Structure of the specialisation

Structure of the specialisation

The Executive MBA with specialisation in Technology and Innovation of Finance is a unique interdisciplinary programme that draws on the most recent research from fields such as finance, strategy, management, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, economics and marketing.

  • Goals for the programme

    Goals for the programme

    The specialisation in Technology and Innovation of Finance is a unique interdisciplinary study that draws on the most recent research from fields such as finance, strategy, management, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, economics and marketing. 

    The specialisation is intended to 
    • give participants the knowledge, tools and skills they need to understand the challenges and opportunities that enterprises face in the wake of the ongoing fintech revolution. Participants learn how to use this knowledge to make better decisions that increase the probability of their enterprises succeeding
    • enable participants to acquire knowledge about the most important new technologies and regulations so that they can communicate with professionals about these topics and, most importantly, know what implications they have for competition and strategy
    • give participants up-to-date and relevant expertise at a high academic level and build networks for learning and further development both in and outside the teaching situation.
    A diverse group of participants with skills and backgrounds that complement each other facilitates learning and gives a variety of perspectives on business problems. This network element is an important learning factor in itself, both during the specialisation and after its completion. 
  • Learning outcome

    Learning outcome

    After completing the specialisation, candidates are expected to have achieved the following overall learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:
     

    Knowledge

     
    The candidate has
     
    • advanced knowledge of financial factors relating to competition and financial markets.
    • in-depth understanding of how changes in technologies, innovation and regulatory frameworks shape industries, and the implications of this for strategy and management.
    • in-depth understanding of important relevant topics in the fields of economics, management, strategy, marketing, finance and innovation.
    • in-depth knowledge of the most important technologies, business models and regulatory frameworks associated with what is called the fintech revolution and an understanding of what implications they have for enterprises' competitiveness.
     

    Skills

     
    The candidate is capable of
     
    • conducting independent analysis in order to understand the impact of external changes in technology and regulatory framework on his/her industry and the enterprise's competitiveness.
    • using analysis tools to analyse and critically assess different information sources to make more well-informed and better decisions and formulate arguments.
    • using general management tools to motivate other people in the organisation to contribute to increased value creation and implement strategic decisions.
    • communicating effectively with technology experts in order to assess the strategic value of technologies, while candidates with a background in technology can communicate effectively with management and with finance and business experts.
    • integrating knowledge from several fields in order to understand the opportunities and challenges facing an enterprise or industry during periods of technological discontinuity.
     

    General competence

     
    The candidate
     
    • has a thorough understanding of fundamental mechanisms and tools.
    • is capable of applying knowledge and skills to new issues.
    • is capable of reflecting on ethical issues in his/her own organisation.
    • is capable of communicating extensive independent work in writing and orally using language that is appropriate to the field in question.
    • is capable of contributing to fresh thinking and innovation processes 
  • Assessment

    Assessment

    Students are assessed individually and in groups during the programme. There is group work in connection with the master's thesis, and individual assessment of individual home exams and assessment reports on draft chapters from other group's master's thesis.

    • Individual home exam (grade scale A–F): The students sit an individual home exam at the end of each semester where they are tested on the theories and topics covered in each module. NHH’s grade scale goes from A to F, with A being the best grade and E being the lowest pass grade.
    • Master’s thesis (pass/fail) Throughout the programme, the students will work on a written work (independent work) worth a total of 30 credits. The independent work should demonstrate understanding, reflection and maturation. Academic supervision is available to students throughout the programme.

      For each module, students must carry out an analysis in which they apply the skills they have acquired and the topics dealt with in the module. The students are informed of the topic(s) for each module at the beginning of the semester and submit a finished draft by the end of the semester. The draft is then peer-reviewed by four other students who are not members of the same group (see below). At the end of the semester, each group incorporates input from the peer review by other students into their chapter draft and submits the chapter for academic assessment. At the end of the programme, the four chapters are brought together to form a single document: the master's thesis. 
    • Individual peer review by fellow students (pass/fail): At the end of each semester, each of the course participants must write an individual assessment of a draft chapter from another group's master's thesis. The assessments will be subject to academic assessment. 

    Read NHH's Regulations for Executive studies (in Norwegian)

  • Programme organization

    Programme organization

    The specialisation is an experience-based part time study (90 ECTS). It is taught as a part-time course of study over a continuous period of two years and includes physical sessions as well as a series of digital seminars. The specialisation includes an independent work worth 30 credits (the master's thesis), which is written under academic supervision.

    The specialisation consists of four subject modules, each with a scope of 22.5 credits. Each module consists of four physical sessions, and each semester also contains a series of three digital three-hour seminars.

    Most of the teaching will take place in the Oslo area, but some sessions will be held at NHH in Bergen. The physical sessions last for three whole days (Thursday–Saturday). The specialisation also includes two study trips to cooperating educational institutions abroad. The duration of the study trips is four or five days each.

  • Module 1: The Big Picture

    Module 1: The Big Picture

    Module one focuses on the broader implications of what is known as the fintech revolution and is structured around questions such as ‘What is fintech?’, ‘What are the most important new technologies, regulatory frameworks and business models?’, and ‘What are the broad strategic implications of these changes?’ The module consists of three sessions that deal with different aspects of these questions, a fourth session that focuses on more general management skills, and a parallel online track focusing on methodology.

    The first session focuses on technological changes and disruption and provides an introduction to how strategic analysis can help us to understand these changes. The purpose of this session is to give participants an understanding of how technologies develop over time, how disruptive threats arise, and how enterprises can use strategic analysis to make more well-informed decisions during periods of technological and regulatory discontinuity.

    At the second session, we take a more detailed look at the most important changes that the introduction of new technology and new business models bring about in financial intermediation, financial markets and corporate finance. We will study the most important new financial technologies, regulations and business models that play a role in shaping the current and future markets.

    The third session focuses on a set of other changes in the surrounding environment that take place at the same time as, and often in interaction with, the technological changes. We will focus in particular on the increased emphasis on combining competition and cooperation, changes in regulatory frameworks, increased uncertainty in the surroundings, and the shift towards greater focus on sustainability and ethics.

    The fourth and final session in the module will focus on more general leadership skills. We begin with an introduction to management and proceed to take a closer look at team management. Overall, this module seeks to integrate knowledge from the fields of technological change, strategy, finance, psychology, management and innovation economics.

    The parallel online track will focus on evidence-based management. In practice, this means that students learn how to search for research-based information, how to assess the validity of the results, and what ‘evidence’ should be required before theory is put into practice.

  • Module 2: Competition and Users

    Module 2: Competition and Users

    Module two focuses on what implications the increasing digitalisation will have for competition dynamics and user behaviour, and it is structured around issues such as ‘How to compete in a world of ecosystems, platforms, network effects and big data’, ‘How will increased digitalisation impact enterprises' ability to attract and retain customers/users?’, and ‘How can new technologies be used to create added value for users of a product or a service?’ The module consists of three sessions that deal with these questions, a session that focuses on more general management skills, and a parallel online track focusing on methodology.

    The first session focuses on digital competition, and we will take a closer look at start-ups, business scaling, ecosystem competition and the implications that digitalisation of more and more markets have for competitive dynamics.

    The second session focuses on platform competition and platform strategy, in particular on the roles that complementary products/services, network effects and big data analysis play in such markets.

    The third session focuses on users (and customers). Here, we combine knowledge of user behaviour from marketing and big data analysis from informatics, profitability analyses from business management and methods for user-driven innovation to gain a deeper understanding of the possibilities and challenges that organisations are faced with when their focus changes from product to user.

    The fourth and final session will focus on general management skills, with a focus on negotiation and communication. Overall, the model seeks to combine knowledge from competition economics and strategy, marketing, business analysis, psychology and management control.

    The parallel online track will focus on research methods for business and provide an introduction to qualitative as well as quantitative methodology.

  • Module 3: Sources of Competitive Advantage

    Module 3: Sources of Competitive Advantage

    Module three focuses on sources of competitive advantage and is structured around issues such as ‘How can an enterprise design effective strategies that can form the basis for a lasting competitive advantage?’, ‘How should an enterprise organise innovation processes?’, ‘How can an enterprise finance and profit from innovations?’, and ‘How to evaluate new business models and companies with immaterial resources and uncertain future cash flow’. The module consists of four sessions that deal with different aspects of these issues and a parallel online track focusing on methodology.

    The first session focuses on the connection between customers and users that the enterprises compete for and the activities and resources they have to carry out/control better than or differently from their competitors in order to win. Students will learn how profitability analyses can be used to obtain facts about the present profitability and how this insight can be combined with knowledge from strategies to formulate robust strategies.

    The second session focuses on innovation, how enterprises can organise innovation processes to find solutions that add value for users, and how the enterprises themselves can protect innovations to ensure that they retain a considerable proportion of the value created. We look at how to organise for innovation, innovation processes as design thinking, lean and innovation sprints. We will look at creativity, and finally also what it takes to protect innovation from imitation.

    The third session focuses on a set of selected immaterial resources that have become increasingly important sources of competitive advantage in recent years. This includes organisational culture, management capabilities, innovativeness, sustainability and brands.

    The fourth session focuses on valuation, and we will take a closer look at the challenges one faces when valuating businesses with new business models and/or enterprises whose primary sources of competitive advantage consist of immaterial assets. We will start by looking at the traditional way of valuating an enterprise and at what alternatives can be employed when valuating growth companies that do not have as many hard assets in their balance sheet.

    The parallel online track in this module will provide an introduction to applied programming where the participants will familiarise themselves with the programming language R. 

    Overall, the module seeks to combine knowledge from strategy, marketing, innovation theory, innovation economics, finance, psychology, business analysis and programming. 

  • Module 4: The Integrated Picture

    Module 4: The Integrated Picture

    The fourth and final module of the specialisation focuses on integrating knowledge from the first three modules and is structured around issues such as ‘What challenges and opportunities do businesses encounter in connection with international growth?’, ‘How can businesses move from analysis to formulating strategies and business models to increase their probability of success?’, and ‘How to execute and implement strategic changes’. The module consists of three sessions that deal with the above, one concluding session involving the defence of the thesis and integration of all knowledge from the programme, and a parallel online track on experimental methods and A/B testing.

    The first session focuses on internationalisation and challenges associated with competing with foreign enterprises. The session will draw on knowledge from the first three modules and adds an international dimension by taking a closer look at challenges relating to management, culture, regulatory frameworks and competition that enterprises can encounter in connection with international growth and how these challenges can be resolved.

    The last two sessions focus on how enterprises can execute and implement strategic change. They cover the human aspects of getting people in an organisation to implement a strategy and make the necessary changes, as well as the framework conditions that determine how the organisational structure, incentives, management systems and measurements can be used to facilitate strategic changes.

    The parallel digital track will deal with experimental methods and focus on how experiments, particularly via digital channels, can be designed and used by enterprises to identify causal connections and generate valuable insight at several levels.

    Overall, the module aims to combine knowledge from international business, strategy, management, organisational theory, accounting and financial management and integrate it with the fintech phenomena discussed throughout the programme.