Become a master in management in one year

the main advantages of this programme:

instructed in English

evening classes

multidisciplinary audience

international mindset

spreading study options

International focus

The courses are selected with a multicultural and multidisciplinary audience in mind. This implies that all courses have a broader international focus, meaning the programme prepares you for management positions in varied and complex international environments.

Each year, students of more than 50 different nationalities are interested in joining this master programme. Combined with the different study backgrounds, this creates a multicultural and multidisciplinary vibe.

International university

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is a dynamic and modern university with almost two centuries of history. VUB has 15.000 students, 21% of which are international students from more than 120 different countries. 

Being a student at VUB means learning in an international and open atmosphere of tolerance and diversity that will help you to grow into an independent and critical-thinking individual. 

VUB offers high quality English-taught programmes, supported by outstanding research. VUB is known for treating its students as individuals. Professors and teaching assistants are available and open to answer questions from students. Interactive methods ensure close interaction and contribute to students growing into independent and critical individuals.

International VUB experience

Why study at the Solvay Business School?

The programme is organized by the Faculty of Social Sciences & Solvay Business School, a part of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Every year, about 120 new students enrol into the master in management.

The Solvay Business School has its roots in the founding of the Business Engineer programme by Ernest Solvay in 1903. A long tradition of integrating business education with technology was born then and still continues in all of its programs. Highly skilled professionals with an excellent command of various languages and a good understanding of multiple cultures are needed in national and international public institutions and in multinational companies. As the capital of Europe, Brussels is the perfect setting in which to prepare yourself for such a job.


This programme is organized on the Brussels Humanities, Sciences and Engineering Campus

located in Etterbeek

Discover the campus facilities

Faculty of Social Sciences & Solvay Business School

welcomes you to VUB

Visit website

Contact the programme coordinator

if you have any programme specific questions


When does it start and what are the courses?

Discover the programme design
All classes are organized between 6pm and 10pm, designed to combine work and study.

Programme calendar


All new students start mid-September 2020 with a preparatory programme (6 or 7 courses to complete). After several weeks, 3 master courses are organized alongside the preparatory courses. The first semester ends in the 3rd week of December after 13 weeks of class.

The first exam session (1st semester courses) is organized in January 2021.


starting halfway February - four master courses are scheduled in 8 weeks of class, followed by the spring break.

The first exam session (2nd semester courses) is organized in the two weeks after the spring break. In the weeks after these exams you can finalize your master thesis (deadline is at the end of May).


If you would have failed for one or more exams, we have a second exam session organized in August and September. This second chance exam is included in your enrollment and we expect you to attend this exam if you've failed a first exam session (no failed result is transferred to second session).

All new students start with the preparatory programme in first semester

Preparatory programme

All students have to complete this programme

It is designed to teach you the very basics of accounting, finance, management, hrm, research methods, etc. Courses are entirely organized in the first weeks of the first semester. For this reason, there is no second semester intake.

When you complete this prep programme, you receive a prepraratory programme certificate containing an overview of completed courses.

1st semester - 3 ECTS

An introduction to the basic principles of financial accounting. Accounting is the information system that measures business activities, processes the information into reports, and communicates the results to decision makers. Thus, accounting is the language of business. This course is designed to help you, as a manager, to understand accounting as the language of business. 

1st semester - 3 ECTS

The objective is to provide an overview of the main concepts in management and HRM. The course covers the following topics: introduction to the principles of management; overview of management theories; developing mission, vision, and values; organizational structure and change; leading people and organizations; introduction to strategic management; decision making; the essentials of control; introduction to HRM.

1st semester - 3 ECTS

The module 'Supply Chain Management' introduces the core concepts of operations management, supply chain management and quality management. The IT part of the course introduces the basic concepts related to information systems and their use in business, with examples in supply chain management and  more. 

1st semester - 3 ECTS

You will be introduced to the discipline of marketing and market research. Two parts are herein crucial. On the one hand, we address the integrated marketing mix, consisting of a toolkit of 4 Ps, to deliver customer value in a profitable and durable way. On the other hand, we offer tools and techniques in this course to sharpen your skills in market research in practice. The theoretical frame that is introduced in the lectures forms the basis on which the practice sessions offers exercises on and where the guest lectures provide illustrations on.

1st semester - 3 ECTS

Designed to develop students’ knowledge and skills in the field of quantitative research methods in preparation for the independent processing, interpretation and reporting of collected data (e.g. in the context of the later master's thesis). The lecture is conceived as a first introduction to the application of a number of quantitative research methods and their interpretation, with the aim to develop students’ research competencies in numerical data analysis. Concepts, methods and techniques are provided in order to be able to understand, assess and interpret existing quantitative research.

1st semester - 3 ECTS

* ONLY FOR HOLDERS OF AN ACADEMIC BACHELOR DEGREE (holders of a master degree are exempted from this course!)

This course provides an introduction to research methodology. Different aspects of scientific research in the domains of business and management are covered. We consider both the research process and research methods.

In a step-by-step approach we guide the student through the different stages of a research process. Students are introduced in the consultation, reading and processing of scientific literature with particular attention for the practices of correct referencing and citing. Next the formulation of the research problem and the research questions is addressed. Via an introduction in a spectrum of research methods for business and managment, the students are motivated to independently compile a research design and to plan a research project. Hands-on advice is provided for reporting and presenting research proposals and research results.

1st semester - 3 ECTS

Economics for Business introduces students pursuing a graduate degree in business to the principles of (mostly micro-)economics. Topics include: supply and demand, elasticity, applications of supply and demand, the costs of production, firms in competitive markets, monopoly. Economics for Business aims to teach students majoring in business how to think like an economist, and provide them with the basic tools of economics that help understand the markets in which they operate, the economic decision problems they face, and the wider economic environment.

The preparatory and master can be combined in one academic year; or you can spread out the study over multiple years

Master programme

The master programme offers a wide view of the field of business and economics. There is a strong focus on developing analytical skills through a variety of courses providing interactive exercises and group works, such as business games. The curriculum consists out of 7 courses and the master thesis:

1st semester - 6 ECTS

A continued examination of the basic principles of financial accounting and provides an introduction to managerial accounting.  As regards to financial accounting, this course will specifically focus on receivables; plant assets, natural resources, and intangibles; investments; current liabilities and payroll; and corporations. We will study such accounting procedures as transaction analysis, journal entries, and balance sheet and income statement preparation. The fundamental accounting equation will be used a central guiding principle throughout the course in order to explain new concepts and analyze transactions. 

This course also introduces the fundamental concepts of managerial accounting. Managerial accounting focuses on the accounting tools managers use to run a business. The information provided by financial accounting is used to understand and apply the tools of managerial accounting.  Financial accounting focuses on the past, reporting on results of previous accounting periods. Since managers are required to make decisions about future operations, managerial accounting often requires forward-looking information. As regards to managerial accounting, this course will focus on topics such as job order costing, process costing, cost management systems.

1st semester - 6 ECTS

A broad overview on how Information Technology (IT) can be or is typically used in the context of organizations.  After briefly summarizing the strategic importance of information systems for contemporary organizations, the different types of information systems or enterprise applications (ERP, CRM, SCM, etcetera) as well as their most important building blocks are introduced.  Next, a profound overview of IT project management (i.e., the system development lifecycle) is given during which special attention is devoted to the responsibilities of managers in a typical IT project.  Afterwards, it is studied how the resulting information systems can impact or enable an organization's business model.  A set of current organizational IT trends are discussed and analyzed in terms of their potential business value.  The course is ended with an introduction to data modelling, data querying, and process modelling.

1st semester - 6 ECTS

This course is an advanced course on strategic management. It is aimed at students with a limited background or competencies in the field of business and management. The course considers strategy as the link of the firm with its environment (industry and stakeholders). 

First, the question on "where to compete" is answered. Two perspectives are offered: on the one hand, industry analysis is discussed as a basis to formulate strategy, based on concepts such as PEST analysis and Porter's five forces framework, including a critical assessment of these models. On the other hand, the types of resources and capabilities, and their appraisal and development, are discussed as a basis to develop strategy. Following the discussion of these two perspectives, the nature of competitive advantage is explained by showing the difference between cost and differentiation advantage. 

Second, the question on 'how to compete" is answered. Here, several challenges are addressed such as the impact of industry and non-traditional context (not-for-profit and government organizations), managing stakeholders,  technology and innovation management, corporate strategy (firm scope, transaction costs, portfolio management), internationalization (entry modes, strategies in the international environment), and strategy implementation (structures, systems and performance management). 

The course ends with a discussion on recent trends and challenges in strategic management such as increased volatility, the boundaryless organization and capability based structures. 

The course is delivered through interactive theory lectures, practical exercises (SWOT, Portfolio Analysis), interactive case discussions (to be prepared in advance by students).

2nd semester - 6 ECTS

This course concentrates first of all on the relationship between Human Resource Management and other management areas as well as on the development of strategic HRM.

It further elaborates on basic subjects such as :

  • joint responsabilities for HR with other departments;
  • starting a H.R.-function through job analysis, job descriptions and job evaluations;
  • basics on pay structure;
  • filling vacancies;
  • general information on testing and interviews;
  • assessing performance and potential, and problems of evaluation;
  • socializing employees and 'technical' training programs;
  • training employees and developing general management skills and careers.

* Practicals (group): Included are two small scale practical exercises in order to develop certain HR-skills (eg. team building, appraisal interviews) - attendance required.
* Paper (group): critical analysis of a company practice related to HRM (topics will be indicated during the lectures, and may change from year to year).

2nd semester - 6 ECTS

We start by clearly defining business strategies and position the role of marketing in strategy. Subsequently, a thorough introduction in strategic analysis is provided, existing on the one hand of external analysis and on the other hand internal analysis. We offer frameworks and methods for (1) external and customer analysis, (2) competitor analysis, (3) market/submarket analysis, and (4) environmental analysis. Moreover we deal with the analysis of a company’s own strengths and weaknesses, that we confront subsequently with external opportunities and threats.

Once this information is gathered, we are ready to learn more about strategic options and the implementation thereof, on the basis of for example the marketing mix toolkit. Topics such as ‘sustainable competitive advantage’, ‘value propositions’, ‘brand equity’, ‘innovation’, and ‘synergy’ are introduced in order to provide the needed jargon and to offer a structured overview of the instruments available to strategic marketing managers.The theory portion of the course will link the Strategic Marketing theory to real-life business cases, with a global perspective. The practice portion of the course allows you to sharpen your skills both in identifying links between the course theory and the everyday business context as well as to strengthen your functioning in team work.

2nd semester - 6 ECTS

The different aspects of a supply chain are introduced. Every lecture will focus on another part of the supply chain. Topics that will be treated are amongst others: strategy; sourcing, procurement and location; manufacturing; maritime and air transport; hinterland transportation; warehousing; urban distribution; sustainability; etc. Each of the lectures consists out of the theoretical introduction of these concepts, followed by a guest lecture illustrating how these concepts are used in practice.

Next to the theoretical introduction of these different aspects of a supply chain, some practical applications will be taught (some in a game format) in the exercise courses.

2nd semester - 6 ECTS

The following topics will be covered: general valuation principle, valuation of bonds, stocks and investment projects with the calculation of net cashflows and equivalent annual cost; introduction to risk and return, portfolio theory and the Capital Asset Pricing Model, risk and the cost of capital and credit risk; introduction to international finance with exchange risk management. Possible, also a guest lecture will be organized about a theme to be announced.

More time for the master thesis

The master thesis is the final chapter of your master study (18 ECTS). You link with a topic and supervisor in the first weeks of the first semester. The programme will offer you the time, space and guidance needed to work on your master thesis. We schedule the second semester exams right after the spring break, which leaves the last few weeks of the academic year free of lectures. This should give you ample time to finalize your master thesis.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes describe the intended knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes that you must master after completing your studies. Do you want to know more about the specific learning outcomes of this programme? Click here for more information.

Do you have the required study profile?

Discover the admissions criteria

Academic requirements

Acceptance to this programme is based on a screening process of your application file.

This preparatory and master programme is designed for students with (at least) an academic bachelor degree with only little to no prior study background in the field of business economics and/or management. If there is not too much overlap between what you studied before and what we offer in our Master programme, then you might be found eligible for it. Due to the popularity of this programme and the limited capacity on campus, we make a strong selection based on your overall study results, motivation and overall application file.

No acceptance

Candidates with a academic degree in the following study fields have no admission into this programme (overqualified):

  • Business (Administration)
  • Commerce
  • Management
  • Business Economics
Upload an official statement on the medium of instruction of your previous study, if this was in the English language

Language requirements

Good English language skills are an important prerequisite for successfully completing the master. There are three ways to prove your proficiency:

Option A: send us one of the following language certificates proving your CEFR B2 level:

  • TOEFL (only the internet-based test is accepted): minimum level: 79
  • IELTS: minimum level academic module 6.5
  • Cambridge English: CAE grade B or CPE grade C (min. scale level 170 = equivalent to the CEFR B2)
  • ITACE: minimum grade B2

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are aware that students may face difficulties to take a test in person. Please note that we also accept the TOEFL IBT Special Home Edition and the IELTS Indicator. These are variants of the classic TOEFL and IELTS tests that you may take at home.

Please note that language test results cannot be older than 5 years at the moment of application.

Option B: having successfully completed secondary or higher education with English as language of instruction:

  • submit official proof of the language of instruction of your previous study;

Option C: having successfully completed Belgian secondary education

  • submit official proof that you completed a study in the Belgian educational system

Deadlines, the application fee, required documents, screening process

Discover the application procedure

The application season: important dates for 2021


Start new application season

December 2020

Dealine for all non-EEA students

1 April 2021

Deadline for all EEA students

1 September 2021

Start of the academic year

20 September 2021

The application procedure opens in December

Unfoirtunately, you can no longer apply to start in the current academic year

How to apply?

How about the tuition fees? Housing? Scholarships?

Go to the practicalities for prospective VUB students

A guide through the practical information

We've listed some of the most relevant topics for new (international) students.

Tuition fees

Money well spent!



Maybe we could help?


Work & Study

Keep the balance



Your new home is Brussels


Time for action

Your standard to-do-list


Questions regarding the programme?

Mail the programme coordinator

Frequently asked questions on this master programme


No, you just apply for the master programme. All students who are accepted to join the master in management have to combine the enrollment with the preparatory programme by default (and as stated on your letter of acceptance).

No, unfortunately we do not accept students holding a professional (bachelor) degree. We offer a bridging course in the Dutch medium for students holding such a degree (the so called "schakelprogramma voor de master in de bedrijfskunde"). Only if you meet the Dutch language requirements (B2-level) you can first take this bridging programme and then you can opt to switch to the English taught master in management.

This will be explained in the first week of classes (we use an online information system to connect master students with topics/supervisors) by the master thesis coordinator.

Topics are offered by professors (supervisors) connected to three different education and research departments within Solvay Business School: business technology and operations, applied economics and business, management, accounting and finance.

You can opt to spread out your study by not registering for all of the courses in one year -> we advise you to consult the spreading scenarios document and/or discuss your specific situation with the study path counselor. Students with a student visa have limited spreading options due to student visa conditions.

No electives in this programme, all courses are mandatory to complete in order to graduate.

You can take extracurricular courses (not credited), like language courses at ACTO or CVO Semper. If you complete a language course, you receive a language certificate that proves your level of proficiency.

If you have the impression that we offer a course that you already completed in a previous academic study programme? Is there a lot of content overlap? In this case you have the option to request for an exemption following the faculty exemption procedure described on this website: https://student.vub.be/en/es#exemptions

No, there is no limited number of seats open for new students, but we do apply a strong selection through the screening procedure.

No, the programme exists out of mandatory courses, with no room for electives nor internship options.

The answer depends on the number of courses you register for. and on the semester. If you go for the full-time offer in combination with the preparatory courses, you take best into account that you have class every evening of the week, and occasionally on a Saturday morning in the first semester.

Timetables for next academic year are still in progress, we expect them to be available a week prior to the start of next academic year.

Yes. We understand that you're still in doubt about your study choice for next year, but already eager to find out if you are eligible to join this (or any other) master programme at VUB. You can apply for more than one programme using your personal account. Take into account that we do ask you to pay the application fee for every request (so per programme).

Yes you can, if you have good study results and got bitten by the research bug, you can look for a research topic and a supervisor. You find more on conditions to start a PhD at VUB on this website

We expect you have basic statistical and mathematical skills like calculating a mean, standard deviation, a median, etc. In the preparatory courses 'quantitative methods for business' and 'research methods for business' we expand your statistical knowledge in order to prepare you for the master.

New students have the option to take an additional preparatory workshop in first semester on quantitative methods (basic maths).

Do not hesitate to contact us with a programme related question