BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING AND

PURCHASING

About the programme
Language: English  (See language requirements)  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: August / September (no winter intake)

Introduction

The MSc in Economics and Business Administration - Business-to-Business Marketing and Purchasing focuses on the managerial challenges related to operating in industrial markets. It prepares students for a wide range of careers, mainly in the private sector. Students on the programme gain skills in areas such as business-to-business marketing and strategy, purchasing management, relationship management, innovation, pricing, and the regulation of cooperation in business markets. 

Deep understanding of business markets

Firms operating in business markets cater to the needs of other firms rather than private households, and in so doing they face specific challenges and opportunities. Business-to-business activities constitute the main part of any developed economy, and managers who are able to understand, develop and manage such activities – upstream as well as downstream – are an important asset to firms.

The first semester of the programme provides students with a deep understanding of how business markets work through courses in buyer– supplier relationships and networks as well as the innovation and development of these relationships. The prerequisite courses, which provide students with a solid academic foundation and prepare them for the specialisation courses of the second semester, also include general marketing theory and research methods. The specialisation courses that follow cover topics such as business-to-business purchasing management, business-to-business sales and marketing management, pricing, and the regulation of marketing and purchasing cooperation.

Admission Requirements

Students that hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Business Administration (HA) or variants hereof from Aarhus University, can pursue direct admission to MSc programmes in Economics and Business Administration after they complete their Bachelor’s degree programme. Please note that there are specific requirements to the composition of the electives for the Danish Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Commercial Law.

Students holding a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (HD) can also pursue admission to the MSc programmes in Economics and Business Administration. However, it is required that you complete supplementary courses corresponding to 20 ECTS. For information on which supplementary courses you should take please check the overview of supplementary courses for HD (available only in Danish).    

 

Students that hold a degree from another university

If you hold a degree from another university, you can have your qualifications assessed by Aarhus University, Admission in order to find out if you meet the admission requirements. Please contact ma.admission@au.dk for further information. You can receive a pre-assessment between 1 September and 1 December. The assessment will prioritize the sufficient content of the following subjects and ECTS-points, cf. below.

Quantitative and Qualitative Methods

15 ECTS

Managerial economics and Operations Management

15 ECTS

Marketing

7,5 ECTS

Finance and Accounting

15 ECTS

Organisation-  and Leadership Theory

7,5 ECTS

Microeconomics

5 ECTS

Additional ECTS points within the abovementioned areas

15 ECTS

Total ECTS within Economics and Business Administration

80 ECTS

Language Requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency


Programme Structure

ACADEMIC REGULATIONS

Below is an outline of the courses:


PREREQUISITE COURSES

Buyer-Supplier Relationships and Networks (10 ECTS)
Companies engage in a wide variety of buyer-supplier exchanges, either as supplier or as buyer. This course provides students with an understanding of the social characteristics of buyer-supplier relationships, allowing them to manage these relationships for improved value creation. In addition, the course focuses on how the network context affects the buyer-supplier relationship. 

Marketing Theory (5 ECTS)
The Marketing theory course enables students to understand developments and perspectives within the marketing discipline, and to identify marketing concepts and theories relevant for the analysis and solution of marketing problems at hand. Also, the course relates to ethical issues and to the interests of different stakeholders.

Innovation in Buyer-Supplier Relationships (5 ECTS)
Many firms rely on external knowledge inputs and collaborate with external partners such as suppliers and customers when developing new products and services. Collaboration with external partners around innovation involves complex knowledge transfer processes and creates a number of managerial challenges. This course addresses the role of suppliers and customers in the innovation and product development activities of firms. Students will acquire the skills and competences needed to analyze and work with the organization and management of product and service development processes involving suppliers and customers.

Business-to-Business Research Methods (10 ECTS)
The purpose of the course in research methods is to give students practical knowledge and mastery of standard methods used in B2B marketing research. This involves knowledge of the research process beginning with the design and choice of research question, selection of data, analysis of data, and reporting of data. The course covers qualitative as well as quantitative research methods.

 

SPECIALISATION COURSES 

Business-to-Business Purchasing Management (10 ECTS)
Companies spend as much as 70-80% of their finances on buying goods, services and knowledge from a global portfolio of suppliers. B2B purchasing management deals with how this task is managed, including developing a purchasing strategy and selecting the right suppliers, evaluating and developing suppliers’ performance and value creation, and coordinating and organizing the purchasing task internally in the buying company.

Business-to-Business Sales and Marketing Strategy (10 ECTS)
Firms operating in Business-to-Business (BtB) environments are facing growing complexity in their markets, and are therefore susceptible to some difficult challenges when selling and marketing their offerings. BtB firms are traditionally characterized by long reaction times due to (1) asset specificity in their production, (2) long-term supplier/customer relationships, (3) long time-to-market when innovating, (4) limited market orientation due to their upstream supply-chain positioning and (5) relatively long time horizons when planning. These characteristics impose business development challenges on managers by forcing them to rethink market definitions and how customer value is produced, delivered and capitalized on. The course in BtB sales and marketing strategy is positioned within these evolving challenges and grounded in classic and modern literature on customer value generation in a strategic, tactical and operational sales/marketing perspective.

Pricing Strategy (5 ECTS)
Pricing strategy provides an introduction to the firm’s pricing problem and provides practical techniques to understanding price setting in the context of the firm’s customers, costs, and competition.

Regulating Marketing and Purchasing Cooperation (5 ECTS)
In the course "Regulation of marketing and purchasing cooperation" the most important regulatory areas covering the cooperation between private enterprises on marketing and purchasing will be presented. The most relevant issues are competition law, intellectual property law (IP) and contract law. The main focus will be on agreements restricting competition (competition law), including rules on agreements between competitors as well as non-competitors. Within contract law the focus will be on the basic foundation of entering into cooperation contracts primarily according to rules for international contracts. In relation to intellectual property law the focus will be partly on the introduction of relevant IP issues (e.g. patents), and partly on the possibilities of transfer of IP rights.    


In the third semester, you can choose elective courses within your areas of interest. The courses can be taken either at Aarhus BSS during the semester, at the AU Summer University or at one of our more than 300 partner universities abroad. You can also participate in internship programmes either in Denmark or abroad.


The fourth semester is devoted to the Master's thesis. You may freely choose the topic of the thesis and thereby get a chance to concentrate on and specialise in a specific field of interest. The thesis may be written in collaboration with another student or it may be the result of your individual effort. When the thesis has been submitted, it is defended before the academic advisor as well as an external examiner.

Student Life

Learning in an International Context

At Aarhus BSS, we conduct research at the highest academic level.

All researchers employed are engaged in research projects covering a wide range of different subjects and focusing on knowledge and skills considered essential for professional business activities in the global marketplace. All faculty have both research and teaching responsibilities, which means that our teaching is continually based on the latest research results.

Aarhus BSS is very internationally oriented. The broad scope of our research activities and educational programmes enable us to attract researchers, teachers, and students from all over the world, and this creates an international environment for research and learning in which academic views are exchanged, experiences are gathered and friendships are formed.

Aarhus University is a leading university in Denmark in building student exchange opportunities. The university encourages all students to spend time studying abroad. Every year, more than 700 students from Aarhus BSS go abroad to participate in exchange programmes around the world at our more than 300 partner universities. About the same number of students from all over the world come to participate in the exchange programme in Aarhus, and this contributes to a truly international learning atmosphere.

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Career

The programme’s focus on upstream as well as downstream activities means that students will gain a deep knowledge not only of sales/marketing and purchasing, but also of how to develop and manage relationships with customers as well as suppliers. This dual understanding makes graduates perfect for job positions such as key account manager (on the selling side) or category manager (on the buying side) – positions that hold many future career possibilities. Over time, graduates may develop careers within sales and marketing or purchasing, or they may choose to alternate between the two. With their knowledge and understanding of the many relationships between the firm and its various stakeholders, graduates will be well suited to a range of general management positions.

 

 

At VELUX, candidates with a strong understanding of business markets and the ability to handle ambiquity and complexity are in high demand. As we continue our development as a global matrix organisation, we look for talents with knowledge of individual disciplines such as purchasing and marketing. At the same time, market demands and technological developments make it increasingly important for our employees to know how to work together with other business functions and how to build strong partnerships with customers and suppliers. For us, a degree programme with this focus is highly relevant.

CONNIE C. STANIOK 
Senior Director Global HR Development, VELUX