BUS335 Corporate Strategy - Alliances, Mergers and Acquisitions

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Silja Marianna Korhonen-Sande

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk

Limits of class size:90

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:250 hours.

Teaching and exam period:This course starts in Autumn parallell. This course has teaching/ evaluation in Autumn parallel.

About this course

Due to the complexity of customer demands and uncertainty in the market environment, successful strategy is increasingly realized through partnerships with other organizations. Moreover, partnering is one of the five core principles in reaching UN Sustainable Development Goals and relationships between organizations are at the core of realizing circular economy. In this course, the participants develop a competence of how to reach a firm’s long-term strategic goals in collaboration with other organizations. More specifically, this course provides a theoretical foundation for, and lays a groundwork for the students’ skill set for developing and implementing corporate strategy through alliances and M&A (mergers and acquisitions). The structure of the course follows a decision-making process related to these strategic choices, during which the students apply relevant research-based knowledge and methods for problem solving. The course is largely case-based, and the interdisciplinary nature of the strategic decisions is emphasized. The course aims at giving the students basic knowledge and a toolkit, which enables them to understand M&A and alliances from owners’, managers’ and employees’ perspectives, reflect on their own role and contribution in such processes from the perspective of their own specialization, and to seek an increasingly active role in developing business relationships.

Learning outcome


After completing the course, the participants have knowledge of

  • the decision making criteria for choosing between different strategic options (i.e., M&A, alliances, organic growth) based on the fundamental theoretical perspectives to M&A and alliances,
  • the different stages in the M&A and alliance processes, as well as the key decisions and the related decision making criteria within these stages,
  • the relevant methods and analytical approaches for producing information for decision making in M&A and alliances.


After completing the course, the participants are able to use the concepts, theoretical frameworks, methods, and advice from practitioners presented in this course to

  • evaluate the pros and cons of different strategic options contingent on the firm characteristics, its stakeholders and external environment,
  • describe the M&A and alliance process, identify the potential managerial pitfalls related to these processes and provide suggestions for avoiding them contingent on the participating organizations, their stakeholders and external environments,
  • conduct some of the necessary analyses, formulate and explain the managerial alternatives and tradeoffs, and present recommendations to ensure a successful execution of M&A.

General competence:

  • problem solving in groups
  • clear and effective presentation in a written and oral form
  • ethical reflection related to the formation and execution of business relationships
  • Lectures and exercises with qualified teaching assistants, group assignments/ cases and related feedback, external guest lectures. Active participation is expected. This course has campus-based teaching without streaming.
  • The students will receive feedback and other learning support in connection with the lectures, mandatory assignments, and other occassions specified at the beginning of the course.
  • Bachelor in business administration or enrollment in M.Sc. in industrial economics (3rd to 5th year students). This course is designed for the first-year students in M. Sc. in business administration. NB! In this course, the students are expected to possess and actively use the bachelor-level skills and knowledge in finance, accounting and strategy.
  • Combined assessment: Case assignment at the end of the teaching period (in groups, 20% of the final grade), final written exam in the exam period (individual, 80% of the final grade). There is mandatory attendance at these two sub-tests. All the assessment components need to be passed in order to pass the course. There will not be any retake exam in the course. Those that wish to take the course again must do so next time the course is arranged, including all the elements in the assessment.

  • An external examiner evaluates the syllabus and the assessment method
  • Three mandatory activities (passed/ not-passed) in groups and/ or individually. These activities may require active participation in the lectures (e.g., presentations/ workshops) and/ or written assignments. The instructions about the mandatory activities will be given at the course start. The students will be organized in groups at the beginning of the course. Active participation in the group work is compulsory to pass the course. Practical information about the group work (including deadlines for joining the groups) will be given at the start of the course when the number of participants is fixed. The mandatory assignments are valid only for one semester, i.e., if a student wishes to retake the course, the mandatory activities also need to be retaken.
  • The course is in English. Incoming students can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business (studieveileder-hh@nmbu.no) for admission to the course.

    Students from the master's program entrepreneurship and innovation with a bachelor's degree in economics and administration can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business (studieveileder-hh@nmbu.no) for admission to the course.

  • 4 hours per week. In addition group work and individual work related to cases, mandatory activities and the examination.
  • The course is open for master's students in business administration. Master students in industrial economics (3rd to 5th year students) may take the course if available seats.