Skip to main content
Msc International Business and Digital Transformation

Masters in International Business and Digital Transformation

At a glance

  • Dual programme with POLIMI Graduate School of Management, Milan (Italy)
  • Students will experience studying for a term in Reading, UK, a term in Milan, Italy and have their final term dedicated to working on their final project
  • Gain theoretical and practical knowledge of international business and digital transformation
  • Learn key skills to navigate the international business environment in the digital era
  • Develop a strategic approach to help firms to design international growth by leveraging digital technologies
  • Develop a holistic view of the strategic interaction among key international business players, especially through digital technologies
Henley Whiteknights , POLIMI Graduate School of Management
Subject area(s)
International Business
Start Date
September 2024
18 months
Programme Director
Katiuscia Lavoratori
Dr Katiuscia Lavoratori


This programme is a masters-level, dual degree programme in partnership with POLIMI Graduate School of Management. Students who successfully complete this programme will be awarded the Masters of Science (MSc) from the University of Reading and the Master di l livello from the POLIMI Graduate School of Management.

This Masters programme will equip you with knowledge and skills to investigate, identify, and implement the strategic choices multinational firms need to make to compete in an increasingly digitalised global economy.

This programme is an interdisciplinary programme that offers a unique opportunity to learn two different but interrelated fields in business, international business and global operation management in the context of digital transformation. In this programme, you will take a holistic view of the international business environment in the digital era, regarding the challenges and opportunities of internationalisation and how digital technologies can help firms to face these challenges.

“This programme offers a unique opportunity to learn two different but interrelated fields in business from two elite business schools in the UK and Italy. It utilises the expertise of Henley Business School in the field of international business and strategy and the specialities of POLIMI Graduate School of Management in the area of digital technology and global supply chain management.”
Dr Katiuscia Lavoratori, Programme Director
8th in the UK
for Masters in Management
(The Economist 2021)
UK top 10 (9th)
For Careers service in Masters in Management
(Financial Times 2023)

The Henley pre-study course suite

Exclusively available to Henley Business School offer holders, the Pre-study course suite comprises of innovative short courses designed and developed by Henley faculty on the Futurelearn platform, one of the leading online learning platforms.

A course delivered online by Henley faculty and you will receive online support from one of our teaching staff members and be able to interact with other prospective students in your course.

This pre-study interactive course is designed by Henley Business School faculty to introduce you to the world of coding in Python. According to recent employer surveys, coding is a top 5 employability skill in the new world of work. The World Economic forum includes technology design and programming in the top 10 skills of 2025. Coding is an extremely powerful skill to have going forward in all areas of business and finance. Due to the importance of coding skills in your future, you will be using coding in some of your courses depending on your choice of programme at Henley Business School. So, this pre-study course can be seen as a stepping stone in your learning journey. Even if coding is not directly utilised as a part of your programme, completing this course, earning the certificate and complementing this with some further independent learning, could set you apart in an increasingly competitive job market. Python is the most utilised programming language in the world and so the purpose of this course is for you to learn the fundamentals of Python, and how to use it to solve practical problems in your area of interest.


This course will provide building blocks of knowledge to help you prepare for your learning journey in the area of your choice as well as equip you with key employability and study skills for successfully navigating your studies and professional career.

This pre-study interactive course is designed by Henley Business School faculty, the University of Reading Study Advice Team and the International Study and Language Institute. The course aims to prepare you for your learning journey at Henley and focuses on helping you build important study skills to succeed in your Masters and beyond. Skills such as curiosity and independent thinking, effective communication and collaboration, digital capabilities, storytelling, empathy and professional integrity are not only important in your course itself but are also sought after by employers in all areas of business. Therefore, they are instrumental in succeeding in your professional career. The learning journey of our Masters programmes is designed in a way that allows you to build such skills and this course intends to demonstrate exactly how, and therefore help you to make the most of your Masters.


Semester 1

Studied at Henley Business School

Compulsory modules Credits

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

Academic authors
Professor rajneesh narula 397 3 Rajneesh Narula 75e5pfi6j
Professor Rajneesh Narula
Jong Min Lee002 2 2 75e5pfilu
Dr Jongmin Lee
20 [10 ECTS credits]

The course aims to provide students with an understanding of the changes in our theoretical understanding of international business. The understanding of multinational enterprises (MNE) can serve as a basis for practical evaluation of the behaviour and performance of these companies.

Academic authors
Reading Photo
Dr Kaz Kirollos
20 [10 ECTS credits]

Students can choose optional modules to the value of 20 credits.

Optional modules Credits

The module examines existing knowledge about how people behave in organisational settings, the theories that inform this knowledge and the practical implications for managers. It relies on the tacit knowledge of students and on social and human sciences such as management, philosophy, political science, psychology and sociology.

Academic authors
Wahab Shahbaz Photo
Dr Wahab Shahbaz
20 [10 ECTS credits]

This module introduces students to the scholarly literature on entrepreneurship and its recent advances. It shows how theoretical developments have practical applications and so assists students to appraise the increasingly entrepreneurial role of managers in modern business. The module covers the theory of markets and firms from economics, the approach by geographers to entrepreneurial locations, and sociologists to the theory of entrepreneurial networks.

Academic authors
Maks Belitski Staff Photo
Professor Maksim Belitski
20 [10 ECTS credits]

The Module aims to provide students with a clear understanding of the fundamentals (principles) underlying contemporary marketing and enables student to apply theory in practice.

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.

Academic authors
Davide castellani 397 3 Davide Castellani 75e5pfi5e
Professor Davide Castellani
20 [10 ECTS credits]

Semester 2

Studied at POLIMI Graduate School of Management

Compulsory modules

The course will introduce the digital technologies (3D printing, additive manufacturing, IoT, AI, augmented and virtual reality, cloud computing, blockchain) that can trigger digital transformation in the international business context. In particular, each of these technologies has an impact both on the opportunities and costs that companies face when deciding to go abroad, and on the organisation, management, and restructuring of their GVCs (global value chains) when they are already operating abroad. The course will illustrate how these trends differ for large companies vs. SMEs, and for different sectors (i.e., manufacturing vs. services) in different geographical and institutional contexts.

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. identify the digital tools that have the appropriate characteristics for starting internationalisation processes in new foreign markets;
  1. discuss the role of digital technologies on firms’ productivity and international competitiveness in various (global) contexts;
  1. develop innovative and creative solutions to support and/or restructure GVCs in various contexts using the appropriate mix of digital technologies.

In this module, you will be introduced to:

  1. The configuration of a global supply chain: the main models for the positioning of source, make and delivery stages; the role of factories in a global supply chain
  2. International transportation: features of the main transportation modes, types of services, transportation networks, types of companies, transportation unit loads and cost structure of international transportation
  3. The order cycle in a global context: terms of trade/incoterms, main criteria for the selection of terms of trade and implications on cost structure; customs clearance process and computation of duties
  4. The internationalisation process of the distribution channel: general framework for distribution internationalisation; main methods for entry into a new market, both indirect exporting (e.g. export trading companies, distributors) and active exporting (e.g. agents, subsidiaries), the main configurations of logistics networks in terms of types of warehouses (e.g. consolidation hub, international warehouse, merge in transit warehouse) and number of echelons; main logistics strategies (i.e. International sale, International outpost and International network)
  5. How to structure a digital export strategy: (i.e. the pillars of a digital export model)
  6. Cross-border e-commerce to China
  7. New technologies supporting export

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand and describe the main strategies for setting up a global logistics network and their consistency with the general company strategy
  2. Understand and describe the main solutions/alternatives in the following fields: transport modes, customs, outsourcing in a global context, trade channel, incoterms
  3. Apply criteria, methodologies and models to distribution problems in order to design and manage global distribution networks
  4. identify innovative solutions in managing global networks (e.g. entering new markets/cross-border e-commerce).

The course starts off by focusing on the theme of individual identity and personality, to lead to group identity in order to define the concept of culture, which, throughout the course, refers to the concept of national culture (Italian, Kenyan, Japanese, etc.) National culture and organisational culture are explored. The dimensions of national and organisational culture lead participants to associate elements of personality with interpersonal cultural dimensions.

The main belief at the core of the course is that 'Yes, there is individual personality and there are preferred styles of communication, but there are certain specific instances wherein individuals from two different national cultures tend to follow the practices of their home nations, rather than their personality, etc. In our execution of actions, it is better to know when, where and how'.

Students are exposed to multiple role-plays, simulations and sessions with guest speakers who manage international teams within multinationals, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises from Italy and abroad.

The class’s geographic composition will play a part in determining the course. Students will be asked to display specific cultural knowledge about the countries from which they hail.

In a nutshell: the course teaches you to “hack” the cultural differences that affect your professional success, avoid culture traps and bridge gaps. Students get to benchmark their individual leadership styles against preferences from around the world and learn to adapt their own style to successfully manage team members from various cultural backgrounds.

At the end of the course, students should be ready to:

  1. Work with global teams within international organisations
  2. Manage virtual teams
  3. Negotiate, influence and motivate internationally
  4. Understand cultural influences and develop strategies for working successfully across the world.

Students can choose three out of the five optional modules.

Optional modules

In this module, we shall introduce students to:

  1. Digitalisation of the entrepreneurial process
  2. Digitalisation of entrepreneurial outcomes
  3. Digital affordances in entrepreneurial ecosystems
  4. Business model design, validation, scaling for digital start-ups or digital corporate new ventures.

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the new digital processes and business models for entrepreneurial or corporate entrepreneurial projects to enable digital transformation
  2. Design and develop digital transformation projects to create new digital product-service systems, digital new ventures or digital corporate ventures.

In this module, we shall introduce students to:

1. The digital transformation of markets and institutions

2. Digital innovation in the financial industry and digital finance

3. The impact of digital technologies (e.g. blockchain, robot-advisors) on extant business models

4. Fintech

5. IPOs and private equity transactions.

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Make proper judgements about the impacts of digital technologies on financial services
  2. Apply knowledge of the emerging digital finance paradigm to analyse how it is reshaping the financial industry.

In this module, we shall introduce students to:

  1. The extended enterprise: the main supply chain processes, KPIs and organisational models
  2. Technologies for supply chain integration and collaboration: EDI, internet EDI, Extranet, electronic invoicing, etc.
  3. The measure of benefits and profitability
  4. Electronic invoicing and electronic storage of commercial and tax documents
  5. The integration of the order-payment cycle: from the alignment of personal data to reconciliation of payments
  6. Collaborative planning: from Vendor-Managed Inventory to Collaborative Forecasting
  7. The extended enterprise: specific applications and processes
  8. IoT technologies for the extended enterprise
  9. Applications: from supply chain traceability to the fight against product counterfeiting
  10. The IT infrastructure of the extended enterprise
  11. Cases for evaluating the benefits of efficiency and effectiveness.

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand which are the main supply chain processes and their respective KPIs
  2. Analyse the technologies underlying the integration and collaboration of the supply chain
  3. Introduce the main digitalisation paradigms of supply chain processes (planning, collaboration, supply chain traceability, co-design, but also electronic invoicing, integration of the order cycle, etc.)
  4. Measure the 'value' of digitisation and integration projects in B2B interface processes
  5. Analyse the main organisational and management issues of digitisation inside the individual company and within the extended supply chain in which it operates.

In this module, we shall introduce students to:

1. Advanced production systems 4.0

2. Collaborative robots: what they are, how they work, why they are relevant to SMEs

3. The advantages of the new forms of robotisation

4. Security problems and how to solve them

5. Optimisation of the management and control of production plants: methods and techniques

6. Examples of application to problems of production planning, handling, transport, storage and distribution chain.

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Interpret the rapidly evolving scenario of Industry 4.0 and possess an awareness of how enabling digital technologies is reshaping the manufacturing sector and providing competitive levers
  2. Identify and manage the tools for the factory of the future.

In this module, we shall introduce students to:

  1. The evolution of the marketing paradigm and the new approach to creating value
  2. Consumer behaviour between offline and online and the impact on design of brand experiences
  3. The definition of an omnichannel marketing strategy that places the customer at the centre (Customer Centricity)
  4. The current scenarios and the main trends, with a focus on Italy, relating to digital channels (internet, digital TV, mobiles, e-commerce, phygital retail, social media, export, etc.)
  5. The design of an omnichannel communication strategy and the construction of brand experiences
  6. The definition of objectives, metrics and KPIs for measuring and optimising marketing and communication activities today.

At the end of the course, students should:

  1. Have a clear vision of the evolution of marketing paradigms and an understanding of in-depth analysis of the variables involved in the new reference model, and be able to use them in the application of their own working context
  2. Understand the strategic, operational and organisational implications that the new marketing practices have on companies and, in particular, on the management and organisation of marketing and communication activities
  3. Know the main marketing levers that affect and enable the paradigm shift, the synergies that can and must be created between these, with particular focus on digital levers
  4. With a focus on Italy, have an overview of the main trends in progress in terms of marketing and communication and on the dissemination and use of the most relevant digital channels (e.g. social media, e-commerce, phygital retail, export, influencer marketing, etc.)
  5. Have a clear vision of the new role of communication as a terrain of constant dialogue and comparison between company/brand and customer and enabler of business success
  6. Understand how to redefine and orchestrate the main marketing and communication levers in light of the new technological, social and consumer scenarios.

Semester 1

Studied at either Henley Business School or POLIMI Graduate School of Management

Compulsory modules Credits

This module allows students to demonstrate their understanding of the application of international business theory to practice by exploring their experience and observation through the lens of literature. The project work, internship-based or research-based, could be completed remotely at any location. The aim of the project is for students to use the knowledge and skills gained in the course to carry out a significant piece of work.

Academic authors
Katiuscia Lavoratori
Dr Katiuscia Lavoratori
60 [30 ECTS credits]

*The module or course content descriptions set out on this page are correct for those being taught in the current academic year. Modules or course content marked as optional are indicative and may be subject to change. Please note, constraints in timetable scheduling may mean you are unable to take some optional modules at the same time as others.

A holistic approach

Effective leadership requires more than first-class business acumen, it requires a degree of self-awareness and sensitivity. Our Masters programmes offer you a unique practice-centred approach to teaching equipping you with the tools to become a compelling leader. This approach creates emotionally intelligent graduates who can be fully effective in their chosen careers.

How you will learn

Henley has a strong reputation for the practical application of business ideas and concepts. We are 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. This is a thread that is woven through all of our Masters programmes.

Our Masters programmes feature a mix of core and optional modules, tailoring your degree towards your 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 provides you with the opportunity to discuss and explore the material in depth with your lecturers and fellow students.

You will be introduced to the latest thinking and research findings then have the opportunity to challenge those that have created it. You will also explore real-world issues, tackle current business challenges, and interact with guest lectures and speakers from industry. This gives you the opportunity to test, extend and refine your knowledge and skills with confidence.

How we assess you

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

On average examinations of core modules form between 15 - 50% of the assessed work. The remaining comes from coursework, including a written dissertation or project depending on your chosen programme.

Ongoing support

While Masters students are self-motivated and determined individuals, study at this level can present additional pressures which we take seriously. Lecturers are available to discuss module content and you can meet with your academic tutor. Support staff are available to help with anything that may arise during your time at Henley.


Year of Entry Cost
2024 19,300 Euros

International (incl. EU)

Year of Entry Cost
2024 19,300 Euros

Statement of purpose

A statement of purpose will be required from each applicant (no more than 500 words in length).

Entry requirement Criteria
Undergraduate degree A good second-class honours degree (2:1 preferred) or the equivalent from an Internationally recognised University’
Degree discipline Any discipline

English Language Requirements

Studying in a second language can be challenging. If your English language ability is below the minimum requirement, we may ask for evidence of proficiency.

Requirement Criteria
IELTS 6.5 with no component below 6.0 in any sub-skills

Acceptance of LanguageCert Online and DuoLingo English qualifications

Pre-sessional English Programme

The Pre-sessional English Programme is for international students who need to meet their degree programme English language requirements. Our courses equip you with the skills and language needed for academic success, including critical thinking, self-reflection, learner autonomy, research skills and integrating sources. The Pre-sessional English Programme is accredited by the global association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes, which guarantees you will receive a high-quality student experience.

Find out about our comprehensive range of Pre-Sessional English courses

We accept the non-SELT version of LanguageCert (which includes the online version) and DuoLingo as suitable English language qualifications. These can be accepted for direct entry onto Undergraduate (except Speech and Language Therapy), Postgraduate Taught (except Speech and Language Therapy) and Postgraduate Research programmes.

For information on individual programme requirements and other English language qualifications, please visit our English requirement equivalent page.

If you require specific advice on your qualification please contact admissions directly by e-mail  or telephone on +44 118-378-5289.

UK visa requirements

If you are not a national of the European Union (EU), you may need to obtain a UK visa. This visa will allow to live and study in the UK. See the  UK Border Agency website. Contact the University's International Office with any questions:

How can Henley Careers work with you?

We have an award-winning careers team that will support you through your postgraduate studies and four years after graduation.

Here is how Henley Careers and Professional Development can help you:

  • Careers Consultant appointments: Our Careers Consultant are here to help and support you with any careers related concern that you might have. Whether it’s CV advice, practicing for an interview, providing feedback if applications aren't successful or support planning your career goals. We are here to help empower you to progress in your career.
  • Events: Henley Careers and Professional Development organise numerous events aimed to help you build your confidence, develop the skills employers are looking for. Additionally, network with employers and expand your industry knowledge.
  • Alumni support: You can continue to book one-to-one appointments with your Careers Consultant and use our online resources. For up to four years after graduating we’re here to help and support in your career.
  • Career Smart: Get a head start in securing a graduate job by taking part in our online course, Career Smart. You can expect to learn about the graduate recruitment cycle in the UK. As well as where to look and how to start applying to jobs, and the different roles available to you.

For more information  please see our Careers page.

Should you receive an offer from Henley, you will also need to complete the application process through POLIMI. Please note that you will receive further information to help you when you are at this stage of the process.

Apply for 2024 entry now

Apply online  now through the University of Reading’s online application service.

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

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 us time to process your application we recommend that you apply by the following dates:

UK/Home applicants International applicants
1 August 1 July

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. If successful, you will receive a formal offer letter outlining any necessary entry criteria you will need to meet. You'll then be asked to confirm your acceptance of this offer.

If you require a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for your visa, details will be sent by email once all conditions of the offer have been met.

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.

Find us on Facebook  and keep up-to-date with news and events at Henley or ask us a question. In addition, you can speak to a current student, our students are always happy to share their Henley experience.

Our students and alumni are always keen to share their Henley experience. Whether you are a prospective applicant or already applied to a Masters programme at Henley Business School. You can ask questions to a current student by clicking the “Chat to our students” button below.

When contacting one of our students, please introduce yourself and the Masters programme you have applied for.

Speak to a current student

Contact us

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

You might also like

Masters in International Business

Management International Business · Full-time
This Masters programme prepares you for the rapidly globalising world of work, by introducing the frameworks behind multinational enterprises’ strategies and policies.

Masters in International Business and Finance

International Business · Full-time
This postgraduate programme will help you to develop an international perspective and an understanding of the interrelationships between finance and the global economy.

Masters in International Human Resource Management

International Business People & Organisational Change · Full-time
You will combine theory and practice in the study of HR Management within a global environment on this programme, which is approved by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.