International Business with Placement Year MSc

Postgraduate (24 months with placement full-time)


September, January

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You’re motivated by the possibilities that international business will unlock for you and you know how important is to make your own career decisions. Our MSc International Business with Placement Year has been designed with your ambitions in mind so we offer you a wide range of options to complete your degree: study abroad and graduate with a dual degree, choose your optional modules, or undertake a year-long placement. The choice is yours.

Full description


This course is for you if you’re looking to forge a career in international business. It will prepare you for roles as diverse as business development, marketing, international supply chain management, logistics, project management, HR, banking, international finance and management consultancy.

Through our Intern programme, around 40 students each year get a business mentor, work experience, exclusive training and development, and a reference from our Dean.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Contemporary Issues in International Management
    Organisations and managers have to adapt, change and evolve to meet the conflicting, competing and complex business related environmental change factors, whose rate of change is developing at an exponential rate. Irresistible influences from National, International and Global Macro. Micro and Operating environments are shaping and influencing contemporary management theories and practice. Today’s managers must equip themselves with new skills and knowledge in order to interact with and respond to the emerging challenges that change brings and where appropriate take the required corrective action. Business leaders are required to develop higher level management skills, especially critical evaluation and decision making within National, International and Global contexts, when needing to respond effectively to the challenges within these constantly changing operating environments. This module provides professional managers with an opportunity to consider reflect and critically appraise a range of current contemporary management issues, including developing International lenses of reference from a theoretical and practical application whilst relating these factors to the art of management. The course content will provide a framework to assess how these issues impact within organisations and how managers are able to react to these issues. The module will develop within students a critical appreciation of the challenges faced by management professionals in developing responses to business environment conditions which are complex, dynamic and diverse. This module engages students with contemporary issues in context with associated links to organisational strategy and management approaches and systems related to information, networks and collaborations as well as organisational learning. In achieving its overall objectives, the module will encourage students to further develop, engage, evaluate and critique their contemporary understanding with a view to the realities of practice and organisations. Students will consider interactions, theories and frameworks that explain contemporary issues and ground this in organisational and individual contexts. It is widely accepted that such issues are crucial to the viability of organisations across all sectors and contexts and the creation of value (however defined). As a result both the study mode and module content further facilitate the application of, and reflection on, theory and understanding in practice and this is evidenced in the learning outcomes and the associated development of the individual's understanding.
  • Digital Marketing Communications
    In any management role undertaken within an organisation students will require an appreciation of the power and influence of digital marketing. This module aims to increase employability of students by providing individuals with many of the necessary skills, as well as a critical understanding, of digital marketing. This will be essential as they enter employment in today’s dynamic digitally influenced business environment. The lectures in this module will encourage students to critically examining emerging theories and models within this academic field of study. Students will be asked to undertake a critical examination of digital marketing strategies for both profit and not for profit organisations which deliver integrated online communications for both large organisations and SME’s (small and medium sized enterprises). Students will examine evidence of the change in consumer behaviour and increase in online activities such as social activism. They will also be required to investigate the influence of tribes, communities and virtual crowds in online behaviour and the effective use of WOM (word of mouth) and viral marketing as part of campaign tactics. Important consideration of legal and regulatory issues affecting digital marketing, together with emerging codes of practice and ethical issues will be addressed in lectures. An understanding and development of basic skills in appropriate use of digital tools such as social media, online advertising and mobile will be addressed in seminars. This will lead to a case study assessment where students are encouraged to consider the appropriate application of these tools.
  • Finance for Decision Making
    Management decision making is a complex subject involving many variable factors. This module explores the financial element contained in decisions and the techniques that may be used to assist informed management decisions. It is assumed that the student has already acquired a knowledge of financial vocabulary, the concepts behind basic financial terminology and the financial statements. The module begins by considering the availability of financial information that may be relevant to decision making and how this fits with that needed for the informed decision. This is further developed to the type of decision and differing requirements, leading to a more bespoke deliverable information set that meets the context of the decision. In order to fulfil the requirements identified as necessary for the informed decision the module explores the financial techniques developed by financial and management accountants and how they may be used and applied. Finally consideration is given to the relevance and weighting of the financial element in the decision making process and how qualitative issues may be incorporated in the overall decision. The link to corporate governance best practice is also explored. The module is designed to be contextualised for students from different organisations and sectors, and for it to be delivered to students without practical management experience. One of the main focuses for the design of this module has been the further development of relevant employability and professional skills. Such skills are implicit in the learning outcomes. The module will be assessed by two written assignments. The first assignment will encourage students to reflect upon the theory and techniques that underpin financial management practice while the following assignment will encourage students to consider how accounting can inform decision making within an organisation.
  • Human Resource Management in the Global Context
    This module sets out to investigate how, and if, human resource management (HRM)) operates in the international arena. This is done in two ways: by considering differences in national HRM policies and practices and by examining how businesses overcome the people problems associated with operating in more than one country. This will lead to a questioning of the extent to which HRM can be seen as a global phenomenon. In order to undertake this module effectively it is assumed that students will have some familiarity with HRM practices in at least one country and a desire to uncover similarities and differences in others. One of the main focuses for the design of this module has been the further development of relevant employability and professional skills. Such skills are implicit in the learning outcomes. Assessment will be by a 3,000-word assignment.
  • Research Methods for Business and Management
    This module prepares students to undertake a piece of business or management research for their Masters project by developing appropriate knowledge, understanding and transferable intellectual and practical skills. Emphasis is placed on developing skills most likely to lead to a successful closure of a research journey set within any organisational setting identified by students in the role of either academic or practitioner researchers. Skills such as the ability to frame research aims, generate research questions/hypothesis, and research objectives, the ability to generate a conceptual framework, the ability to select and justify a particular research design and methodology and the ability to act as an ethical researcher so as not to spoil the field are all central features of this module. In addition the generation of core practical skills such as the ability to generate and analyse quantitative and qualitative data are central to this module. By developing this knowledge, understanding and transferable intellectual and practical skills the true aims of conducting research will be realised. Students will gain confidence in a range of cognitive and practical skills suitable to conducting research projects in a range of international business contexts so as to add to knowledge and understanding. One of the main focuses for the design of this module has been the further development of relevant employability and professional skills. Such skills are implicit in the learning outcomes. Multiculturalism has been considered during the design of this module and will be considered when the assessment brief is written.
  • Supply Chain Strategy and Operations
    Supply chain management is a major strategic concern for organisations, it is often stated that individual organisations no longer compete, but that the impetus of competition has shifted to supply chains/networks. A number of strategic philosophies and techniques are explored on the module that focuses on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of supply chain flow. This module highlights how the ever-demanding customer creates a need for managing the network from raw materials to end-customer across organisational interfaces. Therefore, supply chain networks rely on effective management of relationships and outsourcing arrangements. Supply chains can be fragile due to the participants and external risks, risk management strategies are applied within the module. Any logistics/supply chain strategy has to make trade-offs in terms of cost; quality; flexibility; dependability and time. These strategic priorities are explored in an intensive supply chain simulation game. The game simulations a product supply chain, including necessary functions produces results and statistics about the supply chain that the students must improve over the course of the semester. The overall aim is to provide an insight into the system consequences of decisions, focusing on operational decisions, e.g. procurement, manufacturing, distribution, transport etc. Here students will work in teams, to represent the management of the company, therefore, they must develop a strategy and work together to implement their decisions. The impetus is on real-life practice and the impetus here is on learning by doing. Within this module, students will build team-work; communication; analytical; project management; time management and presentation skills.
  • Postgraduate Work Placement - International Business
    This module will allow you to undertake a work placement. It aims to provide you with the opportunity to put into practice what you have learnt in your course by offering real-life practical experience in the field as well as an opportunity to undertake some research for the organisation in which you are placed. During this module you will be supported to source and then undertake a year-long (minimum 34 weeks, and at least 8 hours per week) work-based learning experience with an organisation, either private or public, where you will be supported developing effective professional practices through guidance in generic and specific employability skills as well as in undertaking real-life research in a work environment. You will develop independent reflective learning practices to enhance your continuing professional development in the context of your own working environment and career aspirations. The module aims to provide you with the opportunity to undertake a placement and then gain experience of work in a business environment including familiarisation with a professional work environment. This module will be underpinned by employability skills training, reflective assessments and support from academic tutors and employers. You will be expected to be able to reflect on your own experience in writing and place this in the context of the industry and academic work on the sector in a 10,000 word research-informed portfolio (including a 2,000 word diary) which is the equivalent of your major project. In this portfolio you must demonstrate how you have applied theory, practical knowledge and learnings within a work-based environment. You are also expected to reflect on some research that you have undertaken for the employer and reflect on how this research might benefit the organisation. The assessment aims to support and develop your ability to demonstrate professionalism, leadership and managerial skills to a prospective employer whilst also learning key communication, research and personal skills.

Optional modules (subject to availability)

  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
    This module reviews the classical models of entrepreneurship and examines the main characteristics of entrepreneurs within organisations. Recent approaches to entrepreneurship are examined. Ways of fostering entrepreneurial culture, at every level within the organisation, are surveyed. The role of entrepreneurship and innovation in economic growth are analysed by applying, for example, Porter's Diamond model to a selected region. The role and nature of small business start-ups is critically reviewed. Creative and integrative thinking are stimulated by application of various methods, e.g. Buzan's Mind-Mapping. The context of innovation within the modern business environment is reviewed. The significance and outcomes of the innovation process are examined. Mechanisms for protecting innovations and intellectual property are reviewed.
  • Professional and Organisational Development
    This module investigates questions such as 'who is a Manager', 'what is a manager?' and 'what is the nature of an organisation?'. These topic areas and the relationship with the external environment are perennial questions, especially in a period of change and turbulence. Given this the module aims to provide participants with a variety of analytical tools for use of these varying levels of analysis. The module encourages you to apply these tools in order to produce an ideographically based conceptual map and analysis of their own practices and contexts. This enables critical questions of existing Management and Organisation Theory to be identified, as well as provide a basis for enhanced professional practice and development of personal competence as a manager.
  • Sustainable Supply Chains
    Sustainability poses a considerable challenge to global supply chains, which are inherently complex and involve many partners. This module explores the concept of being sustainable in a supply chain context: both in internal processes and decisions, but also in the wider supply network considering the role of responsible procurement strategy. The concept of triple bottom line, which considers the financial; social and environmental effect of business, is explored. The focus then turns to how to manage the immediate and eventual environmental effects of products and processes associated with converting raw materials into final products. Therefore, lifecycle management is studied and sustainable strategies and practices across core supply chain activities, including procurement; production; logistics; packaging; warehousing and distribution. Transportation/logistics is often seen one of the most significant factors in environmental sustainability. Hence, transport mode, planning and routing processes are evaluated in the supply chain context. There is practical consideration of the effect of transport mode decisions on: cost; speed; convenience and environment. Organisations and supply chains must respond to the pressures for environmental sustainability as corporate social responsibility and legislation begin to take hold. Therefore, there is focus on how environmental impact will need to be monitored, as well as, more proactive practices such as the recycling, reclamation, remanufacturing and reverse logistics are being adopted. Closed loop supply chains and the associated activities of integrated waste management and reverse logistics are explored. The module also draws on the contextual issues, including: regulatory and legal frameworks, European and Global UN agreements, which continue to exert increasing pressure on supply chains to manage and improve environment impact. Consideration and application of carbon management ideas is also discussed. Overall, the module seeks to provide a contemporary view of sustainability and the future implications for managing supply chains.


We’ll asses your progress through a range of written assignments, portfolio and presentations. You’ll have the option to carry out both group and individual work.

This is a 24-month programme.

Please note that modules are subject to change and availability

Where you'll study

Your faculty

You have a highly active mind and see opportunity everywhere. Now you need theory and life-changing skills to sharpen your approach to management. At the Faculty of Business & Law, you will immerse yourself in a multicultural environment where technology blends with teaching to create a dynamic and innovative learning environment. An environment to help you gain those skills.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Placement year (UK, EU, international students)


How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

If you're a UK or EU student, you won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to study with us – though you must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you're at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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