (75 ECTS) At Basic level (A-level) and Intermediate level (B-level) a minimum of 60 ECTS in Management, Marketing, Accounting and Finance courses. At the C-level (Bachelor), a minimum 15 ECTS. Language: Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English B (IELTS (Academic) with a minimum overall score of 6.5 and no individual score below 5.5. TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test) with a minimum score of 575 and a minimum TWE score of 4.5). TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test) with a minimum score of 90 and a minimum score of 20 on the Writing Section).

Form of instruction

See respective module.

Examination modes

See also above under respective module.
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%).

To receive the grade Pass with distinction in the course, the student must have achieved at least 75% of the total of points in the separate modules or the equivalent.

Students who fail will be offered an examination opportunity within a month. Beyond that, additional opportunities to complete the written examination normally arise every academic year one-week prior to the start of the autumn term.

Students who fail to present a photo ID at the occasion of a written examination cannot have their results registered.

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.

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.

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.

All lectures’ and seminars’ material including the assigned compulsory reading during the module might be used as basis for re-examination.

Lectures are normally not obligatory. However attendance is expected because the lectures are designed to facilitate students towards achieving course specific learning objectives. In addition lectures often provide insightful explanations of, and can supplement and provide contrast to, the course litterateur and other relevant course materials.

Student who has passed an examination cannot retake the examination to get a higher grading.

Grades on the course are awarded when students have passed all examinations and compulsory course elements.

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

Other regulations

This is the core course in the Master’s program in Business Development and Internationalisation. It is also a course at the D-level in an MSc-degree at Umeå University. The course can also be included in study programs in Business Administration and Economics at Umeå School of Business and Economics.


Valid from: 2012 week 35

Exploring strategy
Johnson Gerry, Whittington Richard, Scholes Kevan
9. ed. : Harlow [etc.] : Prentice Hall : 2011 : xxiv, 562 s. :
ISBN: 0-273-73700-7 (pbk) : £44.88
Search the University Library catalogue

Barringer Bruce R.
Preparing effective business plans : an entrepreneurial approach
Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Pearson Prentice Hall : cop. 2009 : xvii, 265 s. :
ISBN: 0-13-231832-6
Search the University Library catalogue

Exploring strategy
Johnson Gerry, Whittington Richard, Scholes Kevan
9. ed. : Harlow [etc.] : Prentice Hall : 2011 : xxiv, 562 s. :
ISBN: 0-273-73700-7 (pbk) : £44.88
Search the University Library catalogue

Business ethics : managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization
Crane Andrew, Matten Dirk
3. ed. : Oxford : Oxford University Press : 2010 : xxv, 614 s. :
ISBN: 978-0-19-956433-0 (pbk.)
Search the University Library catalogue

Umeå School of Business and Economics (latest edition)
Thesis writing in Business Administration. Thesis manual.
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