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Admission requirements

Master students


This course focuses on a critical managerial challenge; How to deal with competition and create a sustainable competitive advantage for your organization in the marketplace. Through lectures, case study seminars, readings, and group assignments, students learn about foundational theories and frameworks in strategy. Students learn to use these theories and frameworks to answer questions such as: Why are some firms more successful than other firms in a specific industry? How do I assess the competitive advantage a firm has over other firms in a market? How can managers harness industry dynamics to strengthen a firm’s competitive advantage? What is the role of organisational design in a firm’s competitive advantage? And what are the challenges associated with capitalising on intellectual assets (as opposed to physical assets)?

This course is intended for anyone interested in working in industry as an entrepreneur, manager, consultant, analyst, or investor. Moreover, the course will provide an analytical background for scientists, engineers and medical doctors with an interest in understanding industrial aspects of their academic work. The course emphasises interactive teaching that focuses on real-life case studies.

Course objectives

This course provides students training in the use of key concepts and frameworks for formulating and implementing corporate strategies with an emphasis on firms in technology-intensive industries. At the end of the course students will be able to:

  • conduct analyses of industry structure and competitive dynamics;

  • assess a firm’s competitive (dis)advantage in an industry vis-à-vis other firms;

  • design business models around the commercial exploitation of a a firm’s intellectual capital (e.g. patents, trade secrets, copyright, tacitly held knowhow);

  • formulate recommendations about optimising a firm’s organisational design for its position in the marketplace.


Preliminary schedule
Semester 1:

  • Course: August 31st – September 21st 2020

  • Exam: September 28th 2020

  • Retake: January 12th 2021

Preliminary schedule Semester 2:

  • Course: February 1st – February 15th 2021

  • Exam: February 22th 2021

  • Retake: July 5th 2021

Please check the latest version of the schedule on the SBB website.

Mode of instruction

The course emphasises interactive teaching that focuses on real-life case studies. Students will be debriefed, in hindsight, on what really happened.

Assessment method

Students’ final mark will be based on the following mix of assessment methods:

  • Group assignments

  • Exam

Group assignments (30%)

Students are assigned to groups at the end of the first week of class. Group assignments are listed on the Blackboard site of the course. Students are required to submit a total of 6 group assignments. These group assignments should be submitted in the form of a single power point slide that addresses a question about the case study that is discussed in class the next day. The slide should be submitted in a ‘power point format.’ This means that the group’s contribution can be presented using bullet points, graphical representations, etc. to convey the argument the group wishes to make. Group assignments should be submitted by midnight the day before the class via Blackboard.

We ask students to notify SBB staff as soon as possible in case of problems with group members so that we can step in and resolve these problems.

Exam (70%)

The final exam covers the readings for the course and the material discussed during the lectures.

A week after the final grades are known an announcement will put on Brightspace with the date, time and location where students can review the exam and standard answers.

Reading list

A list of required readings consisting of journal articles and cases, will be provided in the course syllabus and on the blackboard site for the course.


Students have to register for the course in uSis (lectures and exam). The registration in uSis will open two months before the start of the academic year. Click here for instructions.

There is limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme coordinator.

More information on the different types of registration can be found here.


For all questions you can contact info@sbb.leidenuniv.nl

Note: If you are an ICTiBPS student, you can contact the programme coordinator of ICTiBPS for any questions about your program.

1: These criteria are adapted from: https://teaching.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/appendix_b-_peer_evaluation_criteria.pdf (last downloaded 18 August 2018).


  • Students are responsible for enrolling/unenrolling themselves for (partial) exams/retakes.

  • Students are responsible for enrolling themselves for (partial) exams/retakes.

  • The deadline for enrolling for an exam/retake is 10 calendar days before the exam/retake takes place (exam date - 10 = deadline enrolling date).

  • Students who do not enroll themselves for an exam/retake by the deadline are not allowed to take the exam/retake.

  • Students fail the course if any of the components that make up the final mark of the course is assessed below 5.0.

  • The final grade is expressed as a whole or half number between 1.0 and 10.0, including both limits. The result is not to be expressed as a number between 5.0 and 6.0.

  • If one of the components of the final mark constitutes a component that assesses attendance or class participation, students cannot take a retake for this component. Therefore, students fail the course if their mark for this component is less than 5.0.

  • It is not possible to do retakes for group assignments. Therefore, if students fail the group assignment component, they fail the course.

  • Students pass the course if the final mark is 6.0 or higher (5.49 will rounded down to a 5 and a 5.5 will be rounded up to a 6.0).

  • For courses, for which class participation is an assessment component, students may not be penalised for an absence if the student has a legitimate justification for this absence. The student must notify the program coordinator via email (info@sbb.leidenuniv.nl) of such an absence BEFORE the lecture, describing the reason for missing the lecture. If the student does not notify the program coordinator before the lecture, the student will be penalised. Students may be required to provide further documentation to substantiate their case, and class attendance requirements are only waived under exceptional circumstances such as illness.

  • Students who are entitled to more exam/retake time must report to info@sbb.leidenuniv.nl 10 days before the exam/retake takes place.