MSc in Economics and Business Administration - Accounting, Strategy and Control
About the programme
Making strategies operational
The focus of the programme is on driving the company towards its goals by making its strategy operational. There is a big difference between making a strategy and making it happen. Often this process is made difficult by vaguely defined goals or differences in perception of the strategy throughout the organisation. You will learn how to deal with these challenges by interpreting the strategy, breaking it down into smaller parts and making the goals concrete and measurable. This will enable you to create a uniform and tangible understanding of the strategy, from board level, down through management to the individual employee.
Tools for decision making
Knowing the effectiveness and the limitations of measurements is an important part in achieving this end. By using theories and models in management accounting, you will be able to measure everything from transaction cost and company value, to customer and employee satisfaction. You will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of these tools, and how they can create a foundation for decision making. The knowledge you gain from this will give you deep insight into the inner workings of the organisation, and allow you to understand how value is created in the company, and at what cost.
Cost and performance management
Accounting is the number one business language, and it creates the foundation for discussions of a company’s financial performance, but also of the non-financial dimensions of performance, such as customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and competence development, all playing a major role in the creation of value in the organisation.
Working with measurement and evaluation systems, the provision of incentives and adjustments of behavior hold the potential for controlling cost and performance at all levels in the organisation, and ensure value creation. By developing and analysing such performance and risk measurement systems, you create transparency in the company, and this allows you to identify potential strategic as well as operational problems as they arise within the company. This could for example be a sudden increase in expenses, reduced quality, high employee turnover or continuous difficulties in reaching strategic goals. To deal with these problems, you will learn how to design and implement incentive systems through which you can coordinate and motivate departments, teams or individuals to change their behavior and correct the situation.
Customise your programme
During the programme, you have various opportunities to create your own academic profile.
On the 3rd semester, you can choose to study courses of your specific interest. CBS offers a large number of electives within a wide range of topics. You can also choose to take electives at other Danish universities. The electives you choose have to be relevant for your programme.
See the current selection of CBS electives on Single courses and electives - Master
On the 3rd semester, you can also choose to study a so-called minor. A minor is a package of electives within a specific academic area. Typically, it consists of 3 courses. By taking a minor, you strengthen your competences within a specific area of interest, and you can use it to qualify for specific jobs or industries.
See the current selection of CBS electives on Minors - Master
Many students choose to go on exchange on their 3rd semester; usually at one of CBS’ more than 300 partner universities. When you go on exchange through CBS, you do not have to pay for the teaching at the foreign university (with a few exceptions), and you can bring your SU (student grant).
Find a list of all CBS partner universities here
CEMS - Master in International Management programme
On Accounting, Strategy and Control, you can apply for the CEMS - Master in International Management programme. CEMS MIM is a double degree programme, which gives you the opportunity to add a second degree in international management to your CBS degree. This means that you will get both the MSc degree and the CEMS in International Management degree.
CEMS is a 1-year programme, which you study in combination with your CBS degree in your 3rd and 4th semester. Part of it takes place at one of the other CEMS universities abroad.
Learn more about CEMS / Master in International Management
Your 2nd year is completed with a master's thesis. You choose the topic you want to write about, which allows you to focus on a specific topic of your interest. Typically, you write your master's thesis with a fellow student.
What to consider
Have an interest in numbers
To be a good match for this programme, you should have an interest in working with numbers, but also in understanding the principles and logic behind the numbers. Furthermore, another important ambition is to better understand the meeting between the number and the organisation – how numbers can be used for management. So having a good basic understanding of accounting and managerial economics before you start will be an advantage, combined with an interest in and understanding of organisational aspects affecting human behavior and motivation.
Understanding numbers in a broader context
Working with numbers is a big part of the programme, but it is more calculus than math, and there is also a strong focus on understanding these numbers in context. This could mean bringing in both psychological and sociological perspectives. To be able to work with numbers, and at the same time understand how people are motivated, and why they behave in certain ways, can be a challenge to some because of the big differences in the approaches to creating knowledge in these areas. But it will also be rewarding as the ability to combine these hard and soft areas is one of the important skills you acquire.
Mix of theory and application
The curriculum is fairly comprehensive and academic. The mix of theory and application requires that you are able to perform the necessary calculations, to put them into context, and to explain and discuss why and how this should be done. As such, the programme can be seen as 65% theory comprehension and discussion, and 35% calculations and applications.
Studying in English
If you do not have bachelor’s degree taught in English, we recommend that you read more about what to consider before applying for an English taught programme.
The programme has an annual intake of about 80 students. Belonging to a fairly small group of students means that you will have a good chance of getting to know your fellow students.
The students are usually very ambitious which can create a stimulating and cooperative atmosphere, as the students often use each other for discussing and understanding different aspects of the programme. A lot of the students also combine their studies with a student jobs, which may take up a lot of their spare time.
Student life at CBS
Studying at CBS is much more than just preparing for and going to classes.
At CBS, there are more than 23,000 students with different backgrounds and nationalities. Teamwork is an essential part of studying at CBS both in classes and in extracurricular activities.
With more than 100 student organisations, you also have plenty of opportunities to engage and connect with students across programmes and classes.
Learn more about the vibrant student life at CBS, the student organisations, and the international environment on Student life
If you are an international student, we have gathered a lot of information about what it is like to be an international student at CBS and how you can prepare for life in Denmark.
Read more on For internationals
Classes in ASC are conducted as lectures and in some cases combined with exercises. As in all lectures, student interaction is important, and the quality often depends on the attitude of the students and their willingness to participate. For this reason, it is also customary to use cases, hand-in essays or have presentations by smaller groups of students.
There is a certain degree of progression between first and second semester courses. In the first semester you are introduced to core concepts and methods within management accounting and financial analysis. The core concepts and methods form the foundation on which discussions in the second semester will take place.
Read more about Teaching and working methods on Student life
The programme has both written and oral exams. The frequent use of oral exams underlines the approach to the topics in the programme, where great emphasis is put on being able to discuss the relevance, strength and weaknesses of the theories behind various tools or models. It is not uncommon for students to underestimate the time it actually takes to really understand how to use the theories and tools to the extent where you can explain and discuss them at an oral exam.
In the second semester there is an extended group project, where you go in more depth with a relevant topic and problem.
Read more about Exams and exams types on Student life
You should know that it is demanding to study in a graduate programme, and both the curriculum and workload is significantly higher than at bachelor level.
If you are studying on a full-time graduate programme, you should expect spending approximately 37 hours on average on your studies each week. The workload will vary during the year.
The time leading up to assignment submissions and exams can be hectic, and you can easily work more than 40 hours a week in this period. Preparing for oral exams can be especially time consuming, because you have to be able to explain and discuss the covered concepts and theories and learn things by heart.
Read more about Time consumption on Student Life
Most programmes are quite flexible in terms of combining studies with a student job. Most students work a maximum of 15 hours a week in order to have sufficient time for their studies.
Studying in Denmark - for internationals
If this is your first time studying in Denmark, you may find teaching and exam formats, the grading scale and the academic calendar very different from what you are used to.
Read about everything you need to know as an international student studying at CBS on For internationals > Academic information
What gets you the job?
Your ability to see the behavior in the organisation and the motivation among its employees in an economic perspective, will enable you to design and analyse measurement and incentive systems that can change the way the company works.
A core skill gained through this programme is knowing how different systems and tools for measurements work, and how to apply them to identify or solve concrete economic or organisational problems in the organisation.
You will be able to understand the principles behind the numbers and present data in a way that creates value and transparency for both management and employees, and through this help the company work more efficiently towards common strategic goals.
You will not be number crunching, but rather be managing the processes, interpreting and presenting numbers.
By understanding economic and human drivers, you will be able to understand why people and companies act the way they do.
Some graduates will find employment in consulting. As a consultant you can help companies tackle various problems. You could for instance advise companies on organisational restructuring, optimisation of various internal processes, or implementation of systems for control.
The solid understanding of company cost and value drivers also leads graduates to positions as financial analysts and investment bankers, working with valuation of companies for financial institutions, or management of financial risk in corporations.
Graduates from the ASC programme also find work as financial or business controllers. From this position you could for instance be evaluating internal performance and compliance of business units or employees. You could also be making budget analysis to plan and control organisational projects and initiatives.
In the competence profile you can find more information about the various competences you achieve on the programme:
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Electives / Exchange / CEMS (30 ECTS)
You can read more about the programme, academic content and exams in the programme regulations for Accounting, Strategy and Control.