Business electives

This course is part of the training Bachelor in Business Management.



Course level
Introductory or advanced


Course prerequisites (start competences)
At least students in their 2nd year
The students participating should have the English level B1- at least B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
The students should be able to work with Microsoft Office (Word, Access, Excel, Powerpoint) and the internet (search engines and email)
Basic knowledge of the individual business functions
The students participating should have the English level B1- at least B2 (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
The students should be able to work with Microsoft Office (Word, Access, Excel, Powerpoint) and the internet (search engines and email)
Basic knowledge of the individual business functions
enthusiast, willing to learn
open minded
critical, yet not arrogant
eager to function in a multicultural environment
longing for international experience
willing to give and receive feedback; able to cope with negative feedback
stress resistant
motivated and not easily giving up
having an own opinion, while at the same time being able to listen to others


Possible Electives
Various subjects will be offered throughout the whole of the semester!
At least four topics should be chosen!
o International Human Resource Management
o Cases studies in Global Management
o Financial Management
o Seminar in International Management

International Human Resource Management:
Course description and goals (final competencies)
The strategic management literature emphasizes the hidden potential that workers possess. Unlocking this potential for making unique contributions to the organization depends on skillfully structuring workplace and leadership relationships. Management can contribute considerably to realizing the creative potential embodied in the workforce. The task of Human Resources Management (HRM) is to support management in structuring the organization and leadership relationships. Starting from the strategic plan, HRM develops the tools and techniques for management to use to carry out their duties in a professional manner. Managers should be familiar with basic HR tasks, techniques and tools.

To this end, course participants gain a basic understanding of the psychology required to understand and explain the actions and experiences of the members of an organization. This knowledge is the basis for being able to develop a leadership style and to become sensitive to the effects of one’s own management actions. Students also learn how to construct feedback systems. Formulating goals, requiring feedback and creating a supportive environment increases the probability of exceptional performance from dedicated, motivated employees. For this reason, participants become familiar with a number of important HR themes: the basics of determining employee compensation; how to acquire and select workers under various job market conditions; the principles of task analysis; developing, supporting and motivating workers during organizational changes; changing the workplace variables to match changing demographic or business conditions; etc.


Table of contents
1. Why study Human Resources Management (HRM)?
What managers do!
Management functions and activities
The partnership of line managers and HR departments
The challenges and opportunities of HRM
2. Management and leadership
Foundations of group behavior
Scientific approaches to leadership
Social Fact Paradigm
Trait theories
Behavioral theories
Situational theories
Social Constructionist Paradigm
Organizational Culture and Symbolic Management
Self organization
3. Basic Human Resource practices
Recruitment and selection
Forecasting demand and supply
Information about jobs
Information about candidates
Human Resources Development (HRD)
Career development
Appraising and improving performance
Job design
Motivation and compensation
Incentive rewards
International HRM


Teaching Method
The course conveys the principles of HR and organizational psychology through lectures and discussions. Self-organized learning is explicitly integrated though the assignment and presentation of group projects. The goal is to encourage an independent, in depth, theoretical discussion of the key themes taught in the course. Each group presentation lasts around 20 minutes and is linked to real world situations, (e.g., using roll playing).
Presentations are evaluated using the “fish bowl” technique. The presenters get feedback from the instructor and two student observers selected by the group. Through the group projects, the students’ self confidence is raised while their ability to perform independent research is developed. Furthermore, this method supports teamwork, communication and presentation skills development as well as a realistic self-assessment of the participant’s skills.


Course Material
Buchanan, D., Huczynski, A., Organizational Behaviour, 5th ed., Harlow, Prentice Hall (2004)
Robbins, S. P., Essentials of Organizational Behaviour, 11th ed., Upper Saddle River, Pearson/Prentice Hall (2005)
Sherman, A. Bohlander, G., Snell, S., Managing Human Resources, 13th ed., Cincinnati, Thomson Publishing (2004)


Group presentation evaluated on a pass/fail basis plus 90 minute comprehensive examination.


Case Studies in Global Management
Course description and goals (final competencies)

The need for global strategy is intense as capital markets become more erratic, growth opportunities dwindle and competition emerges from unexpected countries and in unexpected ways. This course exposes students to strategic management in an international context and  Students learn how to assess the strategic position and align the conflicting goals of the various regional, divisional and functional managers with an enterprise's mission. The course introduces the basic concepts and tools for formulating business strategy and focuses on how firms can develop sustainable competitive advantages. The course also introduces the role of the board of directors and general management as strategy makers. It provides the tools necessary to analyse the business environment, the resources of the firm, and alternative strategies. The course consists of lectures, extensive case work to demonstrate the use of the tools in a business context, written analysis and simulated board room presentations and interactions. The course is designed to help students apply the cultural, business and academic experiences gleaned from their year abroad within a theoretical framework to practical problems that businesses face in a globally competitive environment. The goal is to foster research skills, persuasion skills, integrative case-solving skills, practical planning and implementation skills.


Table of contents
Central topics include assessing industry economics and dynamics to identify strategic threats and opportunities, evaluating the profit potential of strategic resources and capabilities, and strategic diversification. Other topics include assessing actual and potential cost and differentiation advantages, vertical scope of the firm, strategic management of multi-business firms, global strategy, strategic alliances, competitive advantage, strategic management in technology-intensive industries, and strategy under uncertainty.

The Business Mission.
The External Assessment.
The Internal Assessment.
Strategy Analysis and Choice.
Focusing on the Network vs. Competitive Advantage

Implementing Strategies: Management and Operations Issues.
Implementing Strategies: Marketing, Finance/Accounting, R&D, and MIS Issues.
Strategy Review, Evaluation, and Control.
How to Prepare and Present a Case Analysis.

Teaching Method

The course is arranged in two parts. In part one, through text assignments, short case analyses, group presentations and directed discussion, students learn and practice analytical techniques for assessing and solving the problems faced by companies planning or undergoing international expansion. In the second part, students are required to analyze a comprehensive, timely case; usually involving the assessment and implementation of a change in global strategy for an enterprise. Teams of students compete to convince management of their superior analytical skills. Students alternately act out the roles of strategic consultants and management team in a realistic boardroom setting that is made more realistic through the presence of a recognized industry expert. Through role playing the students learn the various perspectives, goals, and problems the CEO as well as the various functional managers experience in initiating or altering the global strategy and the difficulties  consultants face in convincing management of their “value added” contribution.
The course features guest lecturers, lectures, discussion, group projects, intercultural teamwork, case studies, presentations, business simulation and roll playing.

Course Material

David, Fred. Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases (International Edition) 10th Edition, Prentice Hall (2004)
Hax, and Wilde. The Delta Project: Discovering New Sources of Profitability. Palgrave (2001)
Hax, Arnoldo, “Overcoming the Dangers of Commoditization” in Strategic Management, IMA (July 2005)
Dash, Kildore. McDonald’s in India, Thunderbird: The Garvin School of International Management (2005)
Michael H. Moffet and Kannan Ramaswamy, Anheuser-Busch and Harbin Brewery Group of China Thunderbird: The Garvin School of International Management (2005)



Written case analysis, presentations, and business simulation


Financial Management
Course description and goals (final competencies)

Finance is an exciting, challenging, dynamic subject.  Over the past few years we have witnessed a dramatic rise and fall of the stock market, along with the collapse of such giants as Enron and WorldCom  as well as the loss of faith in public accounting firms and investment banks. As the excesses of the past decade unwind it is more important than ever for students to have a sold understanding of basic financial principles.
The overriding goal is to help students learn to make good financial decisions. The course introduces students to the key concepts of financial management and investment. Students get a basic grasp of finance principles and that go beyond just memorizing a number of facts and formulas.  The course equips students to better understand current events in finance and provides a solid framework for subsequent courses in finance taken here or at partner universities. The course provides a solid, enduring foundation of the tools of modern theory while at the same time developing the logic behind their use.
The second goal is to further develop the key financial concepts introduced in the quantitative and accounting modules. Expected value, variance, correlation and time value of money concepts covered in the quantitative methods module are extended to risk and return tradeoffs, asset valuation, portfolio diversification, capital structure, dividend policy and investment. The balance sheet, cash flow and income statement presentations developed in the accounting foundations module  are now analyzed and interpreted from management and investor perspectives. 


Table of contents

The course covers the following topics:
- An Overview of Financial Management
- Financial Statements, Cash Flow and Taxes
- Analysis of Financial Statements
- The Financial Environment
- Risk and Rates of Return
- Time Value of Money
- Bonds and Their Valuation
- Stocks and Their Valuation
- The Cost of Capital  
- The Basics of Capital Budgeting 
- Cash Flow Estimation and Risk Analysis
Capital Structure and Leverage


Teaching Method

Students are given detailed learning objectives for each chapter in the text. These objectives are explained and followed by exercises performed in small groups. Feedback is given on the various groups’ solutions to the exercises. Difficult concepts are explained and illustrated online via streaming video clips and animated tutorials. Spreadsheet models are used as both templates and Excel tutorials. Additional practice problems, and PowerPoint slides are provided to accompany the text. An up-to-date financial data base from Fortune 500 companies is provided by Thomson Analytics, Thompson Financials Investment Banking Group. Students working in teams access and apply the most reliable information on financials, earnings estimates, market data, and source documents to classroom exercises and to a case study. For the case study students analyse the most recent financial statements and a proposed capital budgeting decision of a Fortune 500 company. 
The course features lectures, class discussion, group work, practice exams, teamwork, case study, software application, Excel spreadsheet models, PowerPoint notes, online interactive tutorials, professional database and e-lectures.


Course Material

Brigham, E. F., Houston, J. F., Fundamentals of Financial Management, 10th edition,  Thomson Publishing (2004)
Tayan, B., “Costco Wholesale Corporation Financial Statement Analysis”, Stanford Graduate School of Business, (2003)
Bauersachs, Jack, “Costco Update” (2005)
Thomson Analytics online data base from Thomson Financial’s Investment Banking Group
CD ROM with E-lectures and online quizzes to accompany textbook



Two examinations covering the stated learning objectives plus a written analysis of  the assigned case study.



Seminar in International Management


Course description and goals (final competencies)

This course explores how to determine where an international organization needs to focus its development efforts, how to develop and deliver an effective training program, and how to evaluate the impact of development programs on organizational effectiveness. It exposes students to change strategies in an international context, overseas market assessment and analysis, export-import procedures, and entry and exit strategies for international operations.
Students develop the skills required of international managers such as leadership, negotiation, conducting performance appraisals, delegation, effective communication, conflict resolution and managing employees in multicultural enterprises. Related objectives include developing self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses as a manager, gaining familiarity with theory-based skills, and developing proficiency in the use of these skills.


Table of contents

Students are expected to understand:
1. The Management Challenge: what critical skills are required for the global work place.
2. The Organizational Context: observing and understanding the big picture.
Students will learn how to:
1. Understand and Value Differences
2. Solving Problems.
3. Communicate Effectively.
4. Motivate Effectively.
5. Lead  Effectively
Students will assess and compare:
1. Organizational Culture
2.  Empowerment
3. Ethics
Students will derive techniques for:
1. Fostering Personal Growth.
2. Managing Politics, Conflict, and Change.
3. Attracting, Selecting, and Developing Employees.
4. Managing Teams.
Students will understand the role of:
Continuing Education: how a manager can maintain and enhance her skills portfolio on an on-going basis.

Teaching Method

The theoretical of the course consists of literature assignments, reports and directed discussion to develop the theoretical basis for international management & organizational development. The integrative part of the course follows the social learning perspective: skills are assessed, acknowledged, developed and applied in a carefully developed framework designed to resemble management training workshops. Self managed student work teams prepare and perform a variety of simulations designed to develop and evaluate transformational leadership, negotiation, motivation, performance appraisal, delegation, communication, conflict resolution and general task management skills. Students prepare self-assessments examining communication styles, personality, leadership, conflict styles, career goals, stress levels, and more. Students are confronted with situations taken from the real world cases and then compare their responses to actual management actions.
The course features lectures, class discussion, group activities, situational analysis and comparison, skills assessment and integrative experiential learning.


Course Material

Zachary, W., Kuzuhara, L., Organizational Behavior and Management - An Integrated Skills Approach, South-Western Publishing (2002)



Final examination: 90 minutes covering the stated learning objectives plus a training project consisting of written and oral presentations



Any retake of the courses is generally only possible during the period of July 8 – July 31 following the winter term in which the RIBA courses have been taken the first time. Individual arrangements may only be fixed in direct contact between and mutual agreement of the failing students and the responsible lecturer. (Both the academic and institutional coordinators (Prof. Dr. Nagengast and Dr. von Randow) have to be informed.)


Information lecturer