International Organizations MBA

Module Outlines

the global context

The Global Context, sets out the political, economic and legal environment within which the multilateral organizations operate. Students will also gain insight into the moral, ethical and social realities facing international managers, who must understand the legal environment, encourage ethical behavior, analyze lobbying strategies, and weigh difficult trade-offs.

1. Practice of International Relations

The growing intensity, and velocity of global interactions requires new approaches to studying the practice of international relations. This course combines theory and case study practice to make sense of an increasingly complex global actor and issue landscape. The course is based on highly interactive and participatory group learning and puts an emphasis on presentation and discussion skills.

Dr. Sebastian Buckup, World Economic Forum and Dr. Stephan Mergenthaler, World Economic Forum

2. Governance and Management Challenges in the UN System

The course provides a conceptual framework and an empirical basis for examining governance and management practices in the UN system. The course focuses both on the specific characteristics of intergovernmental decision making and on the practical aspects of management. The method of work will focus on group work and case studies. 

Dr. Bruce Jenks, Columbia University

3. Business & Society

After an introduction to the roles and drivers of society’s different stakeholders, the business case for engaging in society is discussed. The course’s core focus lies on the different ways in which companies can and do engage socially, and how they can benefit society and the environment. The course then provides insights and practical learning on engagement measurement, company ratings and non-financial reporting, the manifold forms of collaboration between the UN system and business, as well as on the business of climate change.

Prof. Judith Schrempf-Stirling, GSEM, University of Geneva

4. International Law and its Effects on IOs and NGOs

This course focuses on the effects that international law has on the creation and functioning of international intergovernmental organizations. It deals with how IOs operate in this system of law, as well as with their influence on the legal aspect of international relations. The emerging role of NGOs and their impact on intergovernmental organizations is also considered.

Dr. Drazen Petrovic, International Labour Office

5. Leadership and Strategic Change in the UN system

The course provides a conceptual framework for understanding the concept of leadership in the UN System. It analyses the practice of leadership by successive Secretaries General and explores the experience with different leadership models. The course examines current and past efforts at reform in the UN.

Dr. Bruce Jenks, Columbia University

6. Cross Sector Partnerships

Cross-sector partnerships are increasingly becoming mainstream in areas where societal actors detect own boundaries, sense efficiency gains through collaboration, or recognize opportunities behind interdependencies. This course explains the global evolution of partnerships and the manifold types that emerged, it zooms-in on the management of partnerships, and provides guidelines as to when partnerships can and should be utilized. At the heart of the course, study-groups together with the actual partnership managers critically study, analyze, and compare a suite of globally successful partnerships.

Dr. Valérie Federico-Weinzierl, Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance and University of Geneva

7. Leadership and Management in NPOs

This course module complements academic work on non-profit organizations (NPOs). It aims at providing students with a practical understanding of how international NPOs are set up, governed, led and managed based on some defining factors such as their mission, guiding principles, history and stakeholders, as well as the environment they are operating in. It will walk students through some of the key features of leadership and management of NPOs, both in terms of management frameworks and of leadership and management practices. 

Susanna Swann, HR Director, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

8. International Trade

The aim of this course is to provide participants with a general framework to understand Globalization. This course explores the changes and consequences of Globalization on economy, society and politics, for both developed and developing countries and also the impact of government policies at the national and international levels when firms compete in global markets. What do we know about the effects of globalization on economic growth, income inequality, and poverty?  What’s the impact of industrial, investment, competition and trade policies on firm’s productivity and growth? How does it affect workers? When is government intervention necessary? When is the government intervention the most efficient? Is there a need for policy coordination at the international level through International Governmental Organizations for instance? How can Non-Governmental Organizations and civil society react?

Prof. Mathieu Couttenier, University of Geneva

9. Doing Business in Emerging Markets

To gain an understanding of the strategic and management challenges that firms are confronted with in the new global competition marked by the increasing participation of emerging economies and particularly the BRIC’s (Brazil, Russia, India, China.). Emerging markets offer opportunities because of their growth and the rapid expansion of a middle class. At the same time, new competitors native from those countries are expanding their presence, not only in their home markets, but also in the international arena. In this course we will try to characterize the specific features of those emerging countries and players, pinpointing their similarities and differences. We will then deal with strategic and managerial issues that are generic with particular applicability in one specific country.

Prof. Marc Laperrouzza, EPFL, University of Lausanne

Business Fundamentals

The Business Fundamentals section takes students through the traditional MBA subjects ranging from strategic planning through marketing and donor relations to microeconomics and the management of resources, providing students with a sound base from which to compete successfully with other MBAs for private-sector employment.

This section places a special emphasis on the role of social entrepreneurship as a new strategic space, where cutting edge market-based mechanisms are leveraged to create a positive change, which is increasingly seen as a powerful alternative to traditional social policy and development interventions.

1. Designing Development Projects

This course provides an overview of the international development landscape and how different approaches to delivering development assistance have evolved through time while combining theoretical knowledge with practical hands-on training. Using detailed case studies of existing and hypothetical projects, the course explores essential tools for planning and implementing development projects.

Dr. Taylor Brown & Karen Iles, the IDL Group in Development

2. Communication, Fundraising and Advocacy

What are the basics of communication processes? How to conceptualize, plan, execute and monitor a communication strategy? How to develop and establish appropriate strategic fundraising solutions? What can advocacy achieve? And how are all of these connected to each other?

Mr Gregor Henneka, UNICEF & Prof. Dr. Jurgen Seitz, Stuttgart Media University

3. Social Entrepreneurship & Business Plan

Participants will explore the relevance, feasibility and strategy for the implementation of an innovative project. Participants will not only learn to determine whether this project should be launched but also to « learn by doing » using a reflective method which allows them to apply to other opportunities they might identify in the future. Participants will be introduced to model IoOp (« Innovation by Opportunity ») that is to be used in real time to structure the contents of this innovative project and reach an Opportunity Case which addresses essential questions on management and other stakeholders. Model IoOp, subject to this training, is a reflection method that helps developers to identify factors to key success and avoid obstacles.

Prof. Raphael Cohen, University of Geneva & Katherine Milligan, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship (WEF) Director

4. Performance and Resource Management in NPOs

This ‘practitioner course’ takes the students in six thematic sessions through the resource management functions in Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs). The course examines the constituent elements and boundaries of NPOs, their embedded incentive systems, and challenges to manage NPOs for results. It also provides the students the tools and analytical framework for an assessment of a NPO of their choice. 

Achim von Heynitz, Consultant at IFAD, AfDB, ILO, OPCW

5. Sustainable Finance

Get ready to dive into the world of credit, savings and insurance in their “bottom of the pyramid” incarnation. Bring along an open mind and your critical-thinking hat, and get ready to be an active participant in an eyeopening, myth-debunking journey into one of the development sector’s fastest growing and most contentious areas. 

Prof. Philipp Krüger, Responsible Finance & Junior Chair, Swiss Finance Institute University of Geneva, GSEM, University of Geneva

6. Managerial Accounting

The course is designed to expose students to the theory and practice of selecting and analyzing financial and managerial accounting information for decision-making, planning, directing and controlling purposes. It focuses on the understanding and questioning of accounting numbers and of underlying assumptions behind those numbers, and on the need to integrate accounting reports with nonfinancial performance measures and effective tools of analysis.

Antonio Vegezzi, Capital Italia Fund and Università della Svizzera Italiana

7. Risk Management

The aim of this course is to give students a basic understanding of the principles of risk management and their application. By the end of this module, students should have a broad understanding of the risk management function in an organization, be able to define its risk and to develop a risk policy.

Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Fragnière, Geneva Business School (HEG) & Jean-Bertrand Helip, eBay

8. Global Strategy

Success in global business requires the firm to develop a strategy that creates a sustainable competitive advantage. This course presents a framework for analyzing and thinking about how a firm can do this in the global environment. The essence of the framework is that a firm needs to develop and manage its internal resources and capabilities in relation to its external environment. The course will explore the underlying principles of strategy formulation, including the analysis of industries and competition, and the appraisal of firms’ resources and capabilities, with a specific focus on international market entry decisions and expansion.

Prof. Dr. Tina Ambos, University of Geneva

Professional development

Following on logically from the business fundamentals, the Professional Development section turns to the unique world of multilateral institutions, both governmental and nongovernmental. This is the section in which students acquire the conceptual tools and how-to skills that will enable them to meet the management, communication and organizational challenges specific to the international environment.

1. Self-Leadership

This module is on one hand designed to help students to think about their career and how to make the most of their MBA. In other words, it will enable the students to take stock of their personal development so as to better manage their learning curve during after their study program. They will gain a better understanding of their own drivers and plan their future career in a positive way.

On the other hand, this module will help you to better influence your environment. Managing others in the complex environment we are in requires first to manage oneself as well as to make a personal brand from our personal assets. The students will collect several insights on how they specifically behave and will learn in what they are useful for others. This will lead them to clarify their professional identity and to focalize on the strengths which make a difference.

Jean-Yves Mercier, University of Geneva

2. Team Leadership

Nowadays, projects are achieved mainly through teamwork rather than individually. Successes are the result of combined elements, including communication and leadership skills. Many difficulties arise while working in a team, while at the same time trying to communicate, motivate, reach common goals and manage different personalities and talents. This course will give you the tools necessary to effectively lead a team and to overcome the main challenges of teamwork.

Lucette Quarteron, TEKOA

3. Change Management

The course is designed to give the participants a sound grasp of complex organizational change management and organizational design. The challenges managers are facing today in view of continuous change require them to be familiar with the basic concepts as well as the pitfalls of organizational change. As current or future managers, participants need to be able to disseminate best practices and effective strategies to plan and implement change management projects successfully. Furthermore, they are responsible for strategic resources such as knowledge in order to create and maintain a learning organization. The idea of the course is that participants will discover theories and practice by analyzing and teaching the main insights themselves. This will happen through intense case discussions that typically start with a brief theoretical introduction of Prof. Probst, followed by a case presentation of the participants that links theoretical and practical insights, a subsequent in-class discussion, and a more intensive debate in smaller focus groups.

Dr. Achim Schimtt, Professor of Strategic Management, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne

4. Conflicts Resolution in Business and Politics

Increasing interdependence within and between societies inevitably leads to conflicts of interest. A dominant way to overcome these obstacles is the new disciplines of conflict resolution and negotiation. After setting the stage with theories of conflict and cooperation, this course covers structural and dynamic issues of negotiation processes. It combines analytical and practical techniques with discussion of real-world examples from business and political conflicts at international level.

Robert Weibel, The Centre for European Negotiation and Decision-making (CENAD)

5. Effective Communication

Written Communication

Structuring business communication based on the pyramid principle: Participants will be introduced to the methodology used by leading management consultancies in management communication. with the key message being on top built on a logically sound storyline. It can be used for presentations but also emails, conference calls, phone conversations et al.Verbal Communication

Public speaking: The mere thought of it can set hearts pounding! And yet, being able to communicate one’s ideas in public is an important and sought-after skill. Communicating effectively is not only a matter of having good ideas but also having the ability to engage people. Business managers, senior executives and entrepreneurs are called on regularly to make presentations to colleagues, clients and the general public.

The goal of this course is to familiarize the students with key public speaking and presentation skills through lectures, discussions and individual work at home. Students will also have an opportunity to give a short presentation and receive personalized feedback.

Prof. John Zimmer (Verbal) & Prof.  Sebastian Schoene (Written)

6. Managing Across Cultures

To gain a sound grasp of the challenges inherent in managing across cultures. We begin by analyzing the importance and relevance of culture in management practice and then go on to explore methods for understanding culture, and develop a framework for cultural analysis (national, corporate, functional, etc.). We examine the impact of culture on strategy, structure, and human resource management, and we evaluate different approaches to managing cultural differences and examine the role of managers and organizations in a global economy.

Prof. Gunter K. Stahl, University of Vienna

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