International Business (MSc and Postgraduate Diploma)
A quality course to enhance your career
Designed to provide you with specialist knowledge of international business, these self-study programmes in International Business have been developed by academics within the School of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London. The School ranks in the top 15 in the UK according to The Times newspaper, putting it in the highest league of UK management schools.
Building on the success of Royal Holloway's MBA in International Management, the programmes in International Business provide a thorough grounding in a range of core subjects, giving you a strong foundation in the principles and techniques of business. You will also be able to select from a wide range of elective courses, allowing you to explore your interests and develop your expertise. Please note that as the MSc in International Business does not involve face-to-face sessions, it is not an AMBA-accredited programme.
|You study||Study period||Cost (2014)|
6 core modules; 4 electives;
research module and dissertation
|Postgraduate Diploma||6 core modules; 4 electives||1-5 years||£6,820|
|Individual modules||You may take up to four Individual modules on a stand-alone basis without, or before, registering for the MSc or the Postgraduate Diploma (with the exception of ‘Philosophy of management’, the research course, dissertation and the plenary sessions). This is an ideal option if you're keen to update your professional knowledge or would like to sample the programme.||
These programmes provide:
- a systematic understanding of business-related problems
- conceptual tools for analyzing and evaluating business issues
- a critical awareness of current research methods
- opportunities to develop your own hypotheses about business issues
- a stimulating learning environment in which to engage with case material.
These programmes will undoubtedly help you gain a competitive edge and drive your career forward, and may also assist a career change, achieve a salary increase, improve promotion prospects or simply broaden horizons and increase marketability. They also provide a firm foundation for postgraduate study and offers an excellent basis from which to further careers
- We provide you with an assigned tutor, careers guidance and study skills support
- Essays and group work via online tutor-assisted seminars are assessed
- Extensive new study materials (print and web-based) have been developed especially for distance learners
Flexibility to fit your lifestyle
Offering flexible admission dates, payment options and study periods, these programmes have been developed to fit in with your work and family commitments. You decide the level you wish to study at and can choose to follow a progressive route. The flexibility this offers enables you to plan your studies around your work and home commitments.
The Postgraduate Certificate in International Management forms a common core for progression to the different International Management and International Business awards offered via Royal Holloway, University of London (see Structure & Syllabus). So, if you are still unsure whether you should follow the International Management or the International Business route at this stage, the Postgraduate Certificate in International Management is the ideal starting point for your studies.
Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)
You may be able to apply for APL - also known as ‘credit transfer’ or ‘advanced standing’ at other institutions - from up to 20% of these programmes if you have covered a similar syllabus in the same breadth and depth as part of a previous qualification, which has been awarded within the past five years preceding your application for APL.
Summary of key dates
|Application deadline||31 January||31 July|
|Registration deadline||15 March||15 October|
|Examinations take place||October||May|
The Postgraduate Certificate in International Management provides a progression route to the Postgraduate Diploma and MSc in International Business. So, if you are still unsure whether you should follow the International Management or International Business route at this stage, the Postgraduate Certificate in International Management is the ideal starting point for your studies.
Postgraduate Certificate in International Management: 5 core modules
Postgraduate Diploma in International Business: 6 core modules and 4 electives
MSc in International Business: 6 core modules, 4 electives, research course and dissertation
All students: Optional introductory plenary
Six core modules
- International accounting and finance
This course gives a fundamental understanding of accounting and finance techniques and practices. It will also provide an awareness of the impact of contexts – different countries, industries, markets, and regulatory regimes - on the accounting and finance. It will enable students to focus on the analytical usefulness of accounting and finance data, but in a manner which emphasises the importance of a wider business understanding for such analysis and the limitations as well as the strengths of the data.
- International human resource management and organisational behaviour
The subject matter of the two modules in International human resource management and Leadership and organisations are combined in order to create an integrated module. We have brought these two subjects together in order to give an account of the nature of work within the modern corporation. In these modules we have chosen what we see as the key dimensions of managing people at work, namely: selecting and recruiting staff from external and internal labour markets, rewarding and motivating them, fitting them into an organisational structure and culture, and seeing how they cope with organisational change, much of it driven by the internationalisation of business in the modern world. Overall, we have utilised what could be called a macro, sociological or organisational approach to the subject of people at work.
- Information systems and operations management
This course combines the key principles and analytical frameworks from the two separate courses: International Operations management and Information systems (see above). They are taught as an integrated course for the MSc in International Management. This course will introduce students to some of the main topics in the important field of operations management – the activities which produce the goods and/or deliver the services required by customers. In today’s globalised economy, more and more organisations operate internationally, increasing the complexity and importance of operations management decision making. The course will also focus on the key information systems (IS) issues faced by organisations in today’s global business environment and will address the important organisational and managerial concerns in the development, implementation and effective management of information systems.
- International strategy
This course provides the student with an understanding of how Corporate and Business Strategy fits into the organisation and running of a company or multi-company corporation. It will introduce students to the way in which a firm can achieve sustainable competitive advantage and develop the corporation internationally. It will enable students to evaluate the factors that need to be considered in analysing a firm’s external environment as well as the internal core competences of a firm. Students will learn how to formulate strategy for a firm and will understand the nature of corporate and international strategy.
- International marketing
This course aims to develop an advanced understanding of the managerial marketing vocabulary of concepts, maxims and normative models within an international context drawing on issues in differing domains of practice including the public sector. The baseline for the module is the influential US normative tradition of applied marketing principles. Alongside this, the course encourages a critical engagement from students supported by reference to traditions of marketing scholarship which seek not to advance organisational effectiveness but to study the evolution, production and communication of marketing thought itself. Students successfully completing this module will understand something of managerial marketing thought’s historical development from its roots in classical economics in the USA to the normative tradition promoted by academic consultants such as Drucker, Levitt and Kotler. Students would furthermore demonstrate an understanding of popular normative marketing concepts such as the Mix and STP through application in practical case scenarios, learn to appreciate the scope of marketing activity in diverse sectors including non-profit and develop an awareness of some of the work that critiques the practical and theoretical assumptions of the managerial marketing tradition and which explores the idea of marketing as an intellectual domain.
- International business economics
This course introduces students to the economics of business enterprise through a strategic framework that incorporates both traditional and modern approaches to the firm. Combining real-world examples with economic methodology, it will explore decision-making within a competitive context and will enable students to demonstrate an understanding of economic analysis and reasoning relevant within a business context. Using the theory of the firm, the course will display an appreciation of the economic underpinnings of business strategy. It will also evaluate how various models of competitive analysis can be used to assess strategic behaviour. Students will learn how to formulate and respond to different competitive scenarios at the firm level and apply presentation and analytical skills to develop argument and evidence to support evaluation.
PLUS four electives chosen from the following
- International entrepreneurship
This course will provide students with the intellectual and practical background to equip would-be entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge to set up their own international companies successfully. Students will gain an understanding of the key differences between large companies and SMEs and learn to appreciate the role of start-up and entrepreneurial activity in the hi-tech and Bio-pharma sectors. It will also provide students with an understanding of the financing options available to start-up and developing companies.
- Advertising and promotional communication
This course will provide students with an advanced strategic perspective on contemporary marketing communication management within an international context. It will develop an integrated approach within a strategic and international marketing communication perspective, and offer a theoretically and practically robust basis for further postgraduate study/research and/or careers in marketing and advertising. The course will draw on the research-based expertise in the marketing group in advertising and promotional communication within the School of Management.
- Cooperative strategy
Many companies today engage in co-operative strategies. A cooperative strategy is an attempt by a firm to realize its objectives through cooperation with other firms, in alliances, rather than competition with them. This course focuses on the benefits that can be gained through cooperation and how to manage the cooperation so as to realize them. It will examine how a cooperative strategy can offer significant advantages for companies that are lacking particular competencies or resources to secure these through links to others possessing complementary skills or assets; this course will also examine how cooperative strategy may also offer easier access to new markets, and opportunities for mutual synergy and learning.
- International business analysis
This course analyses corporate management by examining two interconnected themes: (a) literature and debates, and (b) the macro and meso background. The first theme presents a form of business analysis that draws on three sources. First, it outlines relevant management/strategy literatures. Second, it introduces political economy debates, which help us to understand the changing structural context around firms and industry. Third, it demonstrates how market, financial and productive analysis can be used to develop empirically based stories about strategies and their outcomes. The second theme contains two features: first, economic/product market context; second, use of business analysis methods to allow case study work.
- International sustainability management
This course provides the student with an understanding of how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fits into a programme of Sustainable Development for an organisation. The aim is to introduce the student to the tensions and trade-offs involved in the adoption of CSR by a firm in a competitive economy. The students will also learn to understand the role of central, regional and local government in providing a facilitating framework for CSR and encouraging its adoption.
The students will also learn to understand the problems involved in implementing a CSR programme and the culture change necessary to achieve a successful CSR firm strategy for companies previously concerned only with shareholder value. It will enable students to evaluate the factors that need to be considered by politicians in encouraging the adoption of CSR, the factors that need to be considered by corporate strategists in developing a business and corporate strategy including CSR and to evaluate the economic and cultural factors involved in the adoption of CSR by firms. It identifies the implications for a firm in terms of risk and competitiveness of the adoption of a CSR agenda when other firms in its markets may not have done so and enables student to understand the implications of CSR for capital markets as well as the implications of implementing and embedding CSR in a corporation.
- Corporate social responsibility
This course will provide students with more in-depth knowledge of CSR issues in the business world. The aim is to introduce the student to the tensions and trade-offs involved in the adoption of CSR by a firm in a competitive economy. Students will also learn to understand the role of central, regional and local government in providing a facilitating framework for CSR and encouraging its adoption. It will provide students with an understanding of the problems involved in implementing a CSR programme and the culture change necessary to achieve a successful CSR firm strategy for companies previously concerned only with shareholder value.
- Management of Japanese multinationals
This course analyses the business strategies, organization and operations of leading Japanese multinational companies, by reviewing and comparing case-studies. The course will develop insight into the approaches and methods of leading Japanese executives, and the practical realities of multinational management. It will consider the influence of national and organizational cultures on the operations of multinationals, and analyze the organizational capabilities of Japanese multinationals in relation to their competitors. Student will be able to evaluate relevant literature and theory on the multinational enterprise and Japanese business with contemporary practice, and to utilize research skills in the investigation of individual Japanese multinationals. A key feature of this course is the opportunity to confer with leading business executives and officials, and extend the personal skills and experiences of students.
- Multinational enterprise and the global economy
This course will provide an overview of the development and current position and role of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) as key agents on the international economic stage. Attention is placed on the growth and development of MNEs, the emergence of a ‘global’ economy, trends in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and more strategic issues such as the foreign market entry decision, co-operative structures and strategies and ethical concerns. Therefore, the course attempts to interrogate the importance of MNEs as key agents of integration across the international economy. The course also addresses the implications of ‘globalisation’ for the organization and operation of multinational firms.
- Investment management
The course will provide students with a comprehensive overview of portfolio management in theory and practice. It will develop an understanding of the pricing of bonds, equities and derivatives and their risk/return characteristics and evaluate the relative merits of active and passive management from both a domestic and international perspective. Recent changes in international fund management and their implications will also be examined. The main valuation models for bonds and equities will be critically analysed, and the problems of international investment strategy and the relative merits of different approaches will be examined in detail. The current state of financial markets will be analysed with a view to devising a relevant portfolio strategy.
- Corporate finance
This course will provide an overview of corporate finance in both a domestic and an international setting. It will explain the valuation of real investments and their financing as well as the dividend decision. By developing an understanding of international capital markets, the course will identify the main trends in mergers and acquisition activity. Students will be able to apply the main principles of financial theory to contemporary commercial problems and understand the problems of investment appraisal and the relative merits of different approaches. This will enable them also to evaluate the consequences of a proposed takeover or merger, and to analyse the current state of financial markets.
- Knowledge management
This course will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of contemporary theories and practices of knowledge management (KM) by examining the theoretical understanding of knowledge management to real life situations and by integrating different dimensions of knowledge management arising from human resource management, information systems and strategic management. The course will explain the concept of `intellectual capital’ and how it is managed and exploited in organisations. The course will demonstrate a critical understanding of knowledge management policies and strategies in organisations that enhance effectiveness. Students will be able to apply a range of transferable skills including literature search, analytical skills, application of theory to real life situations, teamwork, motivation and interpersonal skills.
- International business law
This course provides an understanding of the essential elements of international business law. It will focus on the main issues relating to Contract Law, Commercial Law, Business Regulation, Employment Law, Company Law, Commercial Arbitration Law (theory and practice) and Business Ethics (theory and practice). It is intended to give students a comprehensive and coherent appreciation of the main legal aspects of the subject as well as exploring ethical issues within the international business context. The course will give a grounding in the legal issues of international business, and provide an understanding of the national and international legal practice relating to international business law.
- Global financial markets
Global financial markets is concerned with the nature of the capital securities which are traded on the international money and capital markets and with the operation of those markets themselves.
Over the last 20 years, there has been an explosion in the variety of securities and tradable assets, fuelled by deregulation and paralleled by an equally explosive growth in the technical and academic development of the discipline of finance. This development came about because of a number of important theoretical advances: the development of the theory of risk, the formal development of the concept of arbitrage and, of equal importance, the development of sophisticated information processing systems.
Plus research module
- Business research methods course and dissertation
How to write your dissertation
This is an innovative course designed as a step-by-step guide on how to write your dissertation. It is based on many years of experience of helping students to successfully complete a research project. Unlike all other courses in the MSc, there is no examination, but the course is assessed through the submission of a 12,000 word dissertation.
Starting your dissertation: developing and choosing a research topic; routes to pursue a research issue; how soon should I write?; designing your research project – research purpose, research strategy; unit of analysis; time dimension; study setting. Progress of your report: typical route; road blocks to making progress on your project; when to stop writing; the 65 per cent rule; limits and objectives of the literature review; structuring your literature review; falsification theory and the structure of a literature review.
How do we think?; scientific understanding and method; deduction and induction; lateral thinking; fuzzy thinking; theory building; variables; hypotheses; what are theories for?; do theories have to make sense?; simplification; structure of a theory chapter.
Components and structure of a methodology chapter; methodology diary; common methodological problems; qualitative versus quantitative research; qualitative data collection; six characteristics of qualitative data collection; methods for collecting qualitative data; methods for collecting quantitative data; complementarity of qualitative and quantitative research; sampling and survey design; advantages of sampling; representativeness and randomness; reliability and validity; populations and sampling frames; sampling designs.
Coping with data
Statistics are beautiful; the power of statistics; six common statistical fallacies; when is data information?; introduction to statistical techniques; data analysis; decision framework for data analysis; statistical tools for data analysis; use of SPSS.
Bringing data back to theory; how not to write a conclusion; common problems of style; basic rules of writing; the expectations of examiners.
- Dissertation - International Business
The dissertation is an excellent opportunity to analyse a business or management issue in depth as an independent research project. The dissertation could be carried out in conjunction with a ‘blue chip’ business or you could use your experience and knowledge to study a topic of relevance to your own professional or national background. You will be assigned a supervisor who will be able to offer advice and suggestions about your chosen field of inquiry, your methods and analysis. The supervisor will also provide support and encouragement to assist you in completing this challenging and final component of the MSc course.
Optional introductory plenary
- Plenary 1 (Introduction)
Plenary 1 (Introduction) comprises an intensive week long programme of formal lecture and workshop-style sessions, informal networking and guest speaker presentations. The master class introductory sessions led by Royal Holloway staff are designed to give new students an introduction to the compulsory modules that are taken by students of the International Business and International Management programmes. Those attending are encouraged to do so early in their studies.
- Not all elective modules will necessarily be offered each year.
- You may take up to four credit bearing Individual Modules on a stand-alone basis without, or before, registering for the MSc or the Postgraduate Certificate (with the exception of the research course, dissertation and the plenary sessions).
The programme is designed specifically for distance learning and you can expect guidance many areas:
- Tutor-marked assignments Your assignments will be marked by tutors at Royal Holloway as part of each course assessement. This is an opportunity to receive invaluable feedback and to measure your progress throughout the course.
- Dissertation For the MSc you will be assigned an individual supervisor to help you when writing up your dissertation.
- University of London Online Library Our extensive online library offers access to a range of learning and information resources including 'Business Source Premier' and 'International Bibliography of the Social Sciences'.
- Regional study support You can either study independently at a pace that suits you, or enrol for additional classes at a local institution and benefit from the more formalized support this provides. Please note that the University of London does not have a formal relationship with these institutions and cannot guarantee or comment on the standards of their teaching or service to students.
World Wide Learning Community (WWLC)
An integral part of the programme, Royal Holloway's online World Wide Learning Community [external link] offers a variety of resources to support the learning experience. It allows you to:
- Access your course materials.
- Take part in discussions with your tutor and other students.
- Receive notices, seminar dates, project support and other programme-related information.
- Ask questions regarding the administration of the programme.
- Seek help for any technical problems you may encounter.
We will give you a full range of study aids when you first register. These will either be printed or you'll be directed to the World Wide Learning Community website [external link]:
- Handbook This covers everything from planning your studies to preparing for exams.
- Assignments booklet This outlines the assignments that require submission for tutor marking
And for each course you study you will receive:
- A study guide written by subject specialists, including the core content for the courses and case studies
- Core textbooks
- Past examination papers and Examiners' reports if applicable.
You can buy study materials for new courses at any time of year by paying the appropriate course fee.
Royal Holloway's School of Management gives you access to 'Recruitment guides' (via Workmaze, an MBA CareersService). These give you an insight into each listed company's recruitment scheme by providing:
- Up-to-date company contact information.
- Names of key recruitment contacts.
- Details of any MBA recruitment schemes.
- Deadlines and methods of application.
- Details of international recruitment opportunities.
We also give you access to MBA headhunter [external link] where you can upload your CV, introduce yourself via a self-recorded video, and use state-of-the art remote video interviewing tools to measure yourself on the skills sought by top recruiters.
The fees below refer to the 2014 session only and are effective from 1 May 2013 until 30 April 2014. Fees are subject to annual review.
|Registration fee||£ 970|
|Module fee||£ 585|
|Research module (MSc only)||£ 1,985|
|Total Postgraduate Diploma||£ 6,820|
|Total MSc||£ 8,805|
|Total per Individual module (taken on a stand-alone basis)||£ 760|
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When to pay
Fees may be paid in one of two ways:
How to pay
All University fees must be paid in pounds sterling (GBP). The University accepts:
- Western Union - Quick Pay
- Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Electron, JCB)
- Sterling banker's draft/cheque
- International money/postal order
Further details are given in payment methods.
In addition to the fees payable to the University, you should also budget for the fee charged by your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary.
The University reserves the right to amend previously announced fees, if necessary. For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule. Different fee schedules may apply to students with local tuition and administrative support.
Examinations are offered twice a year, in May and October, and are held in examination centres both in the UK and worldwide.
All core and elective courses (except your research course and dissertation) are assessed by one unseen, three-hour written examination and a written assignment. The final mark for each course is based on both papers, with 80% of the mark based on your exam results and 20% by tutor-marked assignments.
Your dissertation will consist of a 12,000-word report, excluding bibliographies, appendices and the project statement or summary.
To apply for the MSc or Postgraduate Diploma in International Business you must have:
A second class honours* degree or the equivalent from a university or other institution acceptable to the University of London
OR a first degree from a university or other institution acceptable to the University of London and a G-MAT score of 550 or over
OR an equivalent professional qualification and a GMAT score of 550 or over
Please note: All other applications will be considered on an individual basis at the discretion of the University.
*If you have a degree from an institution that does not award honours you may still apply. In this case, a certified transcript of your results must be sent by the awarding institution directly to the Postgraduate Admissions Office.
Students taking stand-alone individual modules
You should satisfy the entrance requirements for the MSc and Postgraduate Diploma. If you do not, we will still consider your application but we will require evidence of your ability to undertake an advanced course of study.
English language requirement
You should have an advanced level of English. You may be required to pass (or to have passed in the last three years) a test of proficiency in English acceptable to the University, e.g. an IELTS score of 6.5 or over with a minimum of 6 in each sub-test or a TOEFL with a paper based score of 600 or 250 on the computerised test, plus a Test of Written English (TWE of at least 4.5). Where an applicant does not meet the prescribed English language proficiency requirements but believes that they can demonstrate the requisite proficiency for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.
Online access and general computer requirements
Supported Browsers include:
Internet Explorer 7+
Screen resolution (recommended)
1024 x 768 or greater
Certain programmes may have their own specific requirements, please refer to the relevant Regulations.
Academic leaders: Royal Holloway - School of Management
Founded in 1886, Royal Holloway [external link] is the third largest multidisciplinary College in the University of London and home to the renowned School of Management [external link]. The School is accredited by AMBA; this award is an indication and hallmark of quality, as judged by academic peers.
The School of Management is a medium-sized management school, with coherent values based
on researching business enterprises and management practices within comparative, international and national contexts, and more particularly using historical, socio-economic institutional frameworks. The School includes two College Research Centres – the Centre for Research in Sustainability (CRIS) and the Centre for Public Sector Organisations (CPSO). They help connect school research to the concerns of policy makers and practitioners in the private, not-for-profit and public sectors. There is overlapping membership of research groups, reflecting the School’s ethos of inter-disciplinary research.