Strategy and International Business MSc

Course overview

  • Course level
  • Course type
  • Duration
    1 year
  • Course options
    Internship / overseas study
  • School

Entry requirements

  • One of the following:
    A good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class) or equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University.
  • For International Students:
    An official academic transcript, with official English translation, of your university grades to date, students whose native language is not English also need to satisfy our English language requirements.
  • Full entry requirements
    See entry requirements below for full details
More information

Key Dates

Ranked in the top 100 for Business and Management (QS World University Rankings 2020)

Ranked 13th in the world and 1st in the UK in the Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking 2019.

Expand your business strategy knowledge with an international context

Course summary

A unique combination of strategy, management consulting and international business, our MSc Strategy and International Business can kick-start your career.

The course will equip you with the skills to analyse companies’ strategic situations and develop practical strategic solutions for complex commercial problems. You’ll learn the vital role middle managers play in implementing strategy and how you can make strategy work in practice.

The course concludes with a Business Project; a substantial piece of work designed to provide you with an opportunity to analyse a business problem and practically apply the knowledge and skills developed during the course.

You can choose to study this course as part of our double degree programme. 

Entry requirements

One of the following:

  • A good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class)

  • Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University.

As well as:

  • Two professional references – at least one must be from an academic referee

  • An official academic transcript of your university grades to date
  • A completed application form.

For International Students:

  • An official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date.

  • Students whose native language is not English will also need to satisfy our English language requirements Pre-sessional English language programmes are available for good applicants whose English qualification falls just short of these requirements.

  • Postgraduate masters students enrolling with Aston Business School with a 5.5 in one of the four IELTS sections will be required to engage with English language tuition as part of our professional development programme, The Aston Global Advantage. There will be no extra cost to the student.

  • For students who do not meet our minimum academic and English language requirements for this course, we offer an alternative pathway to an Aston Master’s with Kaplan International College, London.

  • For more information about qualifications, view our Aston in your country webpage.

Applicants with extensive work experience:

We recognise the value of extensive professional experience. If you do not have the academic qualifications, but have extensive and relevant professional experience and a proven ability to succeed, we would welcome your application.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Why choose us?

We have a world-class reputation for student satisfaction, teaching quality and research.

We’re tripled accredited by AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA, making us just one of 1% of business schools in the world to hold this. The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) presented us with its highest accolade – a Gold Award, for consistently outstanding outcomes. We’re also in the top 20 universities in the UK and top 50 in the world for international outlook.

We benefit from strong links to businesses across a wide range of sectors, both in the UK and internationally. This helps us to ensure our graduates are well-prepared for graduate roles. Our students have secured positions with many well-respected companies, such as Jaguar Land Rover, Deloitte, Capgemini and Deutsche Bank.  Whatever your career ambitions, we can help you achieve them!

Our courses offer a range of opportunities to gain practical experience through things such as, consultancy projects and entrepreneurial opportunities. Find out more here. 


Fees and scholarships

Fees 2020/21

UK/EU: £10,550
International: £20,350

Find out more about our scholarships here.  

Course outline

This cutting-edge programme will give you a detailed understanding of strategy and its application in a wide variety of business settings. It will enable you to become strategically minded. You’ll learn to evaluate organisations’ positions within their competitive environments and then develop viable strategic options. By the end of this course, you’ll have a well-rounded business knowledge as well as the strategic skills to pursue a wide range of career options in strategy development, management consulting or a managerial role in a variety of business functions. 

You will gain a detailed understanding of strategy by studying three modules focused on this fascinating area of business. The modules cover the fundamentals, advanced-level strategy and how strategy works in an international business context. In the first term, we’ll introduce you to key theories, concepts and frameworks related to corporate strategy. You’ll learn how to analyse the external environment as well as companies’ internal capabilities and understand how these skills can be used to shape strategic decision making.

In the second term, you’ll gain knowledge of advanced-level strategy and how this works in real-life business situations. We explore specialist topics, such as scenario planning, the art of strategic decision-making and the key role middle managers play in making strategy happen. We use a series of case studies to introduce you to strategic dilemmas across a range of industries. You’ll develop practical skills in assessing strategic opportunities and crafting viable strategic plans.

What makes this course unique is the opportunity to study strategy development and implementation from a management consultancy perspective. You’ll also have the chance to work on a real-life strategy problem in a consultative capacity. You can help an organisation to address a strategic problem and in doing so gain valuable practical experience, which will enhance your CV and help you when applying for graduate roles.

There’s the chance to tailor the programme to your interests or future career plans. You’ll select four modules from a wide variety of business topics, including marketing, finance and entrepreneurship. This allows you to enhance your understanding of several business functions and helps you to develop a broad range of transferable business skills.

Subject guide and modules

Core modules

  • Strategic Management
    This module starts with the purpose of strategy including stakeholder and governance issues and introduces tools and techniques for analysing external environments and internal capabilities. You will learn theories and frameworks/ models for assessing and evaluating organisations’ strategic options which are then applied in analysing contemporary case studies and through engaging in a rich business strategy simulation that involves strategic decision-making.
  • Advanced Topics in Strategy
    This module will explore strategic management from different theoretical angles to build a deeper appreciation of how strategy work is accomplished in practice. Drawing on cutting edge research we examine strategy development pathways, market-led strategies, strategy innovation, corporate venturing alliances and much more. This module provides you with knowledge concepts and tools to deconstruct complex strategy problems and formulate evidence-based strategic responses.
  • International Business Strategy
    This module aims to broaden and deepen your knowledge of the key issues and activities involved in international business strategy. In addition this module aims to develop your skills related to interpreting and analysing complex real-world issues using theoretical perspectives, concepts and models. The emphasis will be on using theory to inform practice and addressing real-world complex problems.
  • International Business
    The module will give you the basic and fundamental knowledge of international business theories and concepts. It will cover selected topics from a wide spectrum of activities in the international business environment. It will also develop your skills in applying the theories into practice through experiential learning such as case study analysis and class discussions.
  • Ethics in Academic Practice
    This module provides an introduction to the Academic Offence framework. By completing the resources you will understand the key principles underpinning the submission of academic assignments. These principles can then be applied to the rest of the modules studied at the university.
  • The Aston Global Advantage
    The AstonGlobal Advantage is our professional development programme that runs throughout all MSc programmes at Aston Business School. Focusing on professional development and employability, this integrated module gives you the opportunity to identify, develop and apply the key transferrable skills you will gain throughout the year. 
  • Business Project or Dissertation
    The Business Project/Dissertation is a chance for you to carry out an original piece of work applying material that you have learnt in the taught element of your degree. Specific requirements will be explained relating to different degree programmes but in summary you must demonstrate both theoretical and practical knowledge of your chosen area of specialism.

Elective modules

  • Management Consulting
    The scope of this module is to introduce you to the management consulting industry and its history, structures and practices. In the process you will acquire skills for a career in management consultancy and learn about the distinctive challenges of managing a management consultancy.
  • Intellectual Property Strategy and Management
    This module will look at intellectual property strategy and management exploring intellectual property rights relevant to an innovative business and will allow you to practice your understanding of the strategy, strategic management and valuation in commercialising these valuable rights.
  • Business Finance
    This module teaches you the key principles and challenges of financial management decisions. Youl will develop an understanding of the characteristics, influencing factors and the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of financing. You'll also apply mathematical techniques to support a range of business decisions such as the valuation of shares and the evaluation of investment opportunities.
  • International Finance
    In this module you’ll explore the role of international financial markets, the financial problems faced by firms when undertaking international trade and investments and the financial strategies used by multinational firms to alleviate financial and political risks. We use theory and practical examples to give you an understanding of these financial issues facing firms and investors when firms operate internationally.
  • Strategic Business Sustainability
    This module looks at how sustainable development as a process can lead to a certain level of sustainability within an organisational context. It places sustainability within the strategic orientation of an organisation and as such as it takes a view of sustainability both in the short-term as well as in the long-term.
  • People and World Organisations
    In this module you will examine several fascinating topics in the area of organisational behaviour, including employee motivation and the various approaches organisations take to try to understand and enhance relationships and performance levels within the work place. You’ll learn how to best work in teams, lead and influence people and how to adapt leadership behaviours in different contexts.
  • Marketing Management
    In this module you will gain a comprehensive understanding and critical evaluation of marketing management practices, underpinned by relevant theories and conceptual frameworks. These frameworks are applied to contemporary issues and organisational strategies within national and international contexts and culminating with the creation and the proposal of a professional marketing plan.
  • International Marketing Management
    This module evaluates how organisations operate in the global marketing environment. The module critically explores theories/concepts relating to the global marketing environment international marketing activities and decisions. Implications for international marketing strategies and actions are also considered through a number of relevant case-studies and practical materials.
  • Strategic Global Outsourcing and Offshoring
    The module offers a broad perspective on contemporary issues related to outsourcing and offshoring of strategic IT and business service functions. During the module we examine the major theories guiding outsourcing decisions and governance. We also evaluate the role of emerging technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence and robotic process automation) and industry trends (e.g. servitisation) on global outsourcing.
  • Entrepreneurial Strategies
    “Entrepreneurship is the ongoing practice of creating opportunities taking smart action learning and iterating and using a portfolio of skills to navigate an ever changing world” (Neck 2018).
  • Management of Innovation
    This module introduces you to key concepts and models of innovation management and guides you through their critical evaluation. Using recent real-world cases the module develops your ability to analyse innovation management of business organisations in practice and to formulate and communicate innovation-based strategies for both short- and long-term successes.
  • Advanced Topics in International Business
  • Economic Environment of Business
    We focus on key economic concepts and principles that are most useful for businesses and managers. Throughout we stress their application in an international context drawing on their real-world significance and the importance of communicating economic ideas in a clear and precise manner. In this way you will understand the significance of economics in a globalised world.
Learning, teaching and assessment

There’s a range of teaching methods used on the course. This will allow you to explore, test and apply strategy in a way that suits you and ensures you get the most out of your studies.

Lectures will teach you key strategic concepts and frameworks, providing you with a fundamental understanding of the topics. We welcome a series of guest speakers from industry throughout the course. These are either business leaders or specialists in strategic management. They will share their expertise and experiences, which will help to enhance your understanding of strategy in practise.

You’ll also have the chance to apply the techniques you’ve learnt through a variety of real-life case studies.

Through workshops and seminars, you’ll take part in class discussions and group work. This will enhance your communication, teamwork and management skills. These are key competences for your professional career.

We use a mix of assessment methods. There are exams, coursework, group work and presentations designed to test your understanding of key topics. Your lecturers will ensure you’re well-prepared for assignments and provide additional support you may need.

You will be taught by leading academics and practitioners who benefit from practical experience of strategy. It’s this mix of perspectives that our students find so valuable.

Classroom activities

Formula 1 case study:

We take a detailed look at how rival teams have battled for Formula 1 supremacy. You’ll assessing the external environment for teams, analyse their strategic capabilities and identify the source of their competitive advantage, as they reached the top of the podium. Exciting, inspiring and fast-paced…and that’s just your studies.


We examine Globalisation and its effects on various aspects of modern life; from governance to culture, equality to sustainability. We also explore the role multinational enterprises play in each of these categories, before debating the pros and cons of globalisation. 


You will examine a range of case studies in various modules. This will give you the chance to apply frameworks and techniques you’ve learnt to real-life situations.

We often use games to check and reinforce your understanding of taught material. Kahoot! lets you take part in a multiple-choice quiz from your own mobile, laptop or tablet device. You’ll compete against your fellow students to get to the top of the leader board. It’s a fantastic study tool and helps you to learn in a fun and engaging way.

The Aston Global Advantage

More than a masters

The Aston Global Advantage is an integrated module which runs throughout your course. Focusing on professional development and employability, this module gives you the opportunity to identify, develop and apply the key skills you will gain throughout the year. You'll have the opportunity to:

  • Develop your academic skills
  • Build a portfolio of professional business skills
  • Study abroad with one of our international partners, undertake an internship placement in the UK or overseas or get involved in a global business challenge simulation.
Student experience and employability

Overseas opportunities

We benefit from an extensive network of partner institutions, including some of the highest ranked business schools in Europe, such as Kedge Business School in France. We also have partnerships with univesities worldwide, from Australia, to China, and USA to Singapore.

This course gives you numerous opportunities to gain valuable work experience, which will enhance your CV and boost your employability.

You have the chance to go on a work placement with a firm of your choice, spending anywhere from one month to one year with the company. You will benefit from applying your knowledge day-to-day in a professional environment. Our students have been successful in gaining work placements in a wide variety of industries and business sectors, both in the UK and internationally.  They’ve worked in various areas of business, fulfilling roles in Salesforce, First Bank of Nigeria and Capgemini.  

With your dissertation, there’s also the option for you to work on a specific strategic problem with a firm. You’ll act as consultant, using the skills you’ve learnt during the course to come up with a solution to this issue.

You’ll also have the unique opportunity to support start-up businesses and a local SMEs with real-life business projects through our Aston Business Clinic. You can work to solve strategic problems for companies, making a real impact on these growing businesses whilst adding key achievements to your CV.

Trips and visits

Your module leaders will organise a series of networking opportunities and guest lectures for you. Consultants from leading consulting firms, senior executives and international business leaders will give you with an insight into the how strategy works within large firms, specific internationalisation strategies and challenges faced when implementing strategy.  

There’s also a large number of graduate employers which visit campus throughout the year. You’ll have the chance to chat to companies about their graduate opportunities and get an insight into their selection process.


Study or work in another country

The University has secured Erasmus+ mobility funding for students going on placement during the academic year 2019/20.  For students planning their placement in the academic year 2020/21, Erasmus+ mobility funding will be dependent on the Exit date and whether a Withdrawal deal is agreed. The University’s Brexit information page is regularly being updated and will have the latest information.

What our graduates say

Thais Richard

Watch the whole interview to find out more about her experiences on this course.

"Having the opportunity to choose a number of optional modules, really helped me to tailor my education to my specific interests."

Thais Richard
Graduate Programme, Unilever

"I was impressed with the Business School’s close links to industry and local businesses as I knew this would present networking opportunities."

“My year at Aston was one of the best experiences in my life. I have made long-lasting friends from every corner of the world, and have learnt a lot about the topics I was interested in.”

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