MSc in Economics and Business Administration - People and Business Development

The programme gives you the keys to understand why and how the organisation’s people and human capital become the key drivers of business development and transformation in modern organisations.

About the programme

The people strategies and human capital tools including talent management, people analytics, competence advancement, rewards and compensation are core elements in coping with today’s business challenges like agility, digital transformation and sustainability. 

Data- and theory based analysis
PBD aims to develop candidates who are equipped to do data- and theory based analysis of the highest level and aiming at three specific areas of interest.

The programme is based on the analysis that modern people strategies and human capital, needs to focus on context, value and change in order to make the management and staff working with human capital able fulfil their potential as business partners and change agents.

PBD candidates will, instead of relying on the received wisdom of the discipline (HRM-best practice), strive and be able to analyse people strategies in context in order to assess what human capital and people policies, actions and techniques that are likely to create most value in a specific organisation.

Also the candidates are able to analyse the organisation “black-box” and with the help of economic and data-based analyses identify what aspects of human capital and HRM that needs to be developed, adjusted or discarded in order to make the organisation perform most efficiently and create most value.

Finally, the candidates of People and Business Development, are not just managers of organisational systems, but also change agents, who can analyse the need and prerequites for, and are able to lead the processes of, strategic business transformation.

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 minors on Minors

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.

Academic internship
You can choose to replace some of your electives with a so-called academic internship. The academic internship consists of an internship period at a company, which is then completed with a project report. You can do the internship at a company in Denmark or abroad.

When doing an internship you get the opportunity to relate theory to practice and reflect on the academic training you receive at CBS in a practical setting. Therefore, the project report and work assignments during your internship have to be relevant to your study programme.

CEMS - Master in International Management programme
On People and Business Development, 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.

Master's thesis
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

A people programme with a strong analytic element
The PBD-programme is a “people-programme” with a strong business analytic element. This means that if your main priorities are analytics and statistics, you will probably be better served elsewhere. However, “the language of business is numbers” and PBD-students are trained to undertake evidence-based analyses and design business cases while using the necessary tools.

Studying in English
If you do not have a bachelor’s degree taught in English, we recommend that you read more about what to consider before applying for an English taught programme. 

See Studying in English on Student Life.

Study environment

Study Environment/Life
The PBD-student group is previously drawn from diverse origins; 20% international and 80% Danish students, but with a growing number of international students. A majority comes from CBS bachelor programmes of which a fair amount comes from the bachelor programmes: HA(psyk.) and BSc SEM. The gender distribution is around 75% women /25% men. Uncharacteristically for the field, 80% of the teachers are men. 

Student life at CBS
Studying at CBS is much more than just preparing for and going to classes.

At CBS, there are more than 20,000 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.

For internationals
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.


Teaching and exams


While the PBD-programme competences are based on evidence- and theory based analyses, these skills are built using a diverse range of cases of which many are “live-cases”. The PBD-projects are the most extensive of these: you and your group will work in 2,5 month on a real-life people and development change project supported by a supervisor.

But all teaching at the PBD-programme is extensively anchored and contextualised by organisational cases. The course is organised in four 15 ECTS blocks, which lets you immerse  yourself in the same topic and exercise your skills to a deeper level of understanding.

Read more about Teaching and working methods on Student life.


Because of the 15 ECTS course structure, there is two exams/mandatory hand-ins at each course. All exams need to be passed to complete the programme.

Read more about Exams and exams types on Student life.

Time consumption
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.

Student job
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?
The programme builds the HRM business analytic capabilities needed to take a central leadership role in business development and transformation processes. In the still more complex world of work and business, the record shows that organisations need still more candidates who can fill leadership positions within people management. 

A fundamental requirement for succeeding in this role is a thorough understanding of the importance of the contexts for people strategy, performance and value management and strategic business transformation, as, for instance, disruption caused by digitalization

Career opportunities
PBD seeks to attract students who aspire for careers such as Chief People & Organisation/Human Resource Officers and similar high-level management or advisory positions in private and public organisations.
The programme focuses on the role of leading human resources in business development and transformation broadly understood.

It is important to note that the programme is not a HR-specialist programme but rather a people management generalist which might lead to leadership and development positions within HR department/People & Organisation functions but might as well prepare you for positions in operations, strategy or business development functions.

Competence profile
In the competence profile you can find more information about the various competences you achieve on the programme: 



1st semester 2nd semester 3rd semester 4th semester

People Strategy in context
(15 ECTS)

HRM in Strategic Transformation
(15 ECTS)

Electives / Exchange / CEMS
(30 ECTS)


(30 ECTS)

People, Performance and Organizational Value
(15 ECTS)
People and Business Development Project
(15 ECTS)

You can find course descriptions in the programme regulations for People and Business Development.

Sidst opdateret: Web editor - Student Communications // 30/01/2024