MScIB: Getting Projects Ready!

The students defend their Master Thesis as a final stage of their coursework

  • 19/06/2020
  • 2 mins reading time
Master Thesis MScIB
Photo: Pexels (Buro Millennial)

Mercè Roca and Ramon Xifré, Academic Director and Master Thesis Coordinator of the Master of Science in International Business (MScIB), explain the Master Thesis that will be presented during the last week of June. This final project synthesizes the master’s coursework and is an important professionalizing component of the program.

The Master Thesis of the MScIB, a joint program between ESCI-UPF and the UPF Barcelona School of Management, takes the form of an original, professionally written work that students develop during the whole academic year, which integrates the competencies and skills that they have acquired and further developed along the course. In this sense, the Master Thesis acts as the backbone of the program, whereby the learnings of all courses are integrated and put into practice.

There is a broad range of possible formats from which students choose to develop their master thesis. As a general requirement, the Master Thesis is an original essay on markets, products or companies that have a relevant international business dimension. The two formats that the master thesis most frequently take are: either a fully-developed internationalization plan for an existing company, or a business plan for the creation of a new international company.  Innovation is encouraged and there have also been very meritorious master thesis that have rather focused on developing in-depth studies of economic and market trends that have particularly relevant implications for international business.

As a first phase of the Master Thesis course, students need to form groups of up to three students and decide on the topic on which they will be working. Students can decide to work on their own projects or choose from a list of topics proposed by the faculty of the program. Each group is assigned a member of the faculty who directly supervises the development of the project throughout the whole academic year. Moreover, they have two sessions per trimester with the Master Thesis Coordinator to evaluate the progress of work and obtain guidance and, also, access to individualized specialized tutoring for the development of financial plans. Additionally, a proposal presentation workshop with the whole faculty is organized during the second term so that the different groups receive feedback on their projects from the different domains of the program. Quite often, students employ the Master Thesis as an opportunity to sharpen an idea that they have had in mind for some time and to get qualified feedback from the faculty.

The fact that the Master Thesis is developed in groups becomes an excellent opportunity for the students to practice, and benefit from, the interaction with the diverse class that the MScIB is, both in terms of backgrounds and nationalities (see the student profile here). The heterogeneity within the groups allows them to combine their multidisciplinary education and their cultural perspective to enhance the projects. The work is done in teams but the Master Thesis final grade is individual for each member because there are sufficient evidences that track the personal learning experience of each student during the process.

Each year, the best master thesis of the program is awarded a recognition to acknowledge its contribution to the International Business Studies discipline (see the list here). The previous years awarded master theses include: a project for producing energy from waste in India, an expansion project for a Catalan winery to enter Norway, a project for recycling plastic waste into bricks in South Africa and an analysis of the potential expansion of Disneyland to Brazil. All projects that receive an excellent grade are published in the UPF repository if the authors authorize so.

Due to the extraordinary circumstances we are facing, the defenses of this year’s thesis will be different, held online instead of face-to-face. Together with a Faculty member, the Academic Director and the Master Thesis coordinator will be joining to form the examination committees that will evaluate the theses. Despite the difficulties that students have faced due to the COVID-19, we are convinced that their work is of the highest standards and we are really looking forward to appreciate and celebrate its results.


Mercè Roca, Academic Director of the MScIB
Ramon Xifré, Master Thesis Coordinator of the MScIB

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