The Master of Science program at GISMA Business School not only features a rich core curriculum, but also a series of electives to provide added educational value. During the 11-month program, a total of at least 14 credit hours, i.e. a minimum of seven electives, must be taken. The choices vary each year, with certain electives being offered on a regular basis (see below).
Action Learning (2 credit hours)
Under the supervision of a professor, small teams of five to seven students work closely with a specific company. They visit that company, meet managers and learn from the company, while at the same time providing consultancy services to them. By working closely with actual business organizations, classroom learning and newly acquired skills can be applied to the fullest. Teamwork plays a pivotal role in the success of the projects, as do presentation skills when participants present research findings and recommendations to the company’s management.
An individual study on company related issues will be performed by each student, using GISMA’s research resources.
Entrepreneurship (2 credit hours)
This course draws on actual cases to illustrate the critical steps involved in founding a new business, such as conducting feasibility studies and drafting a business plan. Students learn about the challenges faced by start-ups and also become familiar with the kind of entrepreneurial practices common in established companies.
Managing Emerging Technology (1 credit hour)
This course deals with models and tools useful for predicting the success of new
technology to be launched. The course is particularly aimed at students with an interest in
small and medium-sized enterprises pursuing new technology and innovative ideas.
Operations Management: Practice and Models (1 credit hour)
Many concepts from the field of Supply Chain Management can only be fully grasped in a
dynamic context; otherwise there is the risk of seeing SCM merely as a static planning
instrument, without recognizing the important role played by such systems in real-world
processes. Small-scale manufacturing workflow and distribution models are used to illustrate
concepts learned in the related core course, enabling students to experience them in action
and assess their practical value.
Marketing Strategy (2 credit hours)
This course offers students a risk-free simulation platform for testing theories and making decisions. From competitive forces to the effects of sales, distribution, R&D and advertising, every aspect is real.
Each team of three to six participants competes against each other to successfully pilot their industrial company over a multi-year period. The name of the game isn’t just tactics, but long-term strategy. Because decisions are made over a six-to-twelve year period, teams are forced to not only plan for short-term profits, but long-term objectives.
Since each team’s actions directly influence the market, competitive analysis is a must. Competitor actions and reactions, new product launches, sales and distribution strategies all define how teams manage their own product portfolio, R&D projects, positioning, pricing and distribution channels.
The simulation (Markstrat) is designed to teach strategic marketing concepts and decision making, in areas such as market segmentation, product strategies, marketing mix, R&D, finance, HR, production, distribution and market research.
Online Process Management (2 credit hours)
Who? What? How? How quickly? At what cost? With what degree of quality? These are
some of the questions addressed by business processes which describe the entire range of tasks handled by employees and business partners as well as related IT applications and all
internal and external workflows. In an age of corporate management powered by IT,
integrated business processes are a prime objective. This course illuminates each and every
phase of process management, including analysis of the status quo, computer-assisted
development of ideal processes, company network implementation of corresponding IT
solutions such as R/3, and Internet-based process efficiency evaluation using the Balanced
Innovation and Knowledge Management (2 credit hours)
In this course, Knowledge Management is conceptualized as a business strategy that identifies, organizes, distills and distributes information essential to the business in a way that improves organizational performance and corporate competitiveness.
The KM strategy approach also implies that successful KM solutions support the ability of the organization to quickly react to opportunities and threats from the environment and to produce innovative ideas and turn them into products and services at a quicker pace than the competition.
The course considers Information Technology an enabler for Knowledge Management solutions and discusses recent advances and changes in this area as well.
Service Operations Management (1 credit hour)
Services are the largest and fastest growing segment of our economy. However, managing services is particularly challenging due to their intangible nature, perishability, high levels of customer involvement, and high interdependence of operations and marketing decisions. This course provides special concepts and analytical tools for effectively and efficiently managing service operations in the face of these challenges. In particular, we will look at critical management decisions such as customer-oriented service process and product design, service pricing and revenue management, service capacity management, service network design, service scheduling, etc. Applications cover cases from a broad range of service industries, like transport and communication, retail, hotels and restaurants, professional services, and e-services.
Product Design and Pricing (1 credit hour)
The course provides students with state-of-the-art management techniques to identify markets, develop new product ideas, measure customer benefits, and profitably design new products or reposition existing ones. Successful product design requires understanding not only what creates value for customers, but also how that value can be quantified and transformed into profits. We will look behind the power of smart pricing – a key lever of profitability in product design and a decision area that most executives name as their major challenge and major weakness.
How to design a factory (1 credit hour)
The role of factories has dramatically changed over the last few decades. They must be highly adaptable regarding product mix, local content, volume, exchange rate and logistic performance. This course offers a systematic approach showing how to design a factory step by step, illustrated by real life examples. A laboratory tour exemplifies important features of modern factories and their facilities. Exercises deepen the understanding of the design steps.
Mergers & Acquisitions (1 credit hour)
Mergers and acquisitions represent significant changes that involve the entire enterprise. As such, this course allows us to pull together material covered in previous finance courses, while also linking financial decision-making with the overall strategy of the firm and dabbling in law, accounting and organizational behavior. This course focuses on the major aspects of mergers. We will cover the reasons (both good and bad) that these transactions are made, the mechanics of the transactions, the valuation of the firms involved, various aspects of deal structure, and the roles of the parties involved.
Strategic Cost Management (2 credit hours)
This course explores how controlling and cost data can be used as input for corporate strategy-building. The course begins with a consideration of how such information is gathered and communicated. The course uses current literature and case studies to expose students to a wide array of management topics, initiatives and situations.
Smart Decision Making (2 credit hours)
Decision-making is the most important activity through which we control our professional and personal lives. Many people don’t realize that decision-making, like any other skill, can be learned, practiced and improved. This course is meant to motivate people to view decision making as something positive and to help them make better decisions throughout their lives.
Based on principles of rational decision-making, the science of decision analysis draws on economic theory and probability theory to devise models and tools for smart decision-making. These models are fairly straightforward and intuitive. However, implementing these models and tools often runs into important and real psychological biases that prevent us from making smart choices. This course presents the key ideas from both the science of smart decision-making and the art of implementing them into useful strategies.
Managing Corporate Culture (1 credit hour)
With the growth of international activities, managers are faced with the task of coping with diverse cultural issues and leadership challenges. This course is designed to help students to better understand fundamental aspects of cultures and their impact on individual and organizational performance; to gain sensitivity regarding leadership requirements in a cross-cultural corporate environment and to address typical cross-cultural management challenges through analyzing selected cases.
Advanced Financial Management (2 credit hours)
This course provides added insight into corporate financial management, covering topics such as venture capital and private equity, leasing, initial public offerings (IPO), mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. A number of case studies are used to illustrate the theoretical principles involved.
International Negotiations (1 credit hour)
The right corporate decisions can only be made when based on a thorough understanding of organizational interrelationships, hierarchical structures, individual creative potential, personal biases and group processes. This course examines effective negotiation strategies and provides many opportunities for students to practice them.
Global Strategy (2 credit hours)
This course concentrates on the dynamics of global competition, explaining the analytical approaches used by globally operating companies to create and implement appropriate strategies. The main emphasis is on: a) the challenges involved in managing a company across international borders; b) ways in which companies can create a competitive edge in cross-border business activity; c) promising strategies for entry into foreign markets; and d) mission-critical awareness of prevailing political, cultural, social and institutional factors in certain countries.
Leadership (2 credit hours)
In today’s business world, the concept of “leadership” is closely intertwined with a wide array of related topics, such as group dynamics, political science, religion and corporate assessment. This course examines leadership both in corporate terms and vis-à-vis human resources. It addresses the issues of what leadership is, what factors contribute to successful leadership and whether leadership is something that can be learned.
International Marketing (2 credit hours)
At the beginning, the Big Mac was a tremendous failure in Argentina . Why? Simply because the company thought it could sell the same hamburger everywhere...even in the land of barbecue. As a beer brand manager, should I try to position the product the same way all over the world? How might the "brand promise" be understood differently outside of its home market? What are the challenges faced by the marketing managers of a car designed by German engineers, produced by Mexican labor and sold to meet the needs of American consumers? The main goal of the course is to familiarize students with common issues facing International Marketing managers in a wide array of industries and countries.
Brand Management (1 credit hour)
This course is designed to provide an understanding of how to manage a brand, product, or product category. The course will be less concerned with the process of collecting and analyzing data, and more focused on what do with such data. Even the most skillful marketer cannot make customers buy things they don't want.
Hence, this course will focus on issues related to customer behavior and customer decision making, with an emphasis on how to utilize such customer-oriented knowledge, especially as it relates to developing ideal forms of advertising and communications, product and/or service adjustments or extensions, and appropriate decisions related to distribution and pricing – all of which must be concerned with both customer acquisition and retention.
Portfolio Management (1 credit hour)
The objective of this course is to provide students with a sound understanding of portfolio theory and asset pricing models. A strong knowledge of portfolio theory is essential for our understanding of asset pricing models that are used in investment and capital budgeting decisions, and in portfolio performance measurement. The major topics covered will include: risk and return, optimal portfolio selection, and asset pricing models. The main emphasis of the course is on common stocks, especially portfolios.
This course is quantitative and relies on the economic theory and analytical tools developed throughout the course. Students are expected to have basic understanding of economics, statistics, linear algebra, and calculus. Prior knowledge of a spreadsheet package such as Excel is also assumed.
Managing Organizational Change (1 credit hour)
This course provides an introduction to the different managerial challenges involving organizational change, such as envisioning change, implementing change, managing resistance to change, and sustaining change. Students will analyze these challenges through readings and case studies that describe a range of organizational settings (services, manufacturing, multinational), change types (response to a crisis, proactive, continuous), and outcomes (successful, failed, and uncertain change initiatives).
Team Effectiveness (2 credit hours)
Technologies, products, and services are becoming increasingly complex - so complex, in fact, that in many cases they can no longer be fully comprehended, mastered, or improved, let alone created or developed by individuals. To remain successful in a hyper-competitive environment, companies must bring together experts with complementary skills, knowledge bases, and abilities. Given the right conditions, teams can not only perform more work than individuals working independently, but, by leveraging synergies, can also produce better and more innovative results. But this is much easier said than done. This course examines why teams often disappoint and what active steps must be taken to bring their full potential to fruition.
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