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Module description

Strategic Consulting


Knowledge in Business Administration, further knowledge required depending on the subject.

Teaching methods Seminar
Learning target

Description and targets of the module

According to the study and examination regulations, the students must chose courses from the compulsory elective core subject catalogue with the goal to acquire 8 credit points in total.

The Compulsory elective core subject catalogue consists of three subjects:
-    Operational Consulting
-    Strategic Consulting
-    German Language.
The contents of the first two fields - Operational Consulting and Strategic Consulting - provide an attractive additional offer intending to hone and further improve the program profile. Numerous courses have – in addition to the compulsory subjects - an interdisciplinary character. This character is even more pronounced by including students from the engineering MSc program of the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences.

Even if the separation between the „operational“ and „strategic“ aspect is not always given (which is by the way also the case in practice), all subjects are with regard to content either a continuation of the subjects of the compulsory catalogue or are new topics.

German Language is the third topic of the Compulsory elective core subject catalogue and gives students the opportunity to learn the German language. This offer has been existing since the beginning of the program. The basic idea is that

o    many things in daily life (incl. becoming acquainted with the host country’s culture) are only possible with basic language skills
o    Acquisition of German language skills in order to strengthen the student’s profile

However, only 2 credit points can be acquired by choosing German language from the Compulsory elective core subject catalogue.

Duration 2 Semester
Hours per week 8.0
  • Classes:90 h
  • Individual/
    Group work:150 h

  • Workload:240 h
Credits and grades

Project work/Written exam

The elective subjects are factored in 8/90 in the final grade and are equally weighed in the module grade.

ECTS 8.0
Responsible person

Prof. Dr. Rainer Fischer

Max. participants 20
Recommended semester 1 and 2
Frequency Every sem.

The content of the module can partly be used for the University's own part-time program "General Management".

Lectures Business Development
Type Seminar
Nr. IBC-12-03
Hours per week 2.0
Lecture contents

This course will study, for the first time, the need, definition, and drivers of business development.  The course will focus on the process of business development as a whole, beginning with determining the need for growth, analysing all the steps involved and ending with the handover and organizational implications phase.

The course will be divided into five parts. The first part will serve as an introduction that will discuss the imperatives, challenges, and tracks and directions of growth, through illustrating several models, in addition to laying the foundation of the remaining structure of the course, such as discussing the definition of BD, the scope, limits and handover. The second part will be devoted to the analysis and classification of the different models of BD. Part 3 will concentrate on illustrating the different tracks of growth, such as mergers, acquisitions, outsourcing and so forth. The following part will examine the planning process, ending with the handover and challenges involved throughout the way. The final part will be dedicated to understanding the organizational implications of BD, in terms of identifying and using company resources.


1.    Discuss the business environment and the need for development through illustrating the different BD models

2.    Define BD and discuss the delicate position of BD as the link between the strategic and operational levels

3.    Understand strategy decoding and the use of balanced score cards

4.    Discuss BD external and internal drivers

5.    Understand the different BD directions; market development, product development, diversification, and integration.

6.    Identify the key growth tracks and the conditions for using each.

7.    Master the mechanics of building a business case.

8.    Appreciate the different challenges involved during the implementation and handover phases

9.    Learning the process and perils of sharing company resources, whether financial or operational


Ahmed Taher and Hatem ElZuhairy, Business Development: Strategic Growth Management, EduGate 2014. 

The text and cases will be available as a reading package to be available at the University Bookstore.

Type Seminar
Nr. IBC-12-10
Hours per week 2.0
Lecture contents

Definition: "Benchmarking is a practical tool for improving performance by learning from best practices and the processes by which they are achieved" (Benchmarking in Europe).
Benchmarking - as a strategic management tool - involves looking inward and outward (outside your own company, organisation, industry, region or country) to examine how others achieve their performance levels and to understand the processes they use. In this way benchmarking helps to explain the processes behind excellent performance. When the lessons learnt from a benchmarking exercise are applied appropriately, they facilitate improved performance in critical functions within an organisation or in key areas of the business environment.
Application of benchmarking involves four basic steps:
1) Understand in detail the key processes of an organisation
2) Analyse the processes of others internal or external
3) Compare your own performance with that of others
4) Implement the steps necessary to close the gap.

The course gives an overview of the theories on the benchmarking topic backed up by practical commentary based on experience of consulting and on teaching management issues. Through small case studies, the major process steps of the benchmarking technique can be extracted leading to a practical guideline for benchmarking projects.
Having the theoretical explanation of Benchmarking and the practical approach applied will finally end in useful check-lists and forms helping the student to do a benchmarking project on their own. Learning in small groups how to conduct a process benchmarking project by getting experience with operational management tools like Process Mapping and Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) will provide the students with the skill set needed to succeed and to achieve the goals set in benchmarking projects, besides getting an insight into writing a report for the executive management level.


- Bendell, Tony et al (1997). The Benchmarking Workout, Pearson Education Ltd, Harlow, UK
- Bendell, Tony et al. (1993). Benchmarking for Competitive Advantage, Financial Times/Pitman Publishing
- Mitchell, Anthony (1994). The Quality Pocketbook, Management Pocketbooks
- Bicheno, John. (1998). The Quality 60, PICSIE Books, Buckingham

Management of Consultancies
Type Seminar
Nr. IBC-12-04
Hours per week 2.0
Lecture contents

The focus of this lesson is kept on the consulting company itself. The aspects which will be covered are:

A Positioning of the professional consultancy
- Strategic options:
o focus on problem and/or industry branches and/or location
o specialism vs. generalism
o standardised problem solving vs. customer tailored consulting
o international vs. local
o partner oriented structure vs. hierarchical structure
- Developping its strategy:
o Who are the clients? What are their needs?
o Competitor analysis
o What can we offer?, What do we know? Strenght and weaknesses
o Creating a competitive advantage: strategic fit of clients needs and own know-how, strengths and consulting products
- Marketing to existing and new clients:
o broadcasting tactics
o principals of professional consulting marketing

B The Consulting Process
- relationship management and client contact
- preproposal (background research, meeting with client, etc.) and proposal
excursus: basic legal aspects (e.g. contract of work and labour or contract of services)
- managing the consulting project/engagement (pre-engagement activities, engagement planning, engagement management and control, client file, engagement close-out)
- quality management (e.g. client satisfaction, engagement management and review)

C Leadership, management and organisational aspects
- Business basics: Utilisation and realization as the two main figures for a consulting company
- Partner structure: different role of partners (relationship management, client contact, project management)
- Partner structure: partners, senior and junior consultants;
- developing a corporate culture; ethics
- fees and fee-sharing, leverage effect
- Careers: performance appraisal, career development, objective setting
- Incentives model and bonus guidelines
- What makes a good consultant?
- Know-How development




Developing an expertise in managing a professional consulting company based upon a deeper insight to

-          basic strategic options

-          the procedural method of developing a strategy for a consulting company

-          the ratios which are essential for managing a consulting company

-          the relevant leadership, management and organisational aspects



Financial Accounting and Reporting II
Type Seminar
Nr. IBC-12-07
Hours per week 2.0
Lecture contents

Based on the knowledge of Financial Reporting I, the students will learn how to interpret and adopt a variety of Financial Reporting instruments and understand the Interrelations between them. The data underlying the analyses is created using a business simulation.

This business simulation is a computer-based case study to give students real business experience and simulate the cross-functional nature of business within a competitive market place.

Students are divided into teams and assigned the task of running a company, competing within a dynamic and competitive environment against other student-run firms. In the role as company co-managers students will need to formulate their strategy, handle financial reports, analyze market research and use forecasting tools. As each year progresses students must analyze the changing market place, understand their customers' needs and make managerial decisions relating to marketing mix, purchase, product development, production capacity and amount as well as finance for the coming year. As each year progresses, the number and complexity of decisions to be taken will increase. The challenge is to craft and execute a competitive strategy that results in good financial performance and outlook against competitors.

Theoretical learning sessions will be integrated into the business simulation to ensure students' progress in learning. The following topics will be covered on the basis of this experiential learning course:

  • Strategy and target planning
  • Sales planning
  • Marketing mix (price, product, distribution and communication politics)
  • Capacity planning and budgeting
  • Capital budgeting
  • Contribution costing
  • Income statements
  • Financial statements.

Students will gain practice in making a variety of different business decisions under circumstances that mirror real-world competitive conditions. They will be challenged to make decisions within their management team despite forecast uncertainty and time pressure.

All these skills have to be reflected to the respective reporting instruments.


Soft Skills:

  • Improve diversity, in particular by working in international, multi-ethnic teams to achieve
    measurable results
  • Improve presentation skills by repeatedly presenting the results of group assignments.
  • Improve self-study ability.

Hard Skills:

  • Achieving a general understanding of Financial Accounting, the accounting equation, the double
    entry bookkeeping system and the interrelations between internal and external Accounting.
  • Achieving a deeper insight into Financial Accounting, International Financial Reporting Standard
    and the presentation of Financial Statements.

·         Acquiring the qualification to evaluate the impact of the strategic decision making on the fiscal year


In-class materials, handouts and script.
Annual Reports
Thilo Seyfriedt: IFRS@Examples, 2nd Edition, Createspace, 2013.

Risk Management
Type Seminar
Nr. IBC-12-06
Hours per week 2.0
Lecture contents

Aspects of Integrated Management Systems and the correlation of different views:

  • Business Process Management
  • Environmental Safety Management
  • Financial Management
  • Risk Management
  • Knowledge Management

• Innovation Management


Aspects of Risk Management:

  • Difference between risk management of individuals and organizations
  • Event-driven definitions of risk management: Market risk, liquidity risk, credit risk, operational risk, legal risk etc.
  • Managing risks: Strategies for managing different types of risks

• Analyzing risks at all steps in the physical supply chain in industrial and service organizations


Further key words: Balanced Score Card (BSC), Performance Measurement, Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Benchmarking.



Students will build up an expertise in fundamental principles and aspects of realizing an integrated management system considering aspects like process management, environmental safety management and risk management.

They will understand that risk management is considering a wide range of aspects and is directly linked with other management views like e.g. process, quality and knowledge management.

A goal but also a challenge for the students is to cover this topic with students coming from other Master programs (which are driven by engineering and IT aspects). This requires to deal with other ´mentalities'.


Operations and Process Management; Nigel Slack et al.; Prentice Hall, 2008.

The Risk Management Process - Business Strategy and Tactics; Christopher L. Culp; John Wiley & Sons, 2001.

Operations Management; Nigel Slack et al.; Prentice Hall, 2001.

The Balanced Scorecard - Translating Strategy into Action; Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton; McGraw-Hill Harvard Business School Press, 1996.

Further references will be mentioned during the seminar

Turnaround Management II
Type Seminar
Nr. IBC-12-05
Hours per week 2.0
Lecture contents

Some relevant aspects of turnaround projects are discussed in detail from the consultant's point of view:

• Elaborating the detailed Turnaround Concept and the Business Plan
• Managing the restructuring process
• Negotiating the reorganization with the various participants and stakeholders
• Introducing and maintaining an appropriate controlling process for the restructuring phase

In section "Turnaround Concept and Business Plan" the following questions will be answered:
• How to get the basic data?
• How to quantify means and measures?
• How to create cash forecasts?
• How to ensure error free business plans with respect to the p&l-account, cash forecasts and the future balance sheets?

In section "Managing the restructuring process" we will talk about typical restructuring measures and typical problems arising, e.g. elimination of business fields, reducing staff, reducing inventory.

As many participants both internal and external ones are involved in the restructuring process, such as banks, suppliers, supplier's credit insurances, trade unions, competitors, investors etc. we will discuss their various points of interests and the roles they are playing in the process. The students will also get an understanding of interacting with different consultants acting on behalf of the various stakeholders.

Controlling procedures in a turn around situation will differ from the ones maintained in typical going concern organizations. In particular controlling cash flows and liquidity will become a crucial issue in the controlling environment.

All these aspects will be discussed based upon real cases. The students will create programs, spreadsheets etc. which can be used within turnaround projects.


Handout and cases.

Board of Directors
Type Seminar
Nr. IBC-12-02
Hours per week 2.0
Lecture contents

The concept of the (board) game is that students will "be in charge" for an already existing company which is producing machine tools. They act as members of the management board. In other words:

-          a strategic concept - based upon the current entrepreneurial situation which is close to bankruptcy - has to be developed (which will be realized during the coming 5 business years)

-          this concept has to be transferred to the functional areas and its decision-making

-          the companies have to be managed by using common ratios.

Additionally aspects of team management are also covered in context of the business game.

Students experience and understand - out of the point of view of managers - "handling" a company - in the field of business administration as well as in the wide range of leadership.



Developing an expertise in strategic management based upon a deeper insight to

-          the necessity of developing long term planings & strategies

-          the existing interdependencies between functional areas

-          the cause and effect relationships of decision making

-          the importance of using the 'right' ratios.



Handout (covering the input of topics e.g. Marketing, Cost Accounting, Investment, Finance, P&L and Value Based Management).

Management of Start-ups
Type Seminar
Nr. IBC-12-08
Hours per week 2.0
Lecture contents

In context of the Business Game the student teams act as founders. They set up a small business producing and selling bicycles. During the Startup Simulation the teams have to cover all key steps: starting from set-up process, the presentation of the business idea, the preparation of a business plan up to the market introduction and the business activities.


An Introduction to Business and Business Planning, Dr. Jay A. Dewhurst, bookboon, 1st edition, 2014.

Management Basics, Susan Quinn, bookboon, 1st edition, 2010.

My Career Guide, Starting your own Business, Marjorie Mensink, bookboon, 1st edition, 2013.

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