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Strategic Business Development D, 30 Credits


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

The course is given and examined in English.

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  in business development 7,5 ECTS

Strategic Business Development  D is an advanced course directed to students aiming to become entrepreneurs as well as managers or project leaders focused on (international) business development A core idea in the programme, is action based learning (or learning by experience). 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

Module 1. Perspectives on strategy, 7.5 ECTS
This module highlights key challenges facing contemporary 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 core courses. 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 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:

  • Compare theoretical perspectives on management, entrepreneurship, and marketing strategies.
  • 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, recognize and apply the code of academic conduct to the student’s own work.

Focus of instruction:
This module includes lectures and guest lecturespracticing intercultural communication, and two group case projects. The module requires significant amount of independent study in order to preparing for classes. Company visit or guest lectures…The readings and lectures are complementing each other and intended to help the students to develop a good understanding of what strategy is about and to apply this knowledge in the course assignments.

Examination modes
The final grade is based on the individual written exam and two case reports, which are assessments of your group’s achievement. Attendance at all case seminars and presentations is compulsory to pass the module. The final grade is awarded to students who pass all assignments and an individual exam on the code of academic conduct.

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. The course defines growth in small- and medium-sized enterprises and the differences between entrepreneurial orientation and small business orientation. In the course students will not only analyse entrepreneurship, but also investigate 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) 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.

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

  • apply theoretical knowledge to identify and evaluate challenges for entrepreneurial growth 
  • analyse driving forces for entrepreneurial growth
  • perceive how investors evaluate entrepreneurial growth, that is banks, venture capital and business angels
  • analyse the constituents of governmental intervention for the benefit of entrepreneurial growth
  • identify and make decisions 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
A mix of lectures and seminars will be used and the teaching is characterized by a strong emphasis on
students 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 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. See also note 6 below.

Module 3. Managing Networks and Internationalisation
In the module, the two main topics are internationalisation and networking of entrepreneurial organizations. Key issues in this course 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 and new entrants as well as balancing cooperation and competition in international business settings.  The students will practice to analysing and planning internationalization strategies and network relationships.

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 decision based simulations and 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 networking and international development.

Examination modes
The examination is based on three parts: 1) active participation on case seminar(s) with written reports and oral presentations 2) active participation in business simulation game 3) individual home exam See also note 6 below.

Module 4. Strategizing in business development 7,5 ECTS
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, but consider strategic plans and programs an important tool 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 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 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 modules well as from previous courses to design a business plan within given timeframes.
  • Work effectively independently, in teams, and 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
In this module, the main pedagogical technique is work with a real-life case. This may entail students working in teams with existing companies, organizations, or start-ups to develop a business 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 plan and, second an oral presentation of this plan to a practitioner audience. Third, a written individual home exam. Fourth, active participation in and contribution to meetings related to the work with their business plan and in compulsory seminars.
A passing grade is required for each part of the module.

A passing grade is required for each part of the module. See also note 6 below.

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: 2013 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

Oviatt, B.M. & McDougall, P.P., 1994. TOWARD A THEORY OF INTERNATIONAL NEW VENTURES. Journal of International Business Studies, 25, pp.29-41 ST - Oviatt, B.M. & McDougall, P.P., 2005. Defining international entrepreneurship and modeling the speed of internationalization. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 29, pp.537-553

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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