MSB specialisation: Sustainable Business Development and Innovation

The specialisation in Sustainable Business Development and Innovation offers specialist knowledge on how supportive conditions for sustainable business development are created and evolve over time.

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Major in Sustainable Business Development and Innovation

The profile features learning about the roles local administrations, national authorities, consultancies, and diverse support organizations play therein and how measures like promoting collaboration, innovation, entrepreneurship and policy-related work. 

This profile is suitable for students who, for example, aim for careers in: industry development, regional, national or international administration, development agencies, consultancies, think tanks, chambers of commerce, innovative firms, or in research.

What is Sustainable Business Development and Innovation?

Sustainable Business Development and Innovation covers topics related to the creation and evolution of supportive conditions for sustainable businesses with a particular emphasis on the geographical dimension. The topic is rooted in the fields of regional economics, economic geography, and innovation studies.

Core is the understanding of businesses being deeply embedded into their regional and national surroundings that strongly shape their possibilities to be successful. In this sense, regions and nations are seen as systems of interrelated actors whose individual and combined performances are the outcome of processes at different administrative and spatial levels with collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship being particularly crucial ones.

Hence, understanding and managing businesses as well as regions implies looking beyond individual firms’ boundaries and considering the roles of local administrations, national authorities, consultancies, and diverse support organizations.

I am attracted to what I call the "creative" part of the industry where you challenge existing ways of thinking and working in order to create greater assets. This is what innovation is all about – solving problems by developing new things or improving existing products, processes or business models; in new or existing markets. Innovation occurs in all industries, in small and large enterprises, and is essential for survival under constantly changing market conditions.

Silje Sletten , former MSB student majoring in Sustainable Business Development and Innovation. Sletten now works as a consultant at PwC.

Meet the faculty teaching team

Professor Tom Brökel

Teaches SBDI – Introduction and Data Analytics and Research Methods

Tatiana Iakovleva

Teaches SBDI: Firm Perspective and Sustainable Entrepreneurship

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Kwadwo Atta-Owusu

Teaches SBDI: The firm perspective

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Andra Riandita

Teaches: Entrepreneurship and Business Plan, Sustainable Entrepreneurship, and Strategies for Innovation Management.

Andreea-Laura Cojocaru

Teaches SBDI: The Policy Perspective

Nina Hjertvikrem

Teaches SBDI: The Policy Perspective

Carolin Nast

Teaches SBSI: Introduction

Learning experience

Our faculty teaching business development and innovation works together as a team with the aim to deliver a program that strengthen every student conceptual base and analytical skills needed to better understand business development and innovation.

We are an international environment that is friendly and supportive. The teachers are dedicated, interested and work in the international frontier of research within the field. 

Career opportunities

We have a diverse and international student body, and this is also reflected in the jobs that they attain after completing their education. Our former students (that have completed their master education training and specialisation in Sustainable Business Development and Innovation) are now employed and engaged in a variety of roles, occupations and sectors in different countries. Some are working as consultants for private companies, such as PWC, and in regional, national or international administration, development agencies, consultancies, think thanks, in innovative firms or in research. 

Meet the students

Serinha Murgorgo

– At UiS, you work in diverse groups with other international students, allowing for more creativity from different parts of the world.

Navid Hasan

Landed an internship at Laerdal Medical

Anja Fintland

– The specialization in innovation is not available many other places and it is something that can make you more attractive on the labour market<br>.

Katrine Wangen

– Expertise in innovation is important in the business sector and can make a big difference at the start of your career.

Richard Reistad

Dreams of becoming a business developer

Silje Sletten

Got a consultancy job in PwC before completing her studies.


Semester 1 consists of three courses. One course is unique for the business development and innovation students, while two of the courses are taken by all the first-year students at the UiS Business School.

MSB305 Sustainable Business Development and Innovation Introduction (required) 

In the conventional view of economics, firms are seen as homogeneous entities that operate in isolation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Firms are in fact embedded into different layers and networks of relations with a number of different organizations across many locations. This course introduces students to how firms interact with and utilize their surroundings. It delivers a fundamental understanding of regional development and inter-organizational networks of production and learning, whereby emphasis is put on modern knowledge-based and evolutionary approaches. That is, the course presents students with the scientific underpinnings of the beyond-the-individual-firm perspective that are at the heart of modern approaches to business development. Drawing on core concepts and insights from the fields of Regional Science and Economic Geography as well as Complex System Theories, students will learn about and discuss the role played by location, networks, and system embeddedness for businesses and their development. The course thereby lays the basis for the subsequent courses: MSB416 BDI: The firm perspective and MSB335 BDI: The policy perspective. Read the full course description for MSB305.

MSB102 Business Decisions (required)

A highly interactive course where you will learn exciting business cases from different perspectives, together with students from all the specializations. Read the full course description.

MSB103 Data Analytics (required)

You learn how to extract useful information from data, as well as the programming skills using a widely popular software R. 

MSB416 Sustainable Business development and Innovation: The Firm Perspective

Innovation is increasingly important for the development and competitiveness of firms and to delivering social as well as economic values for societies. Today’s most successful firms compete mainly through innovation, whether in the form of continuous development of new products, improvement of processes or organizational forms, or identification of new markets. In order to survive in the knowledge economy, firms need strategies for what kind of innovations to pursue and how to promote innovation by designing the necessary preconditions. In this context, knowledge and understanding of innovation is an important asset. Additionally, innovations increasingly should contribute with generating social and environmental values, addressing Grand Social Challenges. Through this course, students will develop a critical perspective of the firm strategies for the management of the innovation process. Through investigation of the innovation processes in the real private or public organization during the course, students will acquire the skills to assist in managing the firm innovation process in a responsible way. Students enrolled to this course have the opportunity to work closely with InGenious cases, alternatively to cases found in their own network.

InGenious is a collaborative project of the Stavanger University with local firms that is designed in collaboration with the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU). Thus, students will get opportunity to work in close collaboration with companies in the region of Stavanger. Read full course description.

MSB335 Sustainable Business development and Innovation: The Policy Perspective

What should firms consider when making decisions on investments in innovation? And what is the role of the government and the effects of various policies and instruments on private firms' innovation processes? In this course, students will learn about business development and innovation strategies from a policy perspective. The course aims to introduce students to how national, regional, and local governments can promote innovation and business development in the economy as well as within companies. The theory, analytical tools and answers to these and other questions will be presented throughout this course and will give you a solid qualification for any future career involving investment decisions in innovative firms provide advise for policy makers. Read full course description.

10 ECTS course from another major

In your third semester, you can choose to be an exchange student at one of our international partner universities, decide among a wide range of elective courses offered at the University of Stavanger Business School, and/or combine your specialization with an internship.

Elective: MSB415 Sustainable Entrepreneurship

This course examines the factors that promote entrepreneurial success in new business ventures. The course focuses on knowledge-intensive and socially responsible entrepreneurship, since entrepreneurial ventures in high-cost economies exposed to international competition, such as the Norwegian economy, need to be based on combinations of knowledge and technologies that can provide sustained competitive advantages and be responsive to the needs of the society.

Students are expected to gain knowledge on how to start a business -– generate and evaluate ideas, assess industry systems and potential markets, identify value proposition as well as potential risks and create a valid business model for the new business. Through the course you will get an opportunity to connect with student incubator and participate in business completions. Some of our former students won up to 1 million NOK, and are running successful companies, such as Tidewave or During the course, students will get opportunity to interact with real entrepreneurs in knowledge-based firms. You can work on your own idea or join a start-up company to help them developing a valid business model.

Students enrolled to this course have the opportunity to work closely with InGenious cases, alternatively to cases found in their own network. InGenious is a collaborative project of the Stavanger University with local firms that is designed in collaboration with the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU). Thus, students will get opportunity to work in close collaboration with companies in the region of Stavanger. Full course description.

Elective: MSB340 Sustainable transitions and innovations

The global challenges we are facing including the climate crisis, green restructuring, geopolitical tensions, and the need for further digitalization, impact firms‘ financial situations, and long-term growth strategies. As a response, they need to engage in and utilize a wide range of innovation. Consequently, to succeed in contemporary business life, it is essential to understand how technological shifts and global megatrends shape firms’ strategies, investment decisions, and day-to-day operations. Thereby, it is essential to realize that these shifts and trends simultaneously represent threats and opportunities. Either way, they call on firms to contribute to the transition towards a sustainable economy by means of innovation.

This course addresses the consequences of the transition towards a more sustainable economy for the development of individual businesses and for regional as well as national economies. The course delves into the strategies for sustainable transitions, the introduction of business model innovations, and the innovation-based transformation of economic systems. It features insights into the increased internationalization of innovation processes in ‘green’ sectors such as renewable energy and sustainable food production. The course extends the traditional firm-centered perspective by stressing the embeddedness of firms into sectoral, territorial, and institutional systems, with a focus on innovation processes.

In this course, students will be exposed to various cases for which they will discuss sustainability transitions from an innovation perspective. Full course description.

Please note that you are required to take at least 10ECTS outside Business Development and Innovation.

This semester is all about writing the master’s thesis. Use all the knowledge and skills you obtained throughout the program, tackle an important question that you feel passionate about.

MSBMAS Master thesis (30 ECTS)

Why Sustainable Business Development and Innovation at UiS Business School?

This is the specialization that push you to keep creating, innovating, and developing for the societal good. 

The specialization will broaden students’ understanding of businesses embedded into an interconnected world that is increasingly and simultaneously regionalizing and globalizing. It provides students to understand processes and mechanisms beyond the boundaries of individual businesses.Upon completion, students will have acquired an excellent basis to succeed in jobs in various support agencies, public authorities, incubators, development agencies etc.

About the programme:
MSc in Business Administration

The sustainable business development and innovation specialisation is a part of the Master of Science in Business Administration programme.


For inquiries regarding admission to international Master's programmes, send an email to:

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If you have further questions, please contact our Professor, Tom Brökel

Phone: 51834499