The program's curriculum is comprised of four major parts described in more detail below. Throughout the program, ethical aspects and their effects on business decisions are reflected from multiple perspectives. Program language is English.

Mandatory Foundation Modules (4 x 6 CP) provide students with a solid basis in general management and business administration applying them to practice relevant aspects of the pharmaceutical industry.

This module focuses on the comprehensive analysis of management control system as an essential function of management to ensure that the organization’s objectives and strategies are carried out effectively.

  • Discussion of different control mechanisms concerning the organization’s financial performance
  • Analysis of market and accounting-based result controls for performance measurement and evaluation
  • Discussion of control problems related to uncontrollable factors, ethical issues and corporate governance aspects.

The course focuses on the vital role of employees in an enterprise, organizational behavior, and importance of motivation. This course attempts to build understanding and skills in leading and managing people and organizations.

  • Employee: i.e. requirements concerning motivation, work structuring, optimal decision making
  • Teams: i.e. employee management, team management, role of social norms, peer effects
  • Organization: i.e. change, culture, compensation, performance measurement

The module focuses on fundamental questions important for understanding corporate finance. Course participants will learn basic concepts related to assessment of investments and financing of corporations. The course introduces key concepts based on modern finance theory such as

  • Interest rate
  • Risk
  • Diversification
  • Market equilibrium
  • Capital structure

This module introduces concepts related to strategic analysis and development. We will discuss different methods of strategic analysis, including such topics as:

  • Organizational goals and vision
  • Industry analysis
  • Capability and resource analysis
  • Vertical integration
  • Cost leadership
  • Internal and external growth
  • Roles and tasks of corporate headquarters
  • Implementation of corporate strategies

Mandatory Concentration Modules (4 x 5 CP) refer to selected management topics designed to the master challenges in the special context of the pharma industry and provide an overview of the pharmaceutical value chain.

The course “Innovation Management & Pricing” will familiarize participants with the basic concepts of innovation management and pricing in a pharmaceutical context.

The first part of the module covers innovation management. The class is focused on a set of frameworks and tools to effectively identify, build and commercialize innovations within the firm. A particular focus is set on diagnosing potential failures before they can occur and examine best-case organizations that excel at managing innovations.

In the pricing part of the module, participants will be introduced to the most important concepts and methods to determine prices for existing products as well as product innovations in a pharmaceutical context. We will discuss pricing strategy as well as pricing implementation issues and focus especially on pricing opportunities after the end of the patent term.

The course “High Performance Teams” will give students a totally fresh perspective on team development and how to reach both an individual and collective peak performance. This highly interactive course will shed light on the components that make up the true identity of an individual and how this identity consequently influences communication, decision-making and performance. In order to reach a profound understanding of these concepts, newest findings from neuroscience with respect to personality, self-regulation and performance will be explained in a practical way. In addition to gaining deep insight into their own identity, students will understand how different personalities make up diversity in a team and how this social diversity can be used to boost creativity and collective performance. 

This module consists of two parts:

1. The course “Foundations of Pharmaceutical Law” will equip students with a basic theoretical and practical understanding of pharmaceutical law. The focus is drawn on the legal framework of research, development, and marketing of pharmaceuticals. It also covers the legal parameters concerning the economic supply of patients with medicinal products. Gaining familiarity with the key legal aspect to which pharmaceuticals are exposed to shall enable pharmaceutical-focused managers to interact with the relevant company departments and to make successful future decisions in terms of strategy and planning.

2. The course “Foundations of Patent Law” will familiarize students with the basic concepts of intellectual property and provide insight as to different kinds of IP rights, their interaction, on methods and strategies for protection of intellectual property, exploitation of intellectual property rights and their defense and enforcement. It will provide basic legal and practical knowledge in order to enable participants to understand and make decisions regarding IP rights. 

The course “Pharmaceutical Value Chain” is about the development and life cycle of medicinal products and the complex and highly regulated process behind it. The course will cover the pharmaceutical value chain from Research & Development, Production and Quality Control to the marketing authorization and pharmacovigilance to the access to the market and reimbursement. 

The structure and the content of the Master of Pharma Business Administration are matched to meet the needs of the pharma industry and set the program apart from other education and training formats in the market.

1:/user_upload/Images/09_Master_of_Pharma_Business_Administration/Advisory_Board/oschmann.png Stefan OschmannChairman of the Executive Board & CEO, Merck

Elective Modules (choose 4 x 5 CP) focus on state-of-the-art pharmaceutical courses allowing students to choose a course whose curriculum is of particular interest on a personal or professional level. Electives may vary from year to year. Course descriptions will be available soon.

The course “Research, Development & Galenics” will address the wide variety of pharmaceuticals and how this diversity determines their complex development process. Students will gain an understanding of the nature of the research and development process and its different phases, together with the different ways in which a drug is designed, tested and formulated to provide optimal therapeutic benefit. The course will also explore the ethical and regulatory challenges associated with animal studies and clinical trials.   

The course will introduce students to major aspects of daily work in Quality Control (QC) / Quality Assurance (QA) organizations of Pharmaceutical Industry. The lessons will provide a working knowledge for attendees to understand requirements resulting from Medicines acts as well as global guidelines along the pharmaceutical products lifecycle. Implementation in day to day work will be discussed as well as the demand of competencies and skills of QC/QA interphase partners.

The part “Pharmaceutical Production” will make students familiar with the key elements & concepts of pharmaceutical manufacturing. It includes key aspects of supporting functions such as quality, engineering, HSE, supply chain management, logistics, finance & project management as well. Finally, the importance of an experience / well trained staff as well as leadership tools will be introduced.

Medicines or drugs are goods of a very special kind. For example, no efforts in advertisement will make a customer buy an anti-cancer-drug, if he does not suffer from cancer. On the other hand, Paracelsus (1493 - 1541) said “Sola dosis facit venenum”. (“Solely the dose determines whether something is poisonous or not”.)  As result, in nearly ALL countries of the world the pharmaceutical market is highly regulated by drug laws. To understand this regulatory system, one needs special knowledge. The course “Regulatory Affairs” will teach students the basic principles to understand the regulatory framework and enable them to communicate with specialists of different faculties (e.g. Drug development, Pharmacology, Toxicology and Regulators or Lawyers in the Competent Authorities).       

The Pharmacovigilance section of the course will build on this and introduce Pharmacovigilance in its broadest sense. The course is also an introduction to PV management in order to build up and manage an effective and compliant pharmacovigilance organization with budgeting, cost effective resource planning and tools.

In this module on “Marketing & Sales” we will focus on the basic concepts, terminology and methodologies relevant for successfully marketing and selling pharmaceutical products in the 21st century. Roles and relevance of various stakeholders in the “Pill Journey”, will be discussed. Tools and systems to target, execute and monitor sales will be introduced.

Market Access is a complex process. The so called “fourth hurdle” is for pharmaceuticals an important step on the long road from bench to bedside. “Fourth huddle” because pharmaceuticals already passed the three regulatory hurdles “quality”, “efficacy” and “safety”. To show in addition “efficiency” – a trade-off between health benefits in comparison to existing alternatives and costs - is a major driver for success of new pharmaceuticals. No company providing pharmaceuticals or devices can expect to succeed without designing a Market Access strategy early in the development process. The concept of Market Access requires as much knowledge as professional capabilities. Therefore the course “Market Access and Health Economics” gives students an understanding of the Market Access environment. Core principles of evidence based medicine, Health Technology Assessment and health economics will introduced. 

In this course the participants have the opportunity to develop business ideas, to learn what it takes to be an intrapreneur and how to form an idea/technology into a sound business concept or plan. The bases for the creative and analytical problem solving process are innovation search fields or challenges of the participant’s daily work. The participants will start out with an idea/technology and will merge into a interdisciplinary team. Once teams have been built, participants are guided step-by-step through the process of developing a rough concept into an attractive business idea. Special emphasis lies on the iterative nature of developing an idea into a business.

The mandatory Seminar "Scientific Methods for Research & Writing" is designed to prepare students for academic research projects and conveys relevant methods for research and academic writing. The mandatory Master Thesis is a student's original research project in written format, based on the skills and knowledge acquired throughout the program. Ideally, the research project is based on a real business project in a pharmaceutical environment.  

Get informed!

Learn first-hand about the Master of Pharma Business Administration and meet program administrators and faculty.