Want to make a difference in business?
It is vital to know how sustainable trends and issues affect business. And in an interconnected world, intercultural skills are essential in both your professional and personal life. Join us if you are curious about sustainability, succeeding in foreign markets and enjoy working with people from around the world!
International Business Studies provides a wide variety of business related modules. Besides two mandatory modules, you can compose a course module pack that fits your interests and ambitions.
Want to study for a full academic year? International Business Studies has plenty of modules to cover a full year, but you can also combine this programme with International Relations.
What's International Business Studies like?
In this full-time bachelor's level programme we offer a wide variety of course modules from which you compose your own course pack (full-time course module load is a total of 30 ECTS credits) that fits your learning needs and ambitions. You will include two mandatory modules: International Business Marketing Plan and Intercultural Competence and Social Responsibility. All modules offered will be timetabled independently. Each semester consists of 2 blocks. Please note that some modules run throughout the entire semester (indicated as Block 1&2 or Block 3&4) and some run in only one block in the semester. Make sure to take this into account in order to equally balance your study load throughout the semester.
International Business Marketing Project (5 ECTS credits) - Block 1&2 or Block 3&4
Your main focus this semester will be a real international business case related to market research and marketing advice. After a briefing from the client (this can be a company or institution), you and your team will work on the assignment throughout the semester. Previous clients have been Slow Food, Fairphone and Ecovillages.
Your team will start with scanning the situation of the client and write a Business Market Research Report with recommendations based on your research.
After you complete your market research, you will continue with a marketing plan. Your project group writes a realistic marketing plan and defends it to a jury consisting of lecturers and staff from the client. During the process, an experienced lecturer from Windesheim guides you and monitors the progress on the assignments.
Working in an international setting
Delivering a good result under time pressure will bring intercultural differences to the surface. Working in a multicultural setting therefore requires flexibility to handle the differences in language skills, knowledge and cultural backgrounds. Next to the regular project meetings, you will receive training in professional skills such as telephone training, presenting in English and reporting.
Intercultural Competence & Social Responsibility (5 ECTS credits) - Block 1&2 or Block 3&4
Intercultural competences are among the most essential topics when talking about internationalization. Without these competences, international cooperation and communication will most probably end in well-meant approaches, but no concrete results. In this module, explicit attention is given to defining as well as developing these essential skills.
You will actively map your current state of Intercultural Development by means of the Intercultural Readiness Check and develop an action plan on which you base a number of activities that explicitly help strengthen your intercultural skills. Besides this, the theme of diversity will be discussed and applied during several group projects and activities.
In the second part of the module, your team will choose a moral problem or dilemma with intercultural aspects. An intercultural dialogue will be organized to help resolve this dilemma. Central to this will be the skill ‘negotiation’ (Traintool) and the IRC competency: ‘Building Commitment’, especially ‘Reconciling stakeholders needs’.
Want to know more about the course modules in International Business Studies? Check the course catalogue for more information about matters such as assessment and teaching methods.
- International Business Marketing Project (5 ECTS credits) - Block 1&2 or Block 3&4
International Business Management (5 ECTS credits) - Block 1 or Block 3
In recent decades, international flows of goods and money have increased considerably. Many companies have therefore developed strategies for coping with internationalization, because they want to sell more of their products and services to foreign markets. In this module, you will get to know the basic structures of internal organizations and learn to shape a company’s internationalization strategy. To be able to respond to the ever-changing market, you will also study innovation and change processes and discover how to manage a company in such a variable circumstances.
This module provides you with a comprehensive overview on management principles for international business. Through a mix of lectures, discussion, cases and exercises, the module covers crucial information such as strategy, organization, decision making, marketing, opening trade and logistics channels and manage suppliers in the context of international business and global organizations.
Global Trends and Issues (5 ECTS credits) Block 1&2 or Block 3&4
During the lectures, the following topics and issues will be covered:
- What are trends and issues, and how do they develop? Relevance of global trends and issues for companies/multinationals. How to monitor and manage trends and issues?
- Presentation of DESTEP/PESTEL.
- How can businesses prepare for the ever-changing global environment and how to develop future-proof strategic advice to ensure the future sustainability?
Online Market Research (5 ECTS credits) Block 1 or Block 3
This course provides a comprehensive overview of market research for business students. With a focus on gathering relevant and reliable information, the course covers both quantitative and qualitative research methods. This includes both online and offline data collection. You will learn how to analyse and present data in a clear and effective manner, providing valuable insights that can support important business decisions.
During this course, you will learn how to conduct online market research.
We will use the online and offline customer journey as a starting point to practice with various research instruments and methods. There is a surprising amount of information available online. You will learn to use social media like Facebook, X, LinkedIn and Instagram, Google Trends, blogs, communities, consumer reviews to conduct online market research and understand its applicability and limitations.
The Operations Management Game (5 ECTS credits) Block 2 or Block 4
Get insight into the fascinating field of operations management by learning hands-on in a very exciting way. Together with your classmates, you will be acting as the operational management team of a sports company! You will compete against a number of other teams in your class to determine who can best run the operation function: who gets the best market share, the highest profit and the most satisfied staff? Who is the most effective in pushing through innovations and at the same time managing risks properly?
Parallel to the game, you are supported with lectures in the field of operations management. And, as in real business life, managing the company also places high demands on your intercultural collaboration skills. Your aim is to reach the number 1 position at the Stock Exchange! There is a nice prize for the winner of the game. In addition, a company visit in the Zwolle area is part of the programme.
Family Business (5 ECTS credits) Block 1 or Block 3
Throughout the world, family business ownership is the most prevailing form of ownership. There are many forms of family ownership, and you can find family businesses in every branch and in any size. In the Netherlands, it might be a family who runs two fashion stores or the family Van Eerd, who owns the supermarket Jumbo.
Family businesses are often considered to be the engine of national economies, contributing to job creation, the nation gross product and innovation. It is therefore important to develop more knowledge and skills to be successful when dealing with family businesses as an employee, consultant or successor.
This module focuses on this family business context, and utilizes seminal theoretical frameworks in order to 'make sense' of complex and diverse real-life situations, the class is organized around various case studies. Working individually and in teams, you will gain strong analysis, recommendation and presentation abilities.
To make it a more concrete, you will learn how to:
- Identify the key dimensions of the business, family and ownership systems that define the field of family business and understand the prevalence and economic contribution of family businesses in the world.
- Know, evaluate and apply theories and/or models in the field of family businesses, including strategic management, governance, succession, change and value creation and relationships and conflicts in the family business.
- Recognize the root cause of challenges in family businesses while showing solid analysis techniques, creative problem-solving skills combined with detailed and realistic recommendation formulation.
- Present your recommendation in the role of consulting professionals.
Creative and Critical Thinking (5 ECTS credits) Block 2 or Block 4
The module Creative and critical thinking (Open your mind) sharpens your brain. We want you to think critically about your own field of study and future profession, and become more creative in your work. You will learn the difference between a fixed and growth mindset and will develop the skills to convincingly, professionally and creatively write and present. To do so, you will study:
- Critical reading, reasoning, structuring information, analyzing, evaluating and judging (critical thinking skills)
- Planning, formulating, editing and revising (writing skills for both creative and business writing)
- Convergent and divergent thinking, thinking outside and inside the box (creative thinking skills)
International Logistics (5 ECTS credits) Block 1 or Block 3
Companies expand business internationally to increase income, to cut costs, to lower their risk profile and to learn new things. While doing so, these companies incur many challenges. In this module, we will look at the broader logistical impact of the decisions companies make. We will analyze these challenges and learn how to deal to with these.
You will cover the following subjects:
- Culture and what it means for doing business internationally
- Logistics and customs
- Different ways to export goods and the risks and liabilities for the involved parties
- Market entry, payment and credit insurance
- Ethical behaviour in an international environment
Finance and Economics (5 ECTS credits) Block 2 or Block 4
For the Finance part, you will learn:
- how firms raise capital by issuing bonds and stocks.
- how investors appraise bonds, stocks and firms.
- how firms decide on financing issues.
- how firms may use instruments to hedge various business risks.
To learn more about economics, you will learn:
- how to describe the macroeconomic system (Keynesian Model).
- how government and monetary policies may boost economic growth and fight inflation (AD-AS Model).
To integrate your knowledge, you will design an investment portfolio. Based on analyses at the level of the firm (valuation of stocks, bonds, firms and expected returns) and the macroeconomic environment (economic growth prospects), you will invest fictitious money in real-world firms to arrive at a well-diversified investment portfolio.
Branding Across Cultures (5 ECTS credits) Block 2 or Block 4
Globalization and its side effects have had a very profound effect on branding. As markets have integrated, brands travelled beyond national borders. Whenever any brand enters a new country, it faces a barrage of challenges. Culture becomes a very crucial factor that determines the brand’s success. Many global brands have dealt with cultural issues very well and have adopted their brands to suit the diverse cultural demands of different regions in which they operate. Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, BMW, LVMH, Estée Lauder, Procter & Gamble and Disney are some of the more successful brands that have treaded the path of adapting to cultural demands very well. (Source: Martin Roll(opens in new tab)).
In this course, we will examine the cultural paradoxes that are connected to cross-cultural branding.
Consumers from different countries have different cultural values. These cultural values influence their brand perception, brand evaluation and brand buying behaviour. You will work together with other students from different cultures to discover and understand the cultural differences and their influence on branding.
Digital Marketing (5 ECTS credits) Block 1&2 or Block 3&4
What is new in digital marketing? Everything! Digital marketing refers to the promotion of products, services or brands through electronic channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, mobile apps, and other digital platforms. It is a dynamic and constantly evolving field that requires businesses to adapt their marketing strategies in order to reach their target audience and stay ahead of the competition. With the rise of the internet and digital technologies, digital marketing has become a crucial component of modern marketing and advertising efforts. Companies nowadays spend most of their marketing budget on digital marketing (Adspend, 2020) and customer expectations have risen. Therefore, it is essential to understand digital marketing as a young professional.
Do you want to learn what professional marketeers do to optimize interactions in the webshop and acquire and retain customers? Then this is the course for you.
What will you have learned after this course?
- You will be able to recognize and reproduce the basics of digital marketing.
- You will be able to demonstrate how to acquire and retain customers through digital marketing channels such as: SEO, SEA, email marketing, social media marketing and content marketing.
- You will be able to demonstrate the use of digital marketing tools.
- You will be able to make data driven decisions by monitoring and analysing data. In addition, you will be able to set digital marketing KPIs.
- You will be able to incorporate strategic considerations and tactical choices.
International Business Ethics and European Business Law (5 ECTS credits) Block 1&2 or Block 3&4
In the first term, the focus is on business ethics. You assume the role of a management advisor. For an internationally operating business, you choose one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Besides that, you formulate matching KPIs so internal and external processes can actually reach those goals.
So far so good, but when implementing the KPIs, the company is confronted with a dilemma: being more social responsible or sustainable will increase the prices of their products. Or due to recycling, the quality of their product becomes more inferior.
On one hand, the company wants to meet the requirements of the chosen SDG, but on the other hand they want to keep the quality high or prices low. It is up to you to resolve this dilemma!
European business law
For this topic, you will learn how the European Union works.
- What are its main institutions and what are their functions?
- How is European law being made?
- Laws that impact businesses, such as the European internal market, are discussed. For example, the free movement of goods and persons, and competition rules.
Business Case Competition Training (5 ECTS credits) Block 1&2 or Block 3&4
Want to become a business consultant who constantly gets challenged to come up with worthwhile solutions to business challenges? This is your opportunity to experience it first hand!
The practical area of the business cases will be marketing/communication. During this semester, you will be trained to tackle such cases. Once prepped, you will be challenged by three enterprises to solve their business case. In teams of 4 to 5 students, you will compete to deliver the most appreciated solution. For such also happens in ‘normal’ life when a company invites several parties to the tender. Only the best one wins!
Becoming a good and effective consultant requires two major set of skills.
- The technical skills to break down a problem, manage a project and to find a great solution.
- The soft skills, as every project involves colleagues and stakeholders with different positions. You will focus on:
- Getting your team to perform as well as possible, especially in a multicultural and multidisciplinary setting. This requires insight into your own qualities and pitfalls, and insights into those of your teammates. The next step is to make actionable plans to improve the performance of yourself, as well as that of the team.
- Delivering your pitch. Because your solution might be valuable, but you need to be able to sell it to your client.
- Listening and observing your client and/or stakeholders. How to ask questions the right way? What might they say between the lines? What might their preferences?
Some examples of previously addressed challenges:
- PlasmaMade: How best to introduce a new home air filter into the European market?
- De Eenhoorn: How can we (re)organize the after sales process (for really high quality teas and coffees) based on the value proposition of customer intimacy?
- Retulp: Come up with an attractive and distinctive promotional campaign directed at bigger companies and institutions to sell our Fridgebag (bag made of recycled fridges) to as a potential business gift or Christmas gift for their own employees?
- Raakvlak Academie: How to reach out to a larger target group consisting of musically talented people, but who have a fragile social position? This in order to better harness them for functioning in society.
- City Council of Zwolle: How to get youngsters to consume responsibly at sports facilities so that they evolve into a healthy generation?
Entrepreneurship (5 ECTS credits) Block 1&2 or Block 3&4
Were you interested in business as a child? Did you seek out entrepreneurial roles in school, in social organizations or even in your previous job? A natural inclination of past interest in entrepreneurship seems to be a good potential indicator of future success. Think you are cut out to be an entrepreneur? Take this course and find out!
Opportunities in circular economy
Modern businesses must transform how they operate, as the circular economy provides plenty of new opportunities. The upside is clear to many… Increase in economic growth with 1% to 4% through circular strategies which entail maintenance & repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishment and recycling. But what does this mean and which challenges will you encounter?
The programme of this course is completely tailored to your needs. The goal is to prepare you to act as an entrepreneur. You will be taught, coached and trained by experts from Windesheim, but also receive feedback from entrepreneurs.
Language Teaching Assistance: French/German (5 ECTS credits) Block 1&2 or Block 3&4
Are you a native French/German speaker, and would you like to teach others your language? Then this module is perfect for you! Share your language with students from our International Business degree and develop your own leadership skills. Being a teaching assistant is a great way to practice your listening and speaking abilities, while also working on your creative, interpersonal and organizational capabilities. Skills that are useful in any job!
During this module, you will cooperate closely with a French/German teacher and take over certain responsibilities in the classroom. By the end of the semester, you will document your learning experiences in a report.
Cross Departmental Elective Modules
Complete your exchange semester or year by taking one or two cross-departmental modules. You will receive ECTS credits when you complete a module successfully.
Want to know more about the course modules in International Business Studies? Check the course catalogue for more information about matters such as assessment and teaching methods.
- International Business Management (5 ECTS credits) - Block 1 or Block 3
The Learning Agreement is a crucial document for the recognition of a study period abroad. It is an agreement between you, your university and Windesheim. When you decide to do an exchange programme at Windesheim, you have to create a Learning Agreement that includes the respective courses of the exchange programme. Learn more on how to set up the Learning Agreement for your specific exchange programme at Windesheim.