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International Strategic Management - Master's Programme

MSc in Business and Economics, major in Business Administration | 1 year | 60 credits

A drawing of a network of gears with key terms written next to it

The MSc in International Strategic Management is a one-year programme for bachelors in business administration, interested in how to analyse, formulate and implement strategies and in becoming a senior organisational leader.


Business is increasingly faced with challenges that threaten current business models, but also represent huge opportunities. This programme provides you with the knowledge and skills on how to recognise these challenges and act upon them to ensure long-term success. You will learn how to make decisions that can make or break your company, but also how to implement them.

We offer the latest insights into managerial strategy through a variety of small-scale teaching methods, ensuring an exciting and challenging learning experience. We emphasise both sophisticated scientific insights and linkages with business practice. The MSc in International Strategic Management combines state-of-the-art research with strong links to practice through industry projects in which scientific tools is applied to solve real company issues. The programme also offers the opportunity to combine the Master's thesis with a company assignment.

The courses in the programme provide you with an understanding of the key areas balancing theoretical elements with applied and practical aspects related to the topics of the different courses. Sustainability issues, including issues related to business ethics, are key components of our courses, giving you the opportunity to reflect and discuss on the different roles of companies in society.

Give your career a flying start with the latest thinking in comparative international strategic management and put your learning into practice with our unique action-learning approach. You will graduate with a thorough understanding of strategic thinking and the key skills of international business consulting.

International opportunities

Double degree with Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia)

Students enrolled in this programme will have an opportunity to compete for acceptance to a double degree with Deakin University at their Melbourne campus. After completing the one-year Master's in International Strategic Management (60 credits), you can take an additional trimester (4 units, July-November) within the Master of Commerce. You do not need to write another thesis. You apply in February, during your second semester in Lund.

Master of Commerce –

Double degree programmes for LUSEM master students

International Master Class

Students with exceptional study results during the first semester at this programme, may compete for seats at the International Master Class programme. An International Master Class is a highly competitive opportunity to go on an exchange semester after finishing your Master’s studies at LUSEM.

International Master class for LUSEM master students


Interested in getting an individual sustainability profile?

Ethics, responsibility and sustainability dimensions are embedded in all courses at the programme, and specifically addressed in the four elective courses “Innovation management”, “Performance measurement and management”, “Re-imagining capitalism" and “Global business and sustainability”. If you complete your elective courses and your degree project with a sustainabilitypurpose/topic, you have qualified for a diploma-based minor in sustainability.

Extra curricular track: Living the Sustainability Idea

Living the Sustainability Idea is an extra curricular track where you get the opportunity to know more about the concept Inner Development Goals, meet companies, be introduced to the latest research and get individual coaching to start your personal journey. It’s a possibility for you to explore, practice and reflect on your skills and capabilities.

Toan Le, Master's student in International Strategic Management, talk about Living the Sustainability Idea


Master coordinator Business Administration
master [at] fek [dot] lu [dot] se

Programme documents

International Strategic Management - Master's Programme

Autumn semester (September - October)

Core courses, 15 ECTS in total.

This course focuses the challenges you will have to deal with as a decision-maker, analyst or in any capacity where you need to use theory tools and models aimed at helping organisations become more proactive, outwardlooking and fit to change. Contemporary strategy challenges such as technology assimilation, innovation and business development, strategic leadership and change management are central topics.

Course code: BUSN11 | Download syllabus

Corporate governance deals with the owners’ and stakeholders’ overall control of the company. The objectives are to promote theoretical perspectives as well as empirical knowledge about the corporate governance system and its parts; capital markets and ownership structures, the managerial labour market, the board of directors, auditors, and legal institutions, and how these parts of the corporate governance system interact through different governance mechanisms and exert the overall control of corporations. An international comparative approach is taken on corporate governance. The objective is also to provide the students with specific empirical case studies.Guest lecturers with experience of corporate governance in the business society will participate.

Course code: BUSN10 | Download syllabus

Autumn semester (November - December)

Electives (select three (3) courses), 15 ECTS in total. 

The purpose of the course is to prepare students for future careers working with sustainable innovation, or managing development of novel processes, methods, ways of thinking or materials for application to practical purposes. In many organisations, innovation is a central driver of change and the management of innovation a central task for managers. This course introduces innovation management as a process towards sustainable change.

In the first part of the course, you will learn to understand the industrial dynamics of innovation. Key questions include: Where do innovations come from? What are the different types of innovation? Why do some innovation become successful, while others vanish?

In the second part of the course, you will learn how to formulate a strategy for innovation. Key questions include: How does innovation fit with the overall strategy of the firm? How can managers select and prioritize among different innovation possibilities? How can managers decide what innovations to do in-house and what to do in collaboration with others? How can innovation be protected?

In the third part of the course, you will learn how to actually implement an innovative project. Key questions include: How can innovation be organized within a firm? How can innovative projects be managed? How can project teams that work with innovation be managed?

Course code: BUSN17 | Download syllabus

Performance measurement involves the process of measuring financial and nonfinancial performance of organizations, and performance management involves the process of managing people´s decision-making and people´s behavior based on measured performance. The course is organized in four sections (see illustration below).

The first section includes a course introduction with presentation of key definitions and the relevance of performance measurement and management in today´s society andcontemporary organizations and class-room experiments. Experiments are used to facilitate understanding among students of the topics and key issues covered in the course.

The second section of the course focus on knowledge in the area of financial and non-financial measures, including and methods to establish key performance indicators (KPI) that are linked to overall strategies and objectives of a firm or organization.

The third and fourth section of the course relate to deepened knowledge about the use of measures and KPIs. in decision making, and to motivate and incentivize people and enable change and innovation. In the third section, students are introduced to judgement and choice bias and common mistakes when making decisions based on assessmentsand comparison of datareading statistical data. Techniques that can be used to de-bias decision processes by individuals and groups are presented.

In the fourth section, students are introduced to theories of human motivation and incentives. Techniques that can improve performance are presented. and methods about how performance measurement can be used to support different forms of control and accountability mechanisms are presented.

Course code: BUSO66 | Download syllabus

Growing inequality, catastrophic environmental damage, and a general mistrust in capitalism as a system currently hampers the legitimacy of companies and puts pressure on political systems worldwide. This course looks at various attempts to “reimagine capitalism.” It explores organizational efforts to address big societal problems and asks in particular how the private and the civil society sectors can contribute to developing more just and equal societies. In the aftermath of one of the worst financial, economic and social crisis in post-war history, the discussion on the form taken by today’s global capitalism has intensified.

As a response to big societal problems, many individuals, communities and organizations around the globe are suggesting new business models and experimenting with novel governance structures. This course aims at exploring past and present efforts to re-imagine capitalism.

This course is designed for students who want to explore the idea that some of the “big” societal problems can be effectively addressed by private firms, entrepreneurs and social activists. Students will be exposed to the business realities that come with “re-imagining capitalism” and will discuss obstacles and context factors for their practical implementation. Based on case study discussions of real organizations, students will learn the values, logics, strategies and practices used in current organizational efforts to ameliorate our economies and societies. As the course takes both the industry and socio-political context into account, students will also learn about the practical challenges met and the organizational possibilities opened by these novel businesses models.

The course combines discussions on theoretical perspectives from various disciplines with practical discussion of real-life cases. In this doing, we will discuss notions such as Conscious Capitalism, Social Entrepreneurship, Gift and Sharing Economies, Community Economies, Universal Basic Income or the Circular economy.

Course code: BUSO18 | Download syllabus

The objectives of this course are to promote theoretical perspectives as well as empirical knowledge about the challenges of corporate activities in the context of sustainability. The course encompasses managerial perspectives on the integration of business objectives with wider social and in particular environmental well-being as a key function of contemporary management.

The Global business and sustainability management pathway aims to help students to become knowledgeable and socially and environmentally responsible business leaders. With learning drawn from many different disciplines, students will develop the skills to research issues and respond to opportunities in ways that balance business interests with wider social and resource implications. This pathway offers a forward-thinking learning experience which reveals the importance of sustainability to all sectors of global business.

The course outlines how social and environmental sustainability influences the firm. In doing so perspectives and models related to corporate social responsibility, stakeholder and shareholder theory, value creation and setting corporate objectives and performance targets are utilized.

Course code: BUSO14 | Download syllabus

Spring semester (January - March)

Core courses, 15 ECTS credits in total.

Innovation and the evolution of technology are among the key forces that shape society. In particular, many observers see the current wave of innovation and digitalization as a new industrial revolution that will have a profound effect on all aspects of the global economy, business and society. The course will introduce current topics and theoretical perspectives that shed light on the underpinnings of these developments and discuss some of the strategic challenges of technological change for organizations and industries. 

Course code: BUSO01 | Download syllabus

Managers and organisations are acting in increasingly more complex current environments and navigating towards increasingly more complex and uncertain future environments. This has profound consequences for individual managers as well as for organisations.

The ability to reason under such conditions is one important dimension. Hence an understanding of cognitive theory and cognitive development is valuable. Acting under these conditions is another important dimension. Individual and organisational learning in action and so-called ambidextrous abilities are core aspects.

The content of the course is divided into the following parts:

  • Theories of complexity and uncertainty as it applies to management
  • Theories and praxis of foresight as it applies to management
  • Theories and praxis about cognitive development for individuals and in organisations
  • Theories and praxis of strategic thinking and decision-making

Course code: BUSO12 | Download syllabus

The course introduces the student to various considerations and approaches involved in planning and executing an academic research project. This involves deciding on a topic, formulating a research problem, and operationalizing it into a research design that is appropriate given various constraints on time and resources. It also involves conducting and presenting a literature review, structuring a methodological approach in relation to suitable empirical materials, and applying appropriate methods for data collection and analysis. Two additional aspects of the course involve how to critically assess research work in terms of quality, and how to discuss the various ethical aspects of social research in general and management research in particular.

  • Problem selection and formulation
  • Thesis structure
  • Literature review and theoretical frameworks
  • Research design
  • Data collection, analysis and presentation
  • Concepts of quality
  • Research ethics and philosophical underpinnings of research

Course code: BUSN03 | Download syllabus

Spring semester (April - June)

The main objective is to develop students’ ability to conduct an independent scientific study that includes developing relevant research questions, and to design and conduct a study that addresses the research questions based upon appropriate methodological considerations and relevant theories within the areas covered by the masters program. The students should also be able to present their study in a written academic report as well as orally. The students work independently and in smaller groups with designing and conducting their own study and on presenting their study in the form of a final written master thesis. This includes to search for and to select relevant literature on the appropriate theoretical area as well as on research methodology, and to collect relevant empirical data through field studies and documentary research. The students are also expected to read and discuss the work of other students that attend the same course.

The result of the project is presented and defended, orally and in writing, at a seminar at the end of the second semester of the master program. Most of the project work is scheduled during the second half of the second semester. However, students are expected to plan and outline the project and collect data parallel to the course work. Different parts of the written project report will be presented and discussed at intermediate seminars.

Course code: BUSN09 | Download syllabus

I chose this programme based on two main motivations. Firstly, it allows for a diversified career into many business domains. Secondly, a career in this field often requires a holistic perspective with communication and consideration of various other stakeholders, which I find very appealing.

– Theresa Looschen (Germany)

“While originally being from Germany, I studied my Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Management in the Netherlands. Driving factors when applying for Lund University for my Master’s were its high education standards and well-recognized ranking, the international environment, and the opportunity to study an intense one-year Master’s.

Why did you choose this Master’s programme?

I chose the MSc in International Strategic Management based on two main motivations. Firstly, it allows for a diversified career into many business domains and secondly, a career in this field often requires a holistic perspective with communication and consideration of various other stakeholders, which I find very appealing. Personally, aiming for a career in management consultancy, I believe this programme has prepared me very well for such a job, while the obtained knowledge can also be applied in almost any other job.”

How is the programme?

“Our class consists of about 45 people with 13 different nationalities. While I originally have not been a huge fan of group work, I have come to greatly appreciate it here in Sweden for two main reasons. Firstly, students at Lund University are motivated and ambitious so one can trust and depend on one another. Secondly, the background and experience base of my fellow students is very diverse – making it very interesting to learn about different perspectives and approaches to solve problems.

I experienced classes to be taught mostly in an interactive manner but on a voluntary basis. Teachers are very approachable and within a few weeks they know the student’s names. Workload, in my opinion, differs depending on the courses and time of year. I experienced the last few months as less intense as compared to the beginning, which offered students time to apply for jobs. Examinations usually include group work,  as well as an individual contribution, most often ranging between an individual four hour exam to a group paper assignment or a 24h take-home case exam, for instance. Written exams require much learning by heart of concepts and theories while assignments and case exams have practical application at focus, sometimes with companies from Lund or Malmö. Guest lectures are also common and are a nice opportunity to connect theory to practice.”

You are going to Australia to pursue a double degree. What does it entail?

“After my year in Lund, I will add an extra semester to my Master’s programme. Lund University School of Economics and Management has several programmes with double degree opportunities, so I applied – and was accepted – for a double degree with Deakin University, Australia. After the successful completion of the Master's in International Strategic Management at Lund University and successful completion of the courses at Deakin University, I will receive a Master's degree certificate in Business and Economics with a major in Business Administration from Lund University and a Master of Commerce (specializing in marketing) from Deakin University.”

What is your overall Lund student experience?

“Overall, and I believe I can speak for many of my fellow students, Lund as a student city has been treating us very well. There are student activities on a daily basis and plenty of opportunity to connect and enjoy life, whether this includes a quick trip to Malmö or Copenhagen, taking salsa lessons, having drinks with friends or going clubbing.”

Everyone who has been in touch with strategy and innovation knows that there is an abundance of frameworks. However, in the end it is not about the frameworks, but about choosing and applying them to the right scenarios.

– Alexander Losbischler (Austria)

“After high school, I decided to continue my educational path by doing a Bachelor’s degree in business, with a focus on sales and marketing. During this time, and after several internships, I quickly realised that I am thrilled by the idea of actively shaping the future of companies. And what better way of doing that than to work in strategy? As I truly relished the thought of making a difference, I decided to look for Master’s programmes in Europe in the field of strategy – and that’s why I am in Lund today.”  

What is the programme like?

“We are a very culturally diverse class of students who all share a passion for strategy and innovation. So, on top of building know-how in strategy consulting and strengthening our teamworking skills, group projects offer a unique opportunity to experience first-hand what it means to collaborate cross-culturally.

The programme is filled with advanced courses on numerous strategy-related subjects, ranging from innovation management and performance measurement to the management, financing, and strategy involved with buying, selling, and combining companies. While I definitely enjoy widening my strategy toolkit, I think my greatest learning experience has been strengthening my practical skills. I am challenged to truly reflect on what we read and hear. The same goes for being analytical. Everyone who has been in touch with strategy and innovation knows that there is an abundance of frameworks. However, in the end it is not about the frameworks, but about choosing and applying them to the right scenarios. And I think that’s a truly invaluable lesson.”

What is the teaching and learning style like?

“The teaching style at Lund University School of Economics is very open and interactive. In particular, the approachability of the professors creates a fantastic learning environment. Even though I am coming from a German-speaking country, being on a first-name-basis with all the professors felt uncomfortable in the beginning.

 Before talking more about the lectures, I need to explain the expected learning style a bit. Courses are generally composed of two main elements: theory and case studies. When it comes to theory, there is a wide range of scientific articles that we are expected to read before each lecture. During class, we usually discuss our different viewpoints, with the attempt to arrive at a common gist. What I moreover enjoy in class is the stimulating and enriching environment. I have experienced more than once that I am shown completely diverging solutions to the same problem, when I thought before class that there can, for sure, only be ONE solution. I would say that besides the knowledge I gain, I truly benefit from the stimulating environment to articulate one’s point of view and to be capable of defending it in discussions. This interaction with others has helped me to really build a thorough understanding of tools and concepts.

When working with real business cases, we have come across a wide range of strategy-related challenges, ranging from: giving recommendations to a Swedish architecture firm on sustainability and internalisation; to the evaluation of future innovation avenues of Ford Motors. On top of case studies, we also have the chance to get insights into practical matters by guest lecturers, company visits and consulting cases. Two examples that I am particularly fond of is a very exclusive visit to Space10 in Copenhagen – IKEA’s worldwide fuzzy front-end innovation hub, as well as a consulting case with TetraPak’s finance department on performance measurement issues. Overall, as this description might already imply, the workload is rather high, but definitely rewarding.”

What are you planning to do after your time in Lund?
“After graduation, I would like to start in a digitalisation-related business role. Since I was young, I have been intrigued by all sorts of digital technologies. But I have quickly learned that even the latest and greatest technology is useless if it does not generate value for its user. Hence, I think that in today’s world – where digitalisation is pervasive across all industries – the ability to understand how digital technologies might shape a company’s future is imperative. And that’s where I hope that my passion for digital technologies paired with my Master’s degree in international strategic management will come in handy.

If you have read through all of this and are still not sure what to expect from the program, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn!”

The fact that Lund University is located in Sweden, and has a Scandinavian approach to sustainability, also adds the uniqueness of this programme. A sustainable approach is tailored in each course, and we are challenged to ask ourselves ‘how can we contribute to a sustainable future?

– Shabrina Adani (Indonesia)

“I have a Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Universitas Indonesia. During my bachelor’s studies, I did an internship at Deloitte Consulting as a consumer business consulting intern, followed by an internship at British Petroleum as a risk engineer apprentice. After obtaining my Bachelor’s degree, I worked at the Development Bank of Singapore as a credit risk and policy officer for 2.5 years. Having worked in diverse industries and in different roles, I realised one essential thing: Strategy is key to stay in the game and to be competitive. Consequently, I began looking for a programme where I could learn more about strategy.”

What is the programme like?

“In this programme, we learn about the theoretical foundation of strategic management, as well as being challenged with real business cases and simulations. Most of the cases and assignments are solved in groups. This has been beneficial for developing communication and teamworking skills. I also enjoy to listening and participate in the active and dynamic in-class discussions. They have helped me to become more confident in expressing my thoughts.

Guest lecturers from diverse industries come to the programme to share their expertise and experience. This is really helpful to bridge the academic and professional world, and has helped to open up my mind on the my future career possibilities.  

On top of that, the fact that Lund University is located in Sweden, and has a Scandinavian approach to sustainability, also adds the uniqueness of this programme. A sustainable approach is tailored in each course, and we are challenged to ask ourselves ‘how can we contribute to a sustainable future?’. The class is very mixed, with bright students from all over the world. This has allowed me to understand how to work with people from varying backgrounds, and has given me the opportunity to build a worldwide network.”

What do you learn? And why?

“All in all, the programme has helped me to ‘connect the dots’ from everything that I have studied at the undergraduate level, and experienced at work. It has helped me to see and work with strategy in all different kind of organisations. I have learned how a business can understand its position on the market, and how to create a sustainable – but competitive – advantage. Businesses can also be innovative in various ways, but still maintain a robust strategy to tackle business challenges. Besides, I have been challenged to keep up with the high workload by learning how to manage my time effectively.”

Today, I’m well equipped with knowledge on how to drive and grow businesses in a sustainable manner and on dynamic and high-paced technological markets. These markets are global and more often than not, politically unstable.

– Leonie Mentrup (Germany)

I’m ambitious, and the MSc in International Strategic Management was the perfect match! The programme provided me with a wide range of knowledge on the entire strategic decision-making process. Today, I’m well equipped with knowledge on how to drive and grow businesses in a sustainable manner and on dynamic and high-paced technological markets. These markets are global and more often than not, politically unstable. I can’t wait to start out my career as a strategy consultant at Monitor Deloitte in Amsterdam. I would have not managed to move my career into the direction I had dreamed to pursue without this programme. Now, the case-work studies, state-of-the art theories on strategic management and the multicultural education from the School of Economics and Management will be put to the test – I can’t wait to make a difference!

Graduates from this programme can seek positions in domestic, international and global firms with managerial roles, as well as specialist roles within organizational settings. Knowledge in these areas of specialisation is of increasing demand, and there are very few if any master’s programmes in the Nordic countries with this attractive specialisation.

The next step

Our Career Services support you in building functioning networks, developing your resume and finding and getting a job. In addition, each semester we hold seminars on career related topics and assist you in networking with our alumni.

LUSEM Career Services

Programme requirements

Selection to this programme

We normally look for undergraduates with excellent results from an internationally-recognised university. When assessing your academic record, we take into account your grade average, position in class, your statement of purpose and the standing of the institution where you studied your qualification.

Undergraduates are recommended to have a minimum average grade equivalent to 3.0 in cumulative grade point average (CGPA) out of 4, C in the ECTS grading scale, and B in the American grading scale.

GMAT and GRE aptitude tests

We do not require a GMAT or GRE score but a well-balanced score may strengthen your application to this particular programme.

GMAT and GRE aptitude tests