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Luxemburger Wort, May 2010

Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Who is the programme for and what will the programme offer you?

The programme is a two-year full-time Master’s degree, which is targeted at:

1.   Bachelor graduates in any discipline from Luxembourg and the Grande Région wishing to develop their entrepreneurial/innovation skills and knowledge

2.   Graduates from Europe in any discipline looking to undertake a specific masters degree in entrepreneurship/innovation

3.   Graduates and young professionals from non-Europe, who, in addition to the education and degree offered by the MEI, seek exposure to the infrastructure for entrepreneurship, internships and job opportunities that Luxembourg has to offer

4.   Professional people or other practitioners who intend to start a business and want to learn the skills involved in this

The key objectives of the Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation are to:

1) Extend knowledge and understanding of the foundational principles of new venture creation and business start up in different societal contexts (social, corporate, ‘for profit’ etc.). Students will be able to critically assess and extend their entrepreneurial skills through direct interaction with colleagues/tutors on the course as well as entrepreneurs and local companies.

2) Develop critical, analytical and problem-solving skills. Students will learn how to recognise, analyse and offer solutions to innovation, entrepreneurial and strategic management issues in different organizational settings, using appropriate conceptual tools and theoretical frameworks.

3) Enable the ability to understand the components of a business plan and to appreciate different business and financial models as well as constructing a detailed financial and marketing plan.

4) Advance employability skills in team working, presentation and leadership as well as facilitating inter-cultural communication.  Students will learn how to convey their ideas, express their creativity and synthesise their thinking/knowledge both verbally and in written format. They will hone their presentation skills, learn about negotiation skills and project management.

5) Provide an understanding of the local regulatory, tax and legal issues involved when starting a new venture and access to a wide set of business networks in Luxembourg economy.

Employment opportunities:

Normally, candidates who complete the programme find employment opportunities in areas of innovation management/small business management/start-ups/entrepreneurial contexts or corporate contexts and the public sector.

Schematic description of the programme

The program is on a full-time basis. It is not offered on part-time or online.

In year One, the curriculum is divided into five study blocks which are designed to cover all the technical and practical aspects required when starting a new venture (whether a social, business, or corporate venture) as well as some foundational theoretical issues/frameworks:

1.         New Venture planning

2.         Innovation Management

3.         Financial Issues for entrepreneurial ventures

4.         Marketing and new venture creation

5.         Business and project management skills

Blocks 1 and 2 are the core blocks of the course and run across semesters one and two. New venture planning covers topics such as: business models/processes, entrepreneurial behaviours, e-business/ICT and franchising. Innovation management includes: general processes and theories central to the management of innovation in different organizational contexts as well as new product design material and patents and intellectual property.

Blocks 3 and 4 focus on the financial and marketing aspects central to entrepreneurship and innovation. These cover marketing/sales issues for entrepreneurial and small companies, as well as market research and advanced excel for marketing and strategic data analysis. In the finance block, topics addressed are financial accounting, budgeting, overhead costs as well as general finance issues (i.e. raising start-up capital, crowd funding), venture financing, and some basic concepts of corporate finance.

Block 5 includes employability and team working skills such as project management skills, founding a team/self-awareness, intercultural forms of communication and negotiation skills.  Also within this block, presentation skills and CV development are included. Subject to availability, this block will include the opportunity to work unpaid within a local start up company for approximately 4-6 weeks to see at first hand life in a start up business situation and to put into practice some of the knowledge/skills developed through the course.

In year two, there will also be five study blocks.

1.         Advanced entrepreneurship

2.         Advanced Innovation and the Innovation Audit

3.         Strategic Management

4.         Advanced small business management and leadership

5.         Research methodology and thesis

These study blocks build upon the topics covered in year one but deepen and advance how these subjects are addressed. For example, in Advanced Entrepreneurship, different contexts and aspects of entrepreneurship are covered that go beyond the ‘business planning’ approach to entrepreneurship covered in year one. Here, social, corporate and international entrepreneurship are addressed as well as a critical review of different eco-support systems for entrepreneurship in different economies. 

In Advanced Innovation, students will participate in a detailed audit of a local company spending time in the companies to assess and audit their innovation capacities.  In the third block, the strategic aspects of management are addressed and in the fourth a particular focus on small business management, growth, leadership including human resource issues are covered. 

Finally, in block five, research skills are advanced from the market research course covered in year one. Here, a more detailed coverage of different methodologies and ways of collecting and analyzing research data are discussed. 

A final report or thesis will be the final output of the fourth semester. For the thesis work, students have three types of theses or project work to choose from: (1) an individual business idea/plan/business model; (2) a thesis based on a topic associated with the scholarly fields of entrepreneurship or innovation (3) or, the thesis can be based on the operations of the company with whom the internship is taking place. To facilitate this final thesis work, students will undertake an internship in the final semester or work on their individual business idea/plan. In the case that students choose to work on their individual business plan, they will usually be linked to The Impactory to facilitate their business idea development. This project work will be for a minimum of 3 months up to 6 months.

Mode of delivery

This is participative and interactive. In all courses there is a balance between theory and practice (we use cases from businesses, talks by business owners and entrepreneurs, visits to incubators, the Chamber of Commerce or companies). In some courses, we involve practitioners drawn from local business community.

In the second year there is more reflective and theoretical discussion about organizational practices (and the meaning/implications of, for example, entrepreneurship for society and the role of innovation in the wider economy). This means that students are stretched to think critically about these processes rather than merely taking them for granted as accepted ways of thinking or organizing. 

Study abroad option

In semester three, students have the option to study abroad during which they can take relevant courses at partner institutions in different international environments (NB: the particular partners are still being developed).