Universiteit Leiden

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Science, Business, and Innovation

About this minor

Why opt for this minor?

This minor emphasises interactive teaching that connects with management practice. This means opportunities for students to learn through real-life business case discussions and guest speakers. Upon finishing this minor, you will have developed:

  • basic knowledge of business administration with focus on issues in the development of research-driven projects;
  • insights into the relationships between science, research and business;
  • views on career perspectives on the interface of science and business;
  • skills in applying concepts and theories that are of importance in developing strategic, marketing, project management and financial aspects of research-driven entrepreneurship;
  • experience with recognizing and assessing business opportunities and innovation processes.

Course Description

This course focuses on a critical managerial challenge; How to deal with competition and create a sustainable competitive advantage for your organization in the marketplace. Through lectures, case study seminars, readings, and group assignments, students learn about foundational theories and frameworks in strategy. Students learn to use these theories and frameworks to answer questions such as: Why are some firms more successful than other firms in a specific industry? How do I assess the competitive advantage a firm has over other firms in a market? How can managers harness industry dynamics to strengthen a firm’s competitive advantage? What is the role of organisational design in a firm’s competitive advantage? And what are the challenges associated with capitalising on intellectual assets (as opposed to physical assets)?

This course is intended for anyone interested in working in industry as an entrepreneur, manager, consultant, analyst, or investor. Moreover, the course will provide an analytical background for scientists, engineers and medical doctors with an interest in understanding industrial aspects of their academic work. The course emphasises interactive teaching that focuses on real-life case studies.

Marketing is a multi-disciplinary subject that involves business management, economics, statistics, sociology and psychology. This course focuses on crucial issues and developments in marketing practices and marketing research.

The advent of digital media and information technology extended the marketing domain and changed the relationships and the communication between organizations and individuals. Organizations must be adaptive and continually updating the marketing capabilities in order to stay competitive. Yet, the fundamental concepts and frameworks as defined by marketing gurus like Philip Kotler still stand and need to be understood by marketing scholars and industry practitioners.

We explore and develop marketing strategies using the case study method, which engages students in the simulation of managerial decision-making processes. The course is useful to anyone who is working in a business environment, or for an non-governmental organization; for those who may wish to merge backgrounds in science, technology, medical areas, or academia, and a business career; and for those who seek bridges of understanding between their future careers and the world of business.

Financial Management is an introductory course integrating concepts of corporate finance with investments and the money/capital markets. Topics include the role of money in the economy; the time value of money; financial analysis and planning; security valuation and capital market theory, capital budgeting; short- and long-term financing; and working capital management. Value maximization and risk/return trade-offs in financial decision making are employed as integrative concepts throughout the course.

This course is intended for anyone interested in decisions which are made based on financial analysis, applying the input-process-output model of Situation- Challenges-Value Proposition.

Operations Management (OM) is concerned with planning, organizing, managing, controlling and supervising the entire production process which converts inputs, such as labor and energy, into outputs, such as goods and services. OM plays a vital role in any type of business. It involves similar management for every industry or business irrespective of their nature of the operation. It is the management of the various business activities that take place within an organization and contributes in making the products to align with customer’s requirements. Under OM, there is the optimum utilization of resources leading to enormous profits of the organization.

‘Life's too short to build something nobody wants’ Ash Maurya
This course teaches you how to turn ideas, visions, broad and sweeping goals into a company. Using recent insights in entrepreneurial and innovation driven organisations, the course will guide you in developing an enterprise ‘the start-up way’.
Why ‘developing an enterprise’? We are in favour of learning by doing, so we want to make this course very practical: with a group you will generate a business model for an enterprise that you might actually want to establish in real life. Creating a real company is not mandatory within this course, but it has been known to happen.
Why ‘the start-up way’? The definitions of what a start-up is (there are many) often contain texts like ‘planning to grow fast’, ‘innovative products/services’, ‘disrupt a market’. You need not develop an innovative, disruptive start-up within this course, but we do want to use the start-up way of working as it allows for iteration, experimentation and fast learning. This is a very practical course with an emphasis on learning by doing. And the learning by doing is mostly done through group work.
The course will be of interest to those who are considering establishing their own enterprise and to those that want to know more about the start-up approach in general.

In the quest for sustainable competitive advantage, companies are increasingly finding out that lower costs, higher quality, and better customer service are not sufficient. In times of ongoing globalization and tremendous market and technological change, they must be faster, more agile, and more innovative in order to obtain their competitive edge. In short, companies must be more entrepreneurial.

Entrepreneurial processes are not limited to the domain of independent new ventures, but increasingly also recognized as essential to the long-term viability of already existing organizations. Corporate entrepreneurship (CE) involves the study of entrepreneurial processes and principles as applied within established organizations. It denotes the ability to facilitate and to stimulate the positive features of small firms into larger, established organizations. CE characterizes a new management philosophy that promotes strategic flexibility, agility, creativity, and continuous innovation with the aim of transforming routine employees into intrapreneurs.

In this course we will explore the practices and challenges presented to established companies engaging in CE. It reviews how companies can rely on strategic innovation to continuously renew themselves (i.e. their products or services), their markets, or their industries. As the link between innovation, entrepreneurship and strategic growth has become centrally proclaimed and emphasized, this course is further designed to provide you with a basic understanding of how innovative activities of a company are managed. Companies must do so, because new products based on innovation in a Schumpeterian sense are essential for increased profitability and growth.

We will deal with both the theoretical and practical meaning of CE. Several theoretical perspectives will be discussed, emphasizing both the necessary antecedents of CE and the constraints working against such entrepreneurial behavior. On a practical side, the course will provide you with tools to formulate corporate strategies and to create organizational structures that foster CE. The course is characterized by a multidisciplinary approach as it combines insights from economics, entrepreneurship research, strategic management, psychology, and sociology.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the ways organizations are performing and making decisions. This course analyzes relevant aspects of AI and how AI influences firms decisions and stakeholders. This course introduces some of the most popular AI tools, focusing on these methods' intuitions and exploring their business applications to real-life business cases. This course adopts a hands-on approach in implementing these AI tools using Python, a powerful programming language used widely to tackle and solve machine learning problems. To sum, the course helps students to understand, analyze, and tackle business problems using AI tools.

Note: this course uses Python as the coding language for all the sessions, the group project, and the individual assignment. Therefore, completing the course requires a knowledge of Python. The course does not explicitly teach how to code in Python; rather, it focuses on applying AI techniques to business problems, using Python. The course does not require students to know Python ahead of time, but the students need to learn this language during the class — there will be ample learning resources. This might be an immense effort for people who don't have any coding experience.

Minor Structure

The programme for the 30 EC SBI minor consists of basic courses in management and entrepreneurship & innovation. The management courses (15 EC) familiarize students with the basic managerial toolbox and provide an introduction to key concepts and frameworks across the following management subfields: strategy, marketing, finance, and technology & operations management. These courses are offered during the first block of the semester.
The entrepreneurship courses (15 EC) familiarize students with the basic ‘entrepreneurial toolbox’ and covers 1) how to frame, find and assess entrepreneurial opportunities for new technology ventures; 2) the ins and outs of the entrepreneurial process of creating technology-based companies; and 3) how to write a business plan for a technology start-up. These courses are offered during the second block of the semester.

Management courses

Course EC
Foundations of Financial Management 4
Technology and Operations Management


Innovation & Entrepreneurship courses

Course EC
Entrepreneurial Opportunities 5
Corporate Entrepreneurship 5
AI for Business 5

All courses are level 300.

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