Executive MBA in International Business and Sustainable Development

MBA degree
Start Date
29 September 2017
2 years


This Executive MBA is an advanced management degree at the cutting edge of management science. Its aim is to offer you the opportunity to not only obtain the general management know-how that you would expect from a world-class, accredited MBA, but to give you the opportunity to learn more about leading your organization to contribute to sustainable development through doing business internationally.

The program departs from the realization that development on this planet faces serious constraints. And that future development, if it is to be socially and environmentally sustainable, needs to be different from the pattern of development of the past. Businesses, and moreover businesses that trade and invest internationally, need to take the lead in generating and disseminating new business models that will make this possible – and at the same time create a shared economy. Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and realization of the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, offers substantial new opportunities for job creation, innovation, economic growth, social equity and environmental rejuvenation.

Maastricht School of Management’s Executive MBA in International Business and Sustainable Development is a demanding but exhilarating part-time program that will equip you with the management and responsible leadership skills required for steering your organization in this regard.
Given the part-time format of the Executive MBA, this program is mainly targeting EU residents.

It does so not only by an updated relevant curriculum and professors who are leading experts in the fields of international business and sustainable development, but also through the entire experience of the program, during which you will benefit from MSM’s global experience and networks. Your skills and assets can only reach their ultimate potential through networking, interacting, partnering and competing on the global stage.

At the end of the 24-month program you will earn the prestigious title of MBA – an internationally accredited qualification awarded by Maastricht School of Management.

Why should you choose the Executive MBA in International Business and Sustainable Development?

Unique focus on CSR international business, and modern development thinking
The Executive MBA in International Business and Sustainable Development is an innovative and dynamic program designed for professionals and entrepreneurs working in managerial positions with the ambition to grow into leadership positions in global businesses. In the specialization phase of the program you are thoroughly immersed in understanding the key elements of international business and sustainable development. Four in-depth courses prepare you in the following areas:

  • Sustainability in the Global Context: understand the interconnectivity of the global economy
  • Green and Inclusive Innovation: gain contemporary perspectives on innovation
  • International Human Resource Management: learn how to manage people effectively
  • Fair Trade and Global Value Chains: understand how value is added to goods as they move around the world.

International accreditation and recognition
All MBA programs at MSM are internationally accredited by AMBA, IACBE, and ACBSP. This means that you can be assured that the program meets the highest global standards. Additionally the Executive MBA in Sports Management is accredited by NVAO (Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organization). It thus adheres to the very strict Dutch criteria and has the stamp of approval by being fully recognized by the Dutch government. Only a select few business schools enjoy these accreditations. For instance, only 2% of business schools have received the coveted AMBA accreditation. MSM’s MBA is ranked #2 in the Netherlands and #11 in Europe, according Eduniversal’s 2015 Best Masters ranking and draws on MSM’s more than 60-year experience in management and business education. It was one of the three nominees for the Nuffic Orange Carpet Award in 2014, as a recognition of its contribution to the internationalization of higher education in the Netherlands. MSM was a finalist for the 2014 Association of MBAs innovation award.

Flexible and modular design
The design of the part-time Executive MBA program enables you to balance the pressures of work with study. The program includes conveniently paced lectures and classes conducted through a number of spread-out modules, minimizing the time that you need to spend away from work. To accommodate your busy schedule the program can be completed in 2 – 4 years. In exceptional cases we offer you the flexibility to follow one or more modules at one of our partner’s location abroad if the timing of the specific course is appropriate.

Practice-oriented program
The Executive MBA takes a practice-oriented approach focusing on putting the acquired theoretical knowledge into practice. During the program this is facilitated through course related field trips and guest lectures by experts. Each eight-day module consists of lectures, case studies, and includes field trips and guest speakers with a direct link to the course topic.
During the program you will work on projects which are focused on applying your knowledge to solve real business issues.

You round off your Executive MBA degree with either an academic research paper, a business plan or a business consulting project. This will offer you the opportunity to directly apply the newly gained knowledge into the daily practice of your organization.

A diverse and global network
MSM is one of the most international business schools in the Netherlands with a large network of students, alumni and partners across the globe. Its various management programs and activities attract participants from many countries, professional backgrounds and areas of interest, offering you the opportunity to significantly expand your international network.

As part of our teaching methodology group study emphasizes working efficiently and effectively in multicultural groups – an invaluable skill for all leaders and managers. Group study enables you to benefit from the experiences of others – group members are selected at random to maximize learning opportunities in an environment designed to foster collaboration with fellow participants from different cultures and work environments. The Executive MBA provides excellent opportunities to enhance intercultural communication skills.

Inspiring location
The program will take place in the historical and beautiful city of Maastricht, a 2000-year old city where the Treaty of Maastricht that established the EU, was signed in 1992.  This University-City is the intellectual center of the southern Netherlands. Strategically located in the dynamically growing EURegion, Maastricht is within 2-3 hours travel from important European cities such as Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Paris, and Cologne.


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The 70 ECTS* program can be completed over a two-year period consisting of eight modular lecturer sessions and completion of a thesis.

Phase Course Educational hours** ECTS
Understanding Finance Finance 84 3
Accounting for Managers 84 3
Developing a
Business Plan
Entrepreneurship 84 3
Digital Transformation 84 3
Business Analytics Research Methods 84 3
Decision-Making Tools 84 3
Creating Value Marketing in a Global Context 84 3
Global Supply Chain Management 84 3
Strategic Orientation Economics for Managers 84 3
Global Corporate Strategy 84 3
Changing World Leadership & Organizational Behavior 84 3
Change Management 84 3
Global Responsibility Managing Cultural Diversity 84 3
Corporate Responsibility and Ethics 84 3
Specialization Sustainability in the Global Economy 84 3
Green and Inclusive Innovation 84 3
International Human Resource
84 3
Fair Trade and Global Value Chains 84 3
Final paper Academic  Research Paper / Business Consultancy Project / Business Plan, including presentation 448 16
Total 1960 hours 70 ECTS

* The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a student-centered system based on the student workload required to achieve the objectives of a program.

** 1 ECTS corresponds with 28 hours of study (includes both face-to-face and self-study)

There are four 8-day modules (Saturday – Saturday) which take place in January, April, July and October of each year. Executive MBA students will be expected to free themselves
of all other obligations during each module. During the extended break between modules, students will be working on the projects and exam preparations from the previous module as well as start to read and prepare for the next module. The specialization module will be 13 days in July of year two and participants from the MSM Global Network will also be joining this particular module.

Please click here for an overview of the tentative schedule, including the dates of the courses and the exam dates.

The Specialization Phase
During the specialization phase of the program you will be thoroughly immersed in understanding the key elements of International Business and Sustainable Development.  The following four in-depth courses are taken:

Sustainability in the Global Economy
No business can operate successfully today without understanding the interconnectivity of the global economy. This course will cover some of the major forces that are affecting the contemporary business environment, ranging from the repercussions of the 2009 financial crisis and the role of the BRICs, as well as the addressing of the UN sustainable development goals, the Rio +20 agenda and the needs of the circular economy.

Green and Inclusive Innovation
Innovation is a key driver providing managers with new market opportunities. This course gives you a contemporary perspective on innovation. It highlights the importance of green innovations that reduce environmental risks and ecological scarcities and which create solutions for sustainable development. Moreover, it provides a platform for developing inclusive innovation, showing how high performance products and services can be created for bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers.

International Human Resource Management
No business functions without people, and being able to manage this essential resource effectively, is crucial to any business leader. International Human Resource Management focuses activities such as recruitment, training and development, compensation as well as performance appraisal. Moreover, the course gives you an insight into the importance of labor mobility in the global economy, with particular reference to how highly skilled immigration, refugees and migrants play an essential role in meeting today’s skills shortages.

Fair Trade and Global Value Chains
Understanding how value is added to goods as they move around the world, is essential for any global manager. In this course Fair Trade and Global Value Chains, you will learn about sustainability in the global value chain, from raw materials to finished products. Furthermore, you will gain insight into the importance of industry clusters and governmental regulations that are engaged at each stage of the products’ development.



Applicants must send proof of residency in the EU or valid EU visa for the time of the studies. (MSM is unable to provide a student visa or any tourist visa support for the EMBA program. If such support is needed, then the full-time MBA program is the appropriate program).

Admission requirements

A sound academic background is the main prerequisite for admission to the MSM Executive MBA in International Business and Sustainable Development. Applicants must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree or its academic equivalent from a recognized university.

Four online leveling courses (Accounting, Finance, Statistics and Economics) are required to be satisfactorily completed after admission to the program, but prior to the start of the program. Alternatively, if you have completed the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) with a score of 600 or higher (or a GRE with an equivalent score), the leveling courses are waived.

At least five or more years of relevant working experience, obtained after your bachelor’s degree.

Candidates must have a thorough command of written and spoken English.
Applicants whose native or predominant language is not English, or whose previous education has been in a language other than English, must provide evidence of English proficiency by achieving the following minimum scores:

TOEFL scores: (Test of English as Foreign Language)

–      88  for the internet based test
–     230 computer based test
–     570 paper based test
–     570 institutional TOEFL (paper based at a certified test administration site)

IELTS score (International English Language Testing System):

–     6.5 minimum, with no section below 5.5 on the Academic test

TOEIC score (Test of English for International Communication):

  • 720, provided applicant has passed both “Speaking & Writing” and “Listening & Reading”

Pearson PTE Academic test of English – minimum score 59

Cambridge CPE English Proficiency test – C

Cambridge CAE English Advanced test – B

Applicants from countries where the official language is English, or who have studied in countries where English is the official language, are exempted from this requirement.

Candidates are admitted on a competitive basis.

To apply please fill in the online application form.

In order to complete the application process we also need the following documents:

  • Copies of bachelor’s/master’s degree
  • Academic transcripts
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Two professional letters of recommendation
  • Personal resumé/CV
  • A letter of motivation
  • An interview (at the discretion of MSM).

All letters and documents must be submitted, or accompanied by certified translations, in English, the official working language at MSM.

As soon as we have received your online application we will provide you with the details on how to submit the required documents and the non-refundable application fee of € 75.

Applications are processed immediately on receipt. However, the deadline for applications is 1 July (for non-EU residents) and 1 August (for EU residents) for the October intake, and 1 November (for non-EU residents) and 3 January (for EU residents) for the January intake. Each application will be processed on an individual basis. The Graduate Admissions Board will make a decision based on the candidate’s prior academic performance, work experience and overall achievements and goals. We will inform you of the Admissions Board‹s decision as soon as possible.

MSM reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission if candidates fail to satisfy all requirements or if it is determined that admission was obtained through the use of falsified, altered or embellished information.



October intake
Early Bird deadline 1 September
Application deadline 15 September
January intake
Early bird deadline 1 December
Application deadline 3 January


Full Tuition Fee (regular fee) €  30,500
Application Fee (non refundable) €        75
Study Materials €       300

Please take a look at the available scholarships which are listed under the next section, Scholarships, or check this overview with available scholarships and other program related cost.

Click here for more information about the deferment policy, the refund policy, and financial suspension.



Dean‹s Development Fund Based on country
Academic Excellence Scholarship 50 %
Women in Leadership 50 %
Alumni Lifelong Learning 50 %
Public Services / NGO Scholarship 50 %
Bosphorus Scholarship 50 %
European Star Scholarship 25 %
Entrepreneurship / Family Business Scholarship 25 %
Alumni Referral Scholarship 10 %
Corporate Discounts 25 – 50 %

For more detailed information about the MSM scholarships for the Executive MBA above and the conditions for these scholarships, and other program related costs, please click here.

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