International Business Strategy, Master Programme

60 credits

One way for companies to be successful is to expand in new growth markets and to do business across country borders. This one-year master programme provides adequate knowledge on how to develop competitive, dynamic and socially responsible strategies for international companies.

The one-year master programme in Business Administration with specialisation in International Business Strategy provides students with a theoretical and practical understanding of international business, marketing and entrepreneurship from a strategic point of view. A certain focus is on megatrends in society such as globalization and the ongoing development of emerging markets, including for example the Baltic Sea Region, Russia, China, India, Latin America and Africa. Another focus is given to the internationalization of firms in a business-to-business context – both traditional industrial firms and more current, rapidly internationalizing, entrepreneurial firms of smaller size. The programme is interactive and research-based – integrating research from the programme team into the courses as literature and illustrative examples – and takes place in a multi-cultural learning environment. Working with live-case companies plays a central role throughout the programme as students’ study internationally active firms in the region. It brings the international strategic challenges of firms into the courses. Students work to solve real strategic issues faced by highly internationalized and competitive Swedish firms of different sizes; ranging from large multinational corporations to small and medium-sized regional companies. The purpose of the programme is to foster independent and capable students with knowledge and ability to develop competitive, dynamic and socially responsible strategies for international companies.

International Business Strategy is a 60-credit one-year programme. The programme starts with workshops on international team building, intercultural communication and academic writing in order to form a platform for learning. The program starts with a multidisciplinary course covering global challenges and opportunities to give a background to contemporary megatrends and developments with relevance to international business strategy. Thereafter the programme provides students with programme specific courses in the theoretical background of international business strategy in emerging country markets and a course focusing on internationalization of primarily small and medium-sized entrepreneurial firms. During the Spring semester, a methodology course is given in parallel to a course in knowledge and innovation-based strategy, followed by the master degree project (15 credits) with specialisation in international business strategy.



Student testimonials

Student interview - Alyona Sazonova

"My goal is to become a leader in the public or private sector in Peru, and in that way be able to help my people"

Miguel C

Miguel C. was born in Peru but grew up in the US. He is a student at the International Business Strategy programme.

Can you tell me about your degree programme? How do you like it?

"I think it’s a great programme as it prepares me well for the future. Since the world is becoming exponentially more and more globalised I believe there will be a large demand for people with this kind of education in the future".

Why did you choose to study in Sweden and at Linnaeus University?

"I was eager to learn and study a new culture and to gain experience and Sweden seemed nice. Linnaeus University had exactly the programme I was looking for, and Kalmar really appealed to me, it is a super nice and cool city".

What’s your impression of Sweden and the Swedes?

"I must say that I think both the country and the Swedes are awesome. It is a friendly country rich in culture".

What do you do besides your studies? 

"I do a lot of sports and reading, and 'fika' (coffee break in Swedish)!"

What are your career plans?

"The main goals in my life are to be a good father, a good husband and to become a leader in the public or private sector in Peru, and in that way be able to help my people".

What’s the best thing with being a student at Linnaeus University?

"It feels like being part of a big family. The university puts a lot of effort into integrating all different cultures and making the international students feel at home".

"This programme has broadened my perspective on marketing"

The International Business Strategy programme has really broadened my perspective on marketing with courses like International Business Strategy in Emerging Country Markets and Knowledge Based Strategies in Distant Market Context. Using live-case companies is one of the programmes many strengths and has offered valuable perspectives on how theories can be put to practice as well as insight on how international companies work.

For the final semester I chose to write my masters thesis with one of my classmates. We were fortunate to work with an international company located in Kalmar.

Through the method of field experiments, our thesis resulted in recommendations of strategies, which the company is currently applying. After completing my year at the programme I was offered the chance to stay at Linnaeus University as a research assistant and junior lecturer.

Elin Eriksson, Sweden

"An unforgettable year in Kalmar"

My study experience at Linnaeus University was enjoyable and rewarding. Being with the classmates from all over the world and the experienced teaching staffs, is kind of preparation for my successful career in an international arena. I am sure you will be as happy as I am after spending one unforgettable year in Kalmar.
Qi Chen, China

"I enjoyed working with international Swedish companies"

Studying at Linnaeus University was an unforgettable experience. This program challenged me to think in new ways and it gave me the opportunity to interact with individuals from all over the world. I especially enjoyed working with international Swedish companies in the live-case company concepts and thesis writing. Working with the live-case studies inside the classroom motivated me to stay in Sweden and work for a Swedish company after graduation. Emily

"I got a valuable network of friends"

My experience during the year here has definitely surpassed my expectations. I came here expecting to earn a Masters degree and to learn about the new culture but I also walked away with a whole network of friends from across the globe.

The fact that we had at least 15 countries represented in our class of 25 students made the discussions and group based work very interesting and offered added value in terms of working with individuals from different backgrounds, cultures and personalities. I felt that the 'live case' company experience, as opposed to 'still' cases was an especially unique. Throughout the programme, we were assigned to work with Swedish organizations of various sizes and from diverse industries. We dealt with real-case challenges faced by organizations and had the opportunity to present our recommendations to the respective companies as part of our project work.

"A personal approach by the faculty"

Studying at Linnaeus University has been a wonderful experience. First of all, I like the Swedish educational system, which provides a lot of opportunities for individual and team-learning. Secondly, I never expected the professors to be so approachable and open to discussions with students at any time. I suppose this reflects the Swedish culture but I also believe this is possible because the university is not very large, so every student can enjoy a personal approach by the faculty.

The professors have been exceptionally helpful in providing Master thesis topics, which match the students' interests, and linking us with the companies to study. Our thesis topic focuses on my favorite field – the automobile industry. It has been a very rewarding experience to study the projects of Volvo Cars and BMW by obtaining information first-hand from the key people in the companies.
Liliya Altshuler, Ukraine

"I learned a lot about different cultures"

Kalmar is really a peaceful paradise for study. By studying with many international students in Linnaeus University, I have understood and learned a lot from different cultures in the world. On successful completion of the International Business Strategy programme, I am confident to make a better contribution in my future career.
Oi Ching Wong, Hong Kong

"The focus on emerging country markets is relevant to today´s global business"

The master program has really been great both from an academic and social point of view. To attend a program where the majority of the students come from several different countries really gives the educational environment an unique cross-cultural and international touch. The international focus has given us a competitive advantage when it comes to understanding globalization and international business.

The close collaboration with the business life has really enhanced our knowledge and practical skills in analyzing and formulating business strategies for multinational corporations. Furthermore, the strategy to focus on emerging country markets such as China, Russia and India makes the agenda even more relevant for today's global business infrastructure.
Henrik Florby, Sweden

"I have increased both my knowledge and personal development"

My four years spent at Linnaeus university have resulted in increased knowledge and personal development. I have also met a lot of new friends that are valuable for the future. During the Master programme I wrote a Master thesis for Tetra Pak, BMW and Volvo together with Prolet Kostova from Bulgaria. Our thesis was made possible by the strong practice orientation of the Master programme and its intimate collaboration with different industries and multinational companies.

With my Master Degree I got the opportunity to find a challenging and exciting job. Today, I work for NCM Donaldsons in Stockholm, which is a leading consultancy firm in development and management of commercial properties.
Theres Palmgren, Sweden

"We have improved our abilities in entrepreneurship and marketing"

This programme and the encouraging environment, is significantly improving our abilities in entrepreneurship and marketing. We believe the programme excels in combining academic studies with pragmatic connections to companies. The mix of cultures gives a unique opportunity to prepare you for an international business career. Adoption to cultures is very important for anyone in any company since the world gets increasingly more globalized.
Pia Rasmussen, Peter Stensgård & Peder Veng Søberg, Denmark

More about the programme 

Programme content

When enrolling to the IBS program, students take part in programme-specific workshops on international communication and team building in order to form multi-cultural teams based on learning styles. Also academic writing and academic data gathering are handled in workshop format. In parallel, the autumn semester starts, containing two courses with a focus on multinational companies of different size from mature markets and how they handle strategic business challenges in emerging markets.

1. International Business Strategy in Emerging Country Markets, 15 credits (mandatory)*

The core of the first course during the autumn semester is to analyze how international business and marketing strategy is adapted to rapidly changing markets, with a focus on the network of stakeholders, as well as the institutional environment, in emerging markets. The students work in multi-cultural teams with two group reports written for an assigned live-case company. The live-case companies are multinational small and medium sized manufacturing firms from southeastern Sweden. The teams independently plan and conduct interviews with the live-case company in order to analyze their international business strategy in emerging markets. The tuition consists of lectures, seminars, guest lectures and a study visit. Individual as well as group exercises, reports and exams will be performed.

2. Knowledge Based Strategies in a Distant Market Context, 15 credits (mandatory)*

The second autumn course put emphasis on knowledge and knowledge transfer in multinational corporations, and handles both theoretical and practical application of knowledge based strategies across country borders. The course handles the role of organizational knowledge, for the organization as well as for society as a whole; the creation of knowledge in the organization, including how to organize for knowledge creation and how knowledge is transferred within and across organizations. It also looks at organizational learning from a strategic and multilevel perspective and the foundation for strategic organizational dynamism in changing environments. The tuition consists of lectures conducted both by teachers and the students, seminars, case studies and group work, as well as individual exams.

During the spring semester two alternatives are given: two courses and a half-semester thesis, or a full semester thesis. Option 1 for spring semester:

3. Strategy Analysis for Business Success in Mature Markets, 7.5 credits (mandatory)*

The first spring course deals with strategy from a resource-based perspective with the aim to give the student a toolbox to analyze strategies and competitive advantages in global companies in different industries. The students will be introduced to principle concepts, frameworks and techniques of business strategy formulation and realization. Describing, analyzing and recommending will be the key inference in developing business strategies. The tuition consists of interactive classroom teaching, case studies and group exercises. The course is examined through individual written report and exam.

4. International Marketing of Small and Medium Sized Companies, 7.5 credits (mandatory)*

The second course during spring is about international marketing and internationalization processes of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) entering and taking off from emerging markets. It also handles the entry strategy of SMEs including a board-meeting seminar debating different establishment strategies of internationalizing SMEs. An article draft on international marketing of SMEs is authored in groups of two students, and insights in the review process of academic journal writing will be given. Written reports are presented and discussed in seminars.

The courses are followed by a half-semester thesis:

Degree project, 15 credits (mandatory)*

The degree project is a master thesis of 15 credits written as group work during ten weeks. An introduction to methodology guides the students to set a frame for the thesis and to independently formulate their thesis topic and research question/s. A literature review is undertaken and empirical findings are gathered from live-case companies, from this analysis is made and conclusions derived as well as presented and defended in opposition seminars.

Option 2 for spring semester:

Degree project, 30 credits (mandatory)*

For this second option no other course than the degree project is taken and a master thesis of 30 credits is written as group work during the full semester. This extensive thesis is suitable for projects containing larger gathering of data or in-depth studies of certain company-related phenomena. An introduction to methodology guides the students to set a frame for the thesis and to independently formulate their thesis topic and research question/s. A literature review is undertaken and empirical findings are gathered from live-case companies, from this analysis is made and conclusions derived as well as presented and defended in opposition seminars.

*Part of the main field of study Business Administration.

Pedagogical approach

The pedagogic approach in the programme is different from traditional education. We assume that master students are adult individuals with a capacity for profound and critical analytic reasoning, individually as well as in teams. We also assume that the master students are self-motivated as they intend to develop there learning capacities for business carrier opportunities. We therefore treat master students as future-to-be-managers.

The teaching is conducted in interactive sessions rather than one-way communication lectures. The sessions aim at enhancing your managerial potential and analytical skills. The focus is on the learning process through interactive dialogue between students and teacher rather than just the knowledge content. Describing, analyzing, recommending is the key inference in developing your analytical capacity.

The sessions are task- and group oriented. The management challenges you are asked to handle are real-life examples from our sponsorship company, which aim to broaden your business perspective and competence. The companies are some of the most advanced exporters in our local county of Småland with the globe as their market. Their active participation in the programme renders the case studies a 'live' dimension.

With a clear and challenging task developed in a session, the master students then go to the premises of the sponsorship companies to collect relevant information in order to solve the task.

There is a strong link between theory and practice. The leading teachers base their teaching on books which they have written themselves. You will be introduced to advanced concepts, frameworks, and techniques of which the teachers have profound knowledge and self-experience.

The analyzed task is presented orally as well as in writing. The evaluating criteria are transparent to the master students and feedback is received systematically. Also the content of the courses as well as the teacher are evaluated.

This is our pedagogic approach

  • Master students have the capacity for analytic reasoning and independent work
  • Interaction and dialogue between teacher and adult student
  • Master students are responsible for their own learning
  • Teams that explore and exploit different learning styles in team
  • Problem based learning, either from live-case companies or case studies
  • Transparent evaluation
  • Feedback- and feedforward loops


Master of Science (60 credits/120 credits) in Business and Economics with specialisation in International Business Strategy or Master of Science (60 credits/120 credits) with specialisation in International Business Strategy. (Main field of study: Business Administration)

The one year programme in International business strategy, has been cancelled and no students will be admitted during autumn 2018. You are however cordially welcome to apply to our 2-year master's programme XXX addressing the same subject area.


The city of Kalmar is situated on the southeast coast of Sweden. Kalmar is a beautiful city with 65,000 inhabitants and a long history dating back to the Middle Ages, with many cosy neighbourhoods and great charm. The lush green areas surrounding Kalmar Castle and the city park are many students' favourite.

The proximity to the ocean and the island of Öland has left its mark on the city and there are many long pedestrian paths along the coast. It is never far to anything in Kalmar and most places can be reached in just 5-10 minutes' walk – the university, the ocean, the gym, or the city centre, Kvarnholmen.

In Kalmar the university buildings and student accommodations are spread throughout the town and are well integrated with the historical surroundings – making students feel part of the town.