MSc International Business

Course overview

Students on this Master's programme will examine the strategies multinational firms use to compete in a global economy, as well as the development and policy challenges they create, from the perspectives of both developing and developed countries.

In addition to learning how firms are organised internally, students will take a holistic view of the international business environment, in terms of the competitiveness of firms and industries. Students will therefore be able to connect the 'micro' firm view with the 'macro' view of countries and regions.

How we teach you

A holistic approach

Effective leadership requires more than first-class business acumen. It also requires a degree of self-awareness and sensitivity. Henley is renowned for its well-researched, professional approach to this aspect of business education and all our postgraduate programmes examine this aspect of leadership - helping to create emotionally intelligent graduates who can be fully effective in their chosen careers.

How you will learn

Henley Business School enjoys a strong reputation for the practical application of business ideas and concepts, underpinned by academic excellence and the strength of our research. We offer high-quality technical skills training as well as a deep understanding of the importance of personal development for leaders, a thread that runs through all of our Masters programmes.

Our postgraduate masters programmes feature a mix of core and optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree towards your individual personal development needs and career ambitions. You will complete up to 10 taught modules during your programme, totalling 180 credits. One module usually equates to 20 credits or 10 hours of work per week. Your week will include lectures, tutorials, workshops and personal study, with each accounting for 25% of your time on average. This stimulating mix of lectures and interactive tutorials provides you with the opportunity to discuss and explore the subject material in depth with your lecturers and fellow students. You will be introduced to the latest thinking and research findings and be able to challenge some of those that have created it. You will also explore real-world issues and tackle current business challenges, and interact with guest lectures and speakers from industry, giving you the opportunity to test, extend and refine your knowledge and skills.

How we assess you

You will learn and be assessed through a wide variety of teaching methods which vary depending on your chosen Masters programme. These include online materials and multimedia content, guest lectures, individual and group assignments, case studies, field visits, dealing room simulations, presentations, applied projects, consultancy work and examinations.

On average examinations form around 70% of the assessed work with the remaining 30% coming from coursework, including a written dissertation or project depending on your chosen programme. The exam period falls between April and June in the summer term, with students taking an average of 5 or 6 exams. Graduation normally takes place in December.

Ongoing support

While postgraduate students are self-motivated and determined individuals, study at this level can present additional pressures which we take seriously. Lecturers are available to discuss the content of each module and your academic tutor can meet with you regularly to discuss any additional issues. Full-time support staff are also available to help with any questions or issues that may arise during your time at Henley.

How to apply

Apply for 2019 entry now

There are two different application processes: apply online and apply by post.

The quickest and easiest way to apply for Postgraduate study at Henley Business School, at the University of Reading is through the University’s online application service.

This allows you to complete your application information, attach electronic copies of your academic transcripts, certificates and other supporting information and also provides a facility for an email request to be sent to your referees enabling them to send your supporting references directly to us.

Apply online

Apply online now using the University of Reading's online application system.

Apply by post

If you are unable to apply online you can request a paper application form by telephoning +44(0) 118 378 5289 or writing to the Admissions Office, University of Reading, Miller Building, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AB, UK.

When to apply

We operate a rolling admissions system and it is recommended that you apply early to secure your place. There is no specific deadline and applications will be considered until the programme is full. However, to allow time for us to process your application we recommend that you apply by the following dates for admission in October:

  • UK/EU applicants: by 1 August
  • International applicants: by 1 June

After you apply

You will receive a confirmation email when we receive your application form. Your application is then reviewed by a member of staff. Successful applicants will receive a formal offer letter outlining any necessary entry cri­teria you will need to meet and you will be asked to confirm your acceptance of this offer.

A (non refundable) deposit of between £500 and £1,000 (depending on the programme you have applied for) is payable upon acceptance of an offer of a place. International applicants requiring a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for a visa will be sent the CAS details by email once all conditions of the offer have been met, and the relevant deposit has been paid.

Throughout the admissions process we will keep you updated with key information via email. We also provide opportunities to interact with faculty and staff online.

You can find us on Facebook and keep up-to-date with news and events in the School or ask us a question. In addition, you can speak to a current student; our students and alumni are always happy to share their Henley experience.

Meet Us

If you are unable to attend a postgraduate event please get in touch with our team.  We will be happy to speak to you by telephone, on Skype or through our Live Chat system (during UK office hours: 9 - 5 pm).

Our contact details are: postgraduate@henley.ac.uk or telephone: +44 (0) 118 378 7593.

Please see our list of world fairs below where you can meet a Henley representative. 

UK

  • QS World Grad School Tour & Connect 1-2-1, London

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  • Postgraduate Fairs- 2018/19

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EUROPE

  • QS World Grad School Tour - Thessaloniki

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  • QS World Grad School Tour - Athens

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  • QS World Grad School Tour - Frankfurt

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  • Masters and More - Munich

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  • Masters and More - Duesseldorf

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ASIA

  • UKEAS Study World Exhibition, Manila

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  • UKEAS Study World Exhibition, Taipei

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  • UKEAS Study World Exhibition, Taichung

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  • UKEAS Study World Exhibition, Kaohsiung

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  • UKEAS Study World Exhibition, Tainan

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  • European Education Fair Taiwan, Taipei

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  • EDM UK Education Fair, Seoul

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  • SI-UK University Fair, Osaka

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  • BEO International Education Fair, Osaka

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  • SI-UK University Fair, Tokyo

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  • BEO International Education Fair, Tokyo

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AFRICA

  • UKEAS Study World Accra

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  • UKEAS Study World Abuja

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  • UKEAS Study World Lagos

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AMERICAS

  • UKEAS Study World Accra

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  • UKEAS Study World Abuja

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  • UKEAS Study World Lagos

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Faculty & Staff

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Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at postgraduate@henley.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0)118 378 7593.

Important Information

Duration: 12 months full-time

Starts: September 2018

Assessment: Exams, applied project and individual and group assignments

Consistently maintain highest standards and with an excellent networking potential : 76,000 Henley alumni members in 150 countries

High calibre students: always oversubscribed, 1,000 ambitious new Master's students join Henley each year

Award winning campus: beautiful, green, 134 hectares, with state of the art facilities

World-leading faculty: widely published, frequently asked for expert comment by media and to speak at events

Henley is proud to be part of the University of Reading. The University is ranked within the top 250 universities worldwide (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 and QS World University Rankings 2018) and 98% of the research is rated as being of international standard.

Course modules

The module descriptions set out on this page are correct for modules being taught in the current academic year. Optional module listings are indicative and may be subject to change

Modules Credits

Compulsory Modules:

This module aims to introduce students to the core concepts and models underlying contemporary strategic management, their theoretical and empirical foundations, their limitations, the arguments surrounding them and their practical application to real issues facing real companies.  This module provides students with an understanding of the conceptual and analytical tools of strategic management and economics.

  • Theories, frameworks and introduction
  • Internal resources and competencies of firms
  • External environment in which firms operate
  • The process of internationalisation
  • Globalisation and regional integration
  • Collaborative behaviour and strategic alliances
  • Integration/responsiveness framework and strategy

 

20 [10 ECTS credits]

 This module aims to help students get the most from the learning opportunities offered during their MSc course. It provides students with an understanding of what is required to perform well in essays, dissertations, projects, report writing and examinations at the University of Reading. It develops students’ awareness of the appropriate use of methodology, theory, data, literature reviews and original research for a Masters dissertation or project.
  • Essay and exam skills
  • Learning styles
  • Literature review
  • Selecting an appropriate methodology
  • Good research practice
  • Specific research methods
  • MSc dissertation and project

 

0 [0 ECTS credits]

 This module aims to provide a basic set of frameworks, concepts and theories from international trade, international business, and economic geography to analyse international environments and their impact on multinational firms. It addresses questions of contemporary capitalism, discusses global value chains, and conveys in-depth understanding of various business environments, such as the European Union and the rise of emerging markets.
  • Globalisation and the new competitive realities
  • Institutions, policies and national/regional competitiveness
  • Technological shifts and national innovation systems
  • Global value chains and production networks
  • Geopolitical economy and ‘varieties of capitalism’
  • The business environments of the European Union, North America, Japan and emerging markets (e.g. China)

 

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide an overview of the economics-based approaches to the analysis of multinational enterprises that have been generated over the last 50 years. In doing so, it supplies a framework that provides a context for understanding and evaluating the discussion of precise strategic and managerial decision processes taught in complementary modules.

  • Definition of multinational enterprises (MNEs).
  • Historical development of MNEs.
  • How do firms generate the ability to become MNEs?
  • What do they expect to achieve by doing so?
  • How do they choose locations for particular operations?
  • Why do they internalise (or not) their sources of competitiveness?
  • How can we, as economists, evaluate the performance and implications of MNEs? 

 

20 [10 ECTS credits]

 This module aims to examine international business strategy and financial performance of the multinational enterprise (MNE). It will provide students with an understanding of what globalisation and regionalisation mean for today’s managers, the best way to extend their knowledge of how MNEs function, how to turn the messages from the academic literature into effective business strategies within an MNE and how to measure the financial performance of MNEs.
  • Conceptual foundation of international business strategy: seven concepts and one unifying framework
  • Implications of international business strategy for MNE performance; review of financial analysis; practical applications
  • The critical role of firm-specific advantages (FSAs)
  • The nature of home country specific advantages and the problem with host country specific advantages
  • Combining firm-specific advantages and location-specific advantages
  • Introduction to international financial management in MNEs
  • Dynamics of entry-mode strategies: foreign distributors, strategic alliance, mergers and acquisitions

 

20 [10 ECTS credits]

 This module aims to make students aware of current issues in international business, both from the perspective of the multinational enterprise and its managers, and the external environment. This module provides the students with an in-depth knowledge of contemporary issues in international business, while developing their critical- thinking, presentation, research and writing skills.
  • Research skills
  • Principles of project
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module focuses on the economic analysis firms' decision to engage in international business activity, including the choice to become an exporter or a multinational enterprise, and the economic effects of these choices on the home and host countries.

20 [10 ECTS credits]

What am I going to do when my course ends, and how am I going to achieve it?  This module has been designed to help Accounting, Informatics and Business Management students answer those two questions, and empower them to take the actions required.  It’s a suite of sessions that pays close attention to the general pathways Business Management, Accounting and Informatics students tend to take, and their aspirations as expressed during pre-sessional career activities & induction surveys. Students will choose this the mix of custom-made sessions that best suit their stage in life and supplement them with the open careers programmes offered at the University, the online content on the Henley Careers Blackboard site and 1-2-1 careers consultations.

0 [0 ECTS credits]

Optional Modules:

In addition students must choose 3 optional modules to the value of 60 credits from the list below.

This module aims to foster a critical awareness of organisational design (OD) issues to enable informed decision-making in the workplace. The course will highlight contemporary thinking, which places greater emphasis on a more adaptive, emergent process of organising to suit complex changing circumstances within an international context. Theory and practice of contemporary organising are examined for their links with organisational performance.

  • The structural perspective: hierarchy and traditional design choices
  • The relational perspective: groups and teams
  • The relational perspective: networks and virtual organising
  • The information perspective: the role of information and ITC in OD
  • Designing across borders
  • Re-designing organisations: change and OD approaches
  • Re-designing and downsizing organisations
  • Designing the post-industrial organisation
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module introduces students to the basic concepts, principles and techniques involved in marketing, and to the role of marketing management within all types of organisations (retail, consumer goods, industrial goods, service, non-profit oriented, domestic and international). Students will develop an appreciation of the special requirements for successfully conducting marketing activities by concentrating on the market-oriented approach to doing business.

  • Marketing planning                                                                                                         
  • Marketing environment                                                                 
  • Segmentation, targeting and positioning 
  • Buying behaviour (consumer behaviour and business to business) 
  • Product 
  • Promotion
  • Price and distribution  
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This course is about how organisations behave and how people behave in organisational settings. It is both practically useful and intellectually challenging. The module will explore three distinct bodies of knowledge: firstly, your informal and tacit knowledge of organisations gained from everyday life; secondly, the mainstream approaches to organisational behaviour (OB) and management studies; and finally, alternative, critical approaches drawn from OB and the wider social sciences.

 

Topics include:

  • Motivational theory
  • Critical approaches to motivation and work
  • Technology and progress
  • Varieties of authority
  • Power in organisations
  • Bureaucratic rationality
  • Post-bureaucracy: real or imagined?
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to examine many of the key issues in management and entrepreneurship from an international comparative perspective. Students will consider how entrepreneurial firms operate in differing business cultures, dealing with issues such as corporate governance, management education and the increasingly entrepreneurial role of managers in modern business and how this has evolved.

  • The financial crisis and implications for global entrepreneurship
  • Comparative systems of corporate governance and implications for entrepreneurial firms
  • Comparative management education and implications for entrepreneurial firms
  • Comparative business cultures and global entrepreneurship
  • Individual case studies of the evolution of entrepreneurial strategy and patterns of innovation in the United States, Japan, China, Germany and the UK

 

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module gives an overview of the principles of human resource management (HRM) and the evolution of the HR function. It provides a grounding in the key constructs and principles in HRM so that these may examined from a comparative perspective in MMM079 or from a critical perspective in MMM048 (Managing People and Organisations). It considers approaches to HR strategy, as well as key HR processes.

  • Principles, definitions and origins of HRM; approaches to HRM strategy; the HR value proposition
  • Principles and practice of resourcing, recruitment and selection
  • Linking principles of motivation to HR practices
  • Principles and practice of managing performance
  • Principles and practice of reward management
  • Principles of development
  • Ethics, work–life balance and principles of welfare
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide students with a broad understanding of the choices made by multinational organisations with regard to managing their employees across different countries by introducing key concepts, theories and contemporary practices.  It also aims to develop skills required to work in the international context through practical group work in multi-cultural teams.

  • Global challenges and international human resource management  (HRM) strategy
  • Global corporate culture in multinational enterprises (MNEs)
  • Global staffing and global talent management
  • Managing expatriation
  • Developing global leaders
  • Diffusion of HRM practices in MNEs
  • Managing global HR function in MNEs
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to provide a foundation in international corporate social responsibility. It draws on the key theories and literature regarding applied ethics and international firm responsibility as they relate to organisational and related management practices. It aims to develop the analytical and discussion skills required for understanding and decision-making, thus enabling international management to engage ethically and responsibly with shareholders and stakeholders.

  • International corporate social responsibility (CSR) – basic theory frameworks and critical current perspectives
  • CSR and globalisation
  • Responsibility and multinational enterprises (MNEs)
  • Normative and descriptive ethical theories – judging and acting ethically in international contexts                                 
  • Responsible corporate governance
  • Socially responsible investment (SRI)
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to introduce students to the scholarly literature on the theoretical approaches to entrepreneurship and to the recent advances in this field. It will provide students with an understanding of how theoretical developments have practical applications, therefore enabling students to recognise and appraise the increasingly entrepreneurial role of managers in modern business.

  • Entrepreneurship and strategy
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Entrepreneurial finance
  • Technology creation and innovation
  • Market making and ethics
  • Implicit contracts in consumer markets
  • Entrepreneurial personality and teams
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to teach students about the impact of business culture on competition. It comprises an interdisciplinary approach, with perspectives from strategic management, human resource management, general social sciences and the humanities. It aims to introduce the business culture concepts at both macro and micro levels and gives students some first-hand experience in understanding the values of nations, industries and firms.

  • The culture and values of competition
  • Business culture and international expansion 
  • Research and competition among US technology clusters
  • Creativity and the growth of UK media
  • Guanxi and the growth of Chinese software firms
  • Start small and go slow in the Thai agribusiness
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to develop students’ knowledge of international management, by examining the role and techniques of accounting and financial management. This course demonstrates how corporate financial statements are prepared and equips students with the ability to analyse and interpret such reports. Students will also learn how investment appraisal techniques can be used to inform business decision-making.

  • Financial accounting concepts and the presentation of financial statements
  • Ratio analysis and financial decision-making
  • Short-term managerial decision-making
  • Managerial planning and control
  • Sources of finance
  • Capital investment decisions
20 [10 ECTS credits]

Clusters, or localised production systems, are a pattern of business organisation to be found in a variety of industries and countries around the world. These include creative industries such as video and film industries, design and fashion, advertising, music, publishing, but also IT, bio-medical and engineering industries, as well as agro- and food-processing industries. Clusters are major contributors to national economies and have attracted the interest of policy makers as well as academics.

The module covers conceptual and empirical aspects of the topic. It includes a discussion of the business dynamics taking place within clusters and to what extent these are a source of competitive advantage for newly established as well as long-established firms. 

20 [10 ECTS credits]

 The aim of this module is to enable students to appraise and appreciate business practices in unfamiliar contexts, and to explain the differences between these and the contexts that they are familiar with. Moreover, students will learn how managers can address challenges of cross-cultural situations, such as transferring management practice, business negotiations, multicultural teams and expatriation.
  • Management in a national context
  • Institutional perspectives on business in economics and sociology
  • Communication across language boundaries
  • International labour issues
  • National and organisational cultures
  • Corporate governance systems
  • Management transfers

 

 

20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module aims to explore emerging markets, including the opportunities and challenges that arise in these regions. Beyond macroeconomic indicators, it provides information about the management of firms within this context. The module offers insights on regional differences and the impact of global institutions and governmental regulations, as well as providing an understanding of the opportunities and (managerial) challenges of operating in emerging markets.

  • Global changes and emerging markets
  • Macroeconomic indicators in emerging markets
  • Regions: Asia, Africa, Latin America
  • Governments and institutions in emerging markets
  • Multinational enterprises operating in emerging markets
  • Multinational enterprises from emerging markets operating globally
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module examines various import/export issues, including operations, government agencies, and import/export channel networks, and the evaluation of international opportunities. It is designed to provide students with the skills and tools necessary to be successful in international trade. The focus of the course is both theoretical and practical in nature. 

20 [10 ECTS credits]
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Fees & funding

 Home (UK/EU)Overseas (non EU) 
2018 Entry£12,750£21,000
Please note that a non-refundable deposit is payable when confirming your acceptance of an offer of a place. This is part of your tuition fee and will be deducted from the total amount upon enrolment.

UK/European Union Postgraduate Loans

Loans of up to £10,000 are available to eligible students studying for postgraduate Master's courses from the 2019-2020 Academic year. In general, students need to be domiciled in England. EU students, and individuals falling within certain specified categories, may also be eligible.

You can apply for a loan through the UK Government website. You can read more about the scheme on the Student Loans Company website or on these two UK Government sites: Introduction of loans for postgraduate students and Government response to the Consultation on Support for Postgraduate Study.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A good first or second class UK honours degree, or overseas equivalent, will usually be required.  Applicants with relevant experience or professional qualifications will also be considered.

Prior knowledge or experience of your chosen subject area is not required. We welcome applications from recent university graduates from a wide range of disciplines.

See country and region-specific information and entry requirements for International applicants or please contact us with any questions.

Not quite at the required level of English language proficiency for your chosen programme?

Applicants to Henley Business School, whose first language is not English, will be required to attain the International English Language Test Scores (IELTS), or equivalent acceptable qualification accepted by the University, as defined below, to enter a programme.

However, for students who successfully complete one of the Pre-sessional English Language courses run by our International Study and Language Institute, a half-band credit will be applied to their English language condition. (For example - programmes requiring IELTS 7.0 will accept students with a result of 6.5 in the end of Pre-sessional English course assessment providing the student has completed the relevant English course with us).

Applications to the International Study and Language Institute

Henley Business School requires a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 (with no element below 6.0) to enter all programmes except Information Management. Information Management programmes require an IELTS score of 6.5 (with no element below 5.5).

Students completing the above mentioned pre-sessional courses would be allowed entry onto their chosen programme with an overall score of 6.5 for all programmes except Information Management, which will generally accept 6.0.

Equivalent English Language Qualifications will also be accepted. If you require specific advice on your qualification please contact our admissions office directly either by e-mail at pgadmissions@reading.ac.uk or by telephone on +44 118 378 5289.

UK visa requirements

If you are not a national of the European Union (EU), it is likely that you will need to obtain a UK visa to live and study in the UK before you travel. See the UK Border Agency website. Contact the University's International Office with any questions: intoff@reading.ac.uk.

Tier 4 visa pilot scheme

The University of Reading is pleased to have been selected by the Home Office to take part in a small pilot scheme, which provides Master's level students the opportunity to benefit from a streamlined visa application process, and six months extra time on their Tier 4 visa to look for work.

The pilot scheme will cover Tier 4 visa applications made for entry in the academic year 2018/19. Find out more on the University of Reading website.

Careers

 Graduates of the MSc International Business follow a variety of career paths upon graduation. These include roles in business development or general management, with a range of employers including large corporations or multinational enterprises or government agencies.

Our graduates tell us that this programme gives them the key skills and knowledge required to build a career in multinational enterprises or government agencies.

Speak to a student

Our students and alumni are always keen to share their Henley experience, whether you are a prospective applicant or you've already applied for a place on a Master's programme at Henley Business School. For a unique insight into every aspect of life in the School and on campus, you can contact any of our students and alumni members below, via email, Skype or social media.

When contacting one of our students for the first time, please introduce yourself and the Master's programme you have applied for before you outline any questions you might have.

Joe Earlam, MSc International Business

I had some doubts before undertaking my Master’s as it was in a subject I had no prior academic knowledge in. However, this year has been incredible and I am so thankful that I took the challenge to study a Master’s at Henley. The course outline was challenging but very well structured which helped my study and learning. My advice for anyone looking to do a Master’s is to just 100% do it! 

MSc International Business