Campus & Student Life

Masters in Human Resources


Human Resources Management & Leadership Master's Degree (M.A.) in Germany

Master's Degree in Strategic Human Resources Management - Why should you study it? 

Today, human resources have achieved a powerful position because they provide decisive competitive advantage. Keywords such as shortage of skilled workers, digitalisation of work, changed work-life balance demands of Generation Y, (gender) diversity, sustainable employee management, the discussion about scandals and leadership ethics, and much more dominate the headlines. All areas are embedded in a global strategy and influenced by strong competition, especially for the best talents. Every manager has to face all these aspects and challenges in these times. Do you want to talk to fellow students about practical solutions? Then the English-language Master’s programme Human Resources Management & Leadership at  CBS International Business School is ideally suited for you and opens up career opportunities for you in middle and senior management. In addition to current research and management knowledge, you will shine with team and integration skills, multilingualism, and high application expertise.

Masters in Human Resources Management with a solid business foundation - What are the contents of the course?

Human Resources Management is not just a business management discipline on an international scale. In this master's degree, you acquire all the essential teaching contents, which belong to a Business Master. These include Business Economics, Corporate Governance, Value-Based Management, and Sustainable Supply Chain Management. Elective subjects offer a further individualization option.

Start of Studies
Study Fee*
5.730 €
All facts in detail + -
  • Language English
  • Type of Study Full-time
  • Degree Master of Arts
  • Internship Integrated**
  • Semester Abroad Integrated**
  • Start of Studies Winter Cologne

Study Course Plan

Some information about the study plan for the study programme Masters in HRM and Leadership:

General business teaching units

Business Economics3 ECTS ? !
  • Analysis of demand, supply, and market equilibrium

  • Theory of consumer choice

  • Theory of the firm, production and cost analysis

  • Market structures: perfect competition, monopoly, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, contestable markets

  • Game theory

  • Pricing strategies

  • Factor markets, labor economics

  • Economics of information

  • Industrial organization

  • Limitations of markets and interventions by the government

  • Econometric techniques related to these topics

Empirical Research Methods3 ECTS ? !
  • Development of a research question

  • Primary vs. secondary data

  • Steps of research process

  • Research designs

  • Quantitative and qualitative data

  • Structured methods of data collection: questionnaire and structured interview

  • Un- and semi-structured methods: qualitative interview and focus group

  • Quantitative and qualitative content analysis

  • Ethical considerations of data collection

  • Sampling

  • Data analysis using statistical software programs (SPSS)

  • Univariate analysis, bivariate analysis (crosstab and correlation), multiple linear regression

  • Writing a research report – structural and other formal requirements

Strategic Analysis & Management3 ECTS ? !
  •  Strategy making process and strategic reasoning: cognitive process of strategy 
    creation through the prism of logic and intuition

  • Setting strategic purpose in the context of responsible stakeholder management

  • Advanced external environment analysis: markets, industries and competitive 
    landscapes in static and dynamic perspective in the domestic and international 

  • Diagnosing and managing strategic capability through national borders over time

  • Cultural and institutional context of strategic management: concepts, frameworks 
    and analytical tools

  • Generic and interactive business strategies, inside-out and outside-in perspective on 
    achieving and sustaining competitive advantage internationally

  • Network-level strategies

  • Corporate development and configuration: strategic options and portfolio matrices

  • Strategy formation

  • Strategic change and corporate restructuring

  • Strategic renewal

  • Strategy evaluation and strategic controls: tools and methods

  • Organizing for success

Innovation Management & Digital Transformation3 ECTS ? !
  • Diagnosing the change context: diffusion and dynamics of innovation 

  • Sources & types of innovation

  • Product/service, process & business model innovation

  • Individual and corporate creativity

  • Strategic innovation management & the innovation process incl. New Product Development (NPD)

  • Introduction to digitalization, digital age & digital divide

  • Digital drivers & disruptive forces

  • Technological drivers of digital transformation

  • Socio-technological change associated with the adoption of the mentioned drivers

  • Introduction to the digital organization & digital business models

  • Impact of digitalization on the value chain (Industry 4.0)

  • Digitalization-related innovation theories & technology management

  • Digitalization leadership & organisational transformation concepts

  • Change management & transformational leadership

  • Agility and VUCA world

  • SCRUM and Design Thinking

Programme specific teaching units

Intercultural HR & Diversity Management3 ECTS ? !
  • Introduction to Intercultural HRM, International HRM and Comparative HRM

  • Meaning of Culture & Cultural Transmission

  • Models of Culture: Traditional Models

  • Models of Culture: Developments & Debates

  • Intercultural Communication and Negotiation

  • Leadership & Multicultural Teams

  • Motivation and Exchange in a Cross-Cultural Context

  • Theoretical Foundation on Diversity Management

  • Intercultural Diversity Management Concepts

  • The Social Identity Perspective on Diversity

  • Privilege and power in the workplace

  • The Ethics or Workplace Diversity

  • Conducting a Diversity Audit

International Labour Law & Business Ethics3 ECTS ? !
  • Introduction to International Labour Law and Business Ethics

  • Key facts – labour costs as an economic key factor, labour as a basis of a stable income, dissimilar working conditions

  • Labour law in the EU – different models in different member states

  • The concept of free movement of workers in the EU

  • EU wide principles of non-discrimination, safety, working-time

  • Posted workers in the EU – responsibilities of the host states

  • International Labour Organization

  • ILO’s key objectives and principles

  • Focus: Safety and security at work

  • Focus: Forced Labour - ILO’s objectives and companies’ responsibilities

  • Focus: Child Labour – ILO’s objectives and companies’ responsibilities

  • Focus: Non-discrimination

  • Focus: Maritime Labour – seafarer wages

  • Current challenges

HR Development & Coaching3 ECTS ? !
  • Introduction to HR training & development

  • Needs analysis and various forms of further training and personnel development

  • Instruments and planning of HR development

  • Transfer and evaluation of personnel development measures

  • Performance & Staff appraisals and agreement on objectives

  • The psychology of potential and competence

  • Customer orientation

  • Social competences

  • Group and team dynamics

  • Counselling formats

  • Development of coaching

  • Evaluation and effectiveness of coaching

  • Development phases and intervention methods of coaching

  • E-coaching

  • Anamnesis in the initial interview

  • Typical coaching occasions

  • Dramaturgy of a coaching session and a coaching process

  • Social interactions in the coaching process

  • Methods of coaching

HR Research Techniques & Metrics 3 ECTS ? !
  • HR research objectives

  • Planning the HR research process

  • Types of research and information sources

  • HR research quality evaluation criteria

  • HR metrics

  • Predictive HR analytics

  • Benchmarking studies

  • Collecting, recording and analysing qualitative HR-related data

  • Collecting, recording and analysing quantitative HR-related data

  • HR surveys

  • HR information systems and software for statistical analysis

  • HR Balanced Scorecard

  • Summarizing and communicating research findings and making recommendations

Interdisciplinary competencies

International Project Management2 ECTS ? !
  • Social competence: Communication, motivation, groups and team structures, leadership, conflict management

  • Methodological competence: Structural aspects, time management, cost management, human resource management, creativity and problem solving

  • Organisational competence: Quality management, documentation, risk management, project start and closure

Language & Communication Skills2 ECTS ? !

The “Scholarly Writing and Analysis” course is offered for German native speakers. German as a foreign language is offered as an obligatory course for Non-native German speakers.

General business teaching units

Corporate Social Responsibility3 ECTS ? !
  • Cornerstones of sustainable management

  • CSR as management approach

  • Practical approaches of organizational effectiveness

  • Tools for CSR implementation

  • CSR and financial performance

  • Life cycle assessment

Corporate Governance3 ECTS ? !
  • Historical developments around the world

  • Directors and board structures in different parts of the world

  • Family business governance

  • Role of institutional investors

  • Corporate governance in mergers and acquisitions

  • Socially responsible investments

  • Corporate governance in different regions

Value Based Management3 ECTS ? !
  • Value maximization and corporate objectives, shareholder value and stakeholder value approach

  • Financial measurement of corporate strategies and competitive advantage: the principles

  • Shortcomings of traditional profitability ratios for a value-based management

  • Economic Value Added, Cash Value Added

  • Identifying the drivers of value creation and investment decision-making

  • Management compensation and incentives for value creation

Sustainable Supply Chain Management3 ECTS ? !
  • Defining the state of a sustainable supply chain based on actual trends

  • Discussion of various theoretical concepts (e.g. Stakeholder Theory, Slack Resource Theory) and their implications for sustainable supply chain management

  • Defining a “New Normal” of how to do business (e.g. circular economy, regenerative business models, carbon literacy training)

  • Sustainable Marketing (definition, Green Marketing Strategy Mix, Green Washing and Sustainable Consumer Buying Behaviour)

  • Sustainable Procurement (definition, Sustainable Procurement Process Model with a focus on sustainable supplier relationship management; new trends like circular procurement)

  • Sustainable Logistics

  • Sustainable Design

  • Carbon Emission / Human Rights in global supply chains

Programme specific teaching units

HR Consulting & Project Management Techniques3 ECTS ? !

The course “HR Consulting and Project Management Techniques” introduce students to the main challenges of the modern HR management consulting profession and includes e.g. key problem solving as well as decision making techniques, constituting the main elements of the “advanced toolkit”, commonly used by HR consultants in diverse contexts.

  • HR Management consulting as a management activity

  • Controversies and ethics of HR management consulting

  • HR Consulting engagement as problem solving exercise

  • Analytical and interactive data processing and forecasting methods

  • Analytical problem solving approaches and techniques

  • Creative approaches to problem solving and decision making

  • Evidence-based decision making methods

  • Structured and logical report writing techniques

  • Effective communication techniques

  • Application of different instruments and methods of agile HR work and instruments

Experience Lab: HR Innovation Café3 ECTS ? !
  • Introduction to HR innovations and the philosophy of “New Generation HR”

  • Overview of Contemporary and future HRM

  • Implementation innovative HR approaches, tools, and techniques

  • Best Practices discussions (topics depending on the involved HR practitioners)

  • Impact analysis of selected HR innovations on the company's performance

  • Conditions for a successful implementation (culture, acceptance, etc.)

  • Ethical considerations & sustainability of HR innovations

  • Creating own and new ideas of innovative HR approaches, tools, etc.

Business Project6 ECTS ? !

The overall objective of this course is to provide students with possibility of applying their business knowledge on concrete business situation, related to the field of their specialization.

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Define project goals for the “client”.

  • Work under the set timeframe and agreed project scope.

  • Cooperate in the international project teams.

  • Evaluate markets/ industries/ competitive landscapes.

  • Develop possible strategic directions for the “client” business.

  • Formulate recommendations.

Elective area

Business Elective3 ECTS ? !

A business elective is a business or management-related elective course.By choosing Business Electives in the second and third semester you can personalize your degree course and extend your management knowledge.

Interdisciplinary Elective3 ECTS ? !

By choosing Interdisciplinary Electives in the second and third semester you can personalize your degree course and extend your management knowledge. An interdisciplinary elective is an elective from another discipline than your own specialization.

Interdisciplinary competencies

Emotional Intelligence 2 ECTS ? !
  • Different Inteligencies – IQ vs EQ

  • The role of emotions – daily and work life

  • The construct of Emotional intelligence

  • Emotionally intelligent competencies & skills

  • Skills acquisition – Experiential/action learning

  • Reflection & reflexion

  • Encouraging engagement

  • Developing trust

Programme specific teaching units

Strategic Human Resource Management & Leadership3 ECTS ? !
  • Theory of strategic HRM

  • Strategic HRM and business strategy

  • Strategic HRM and organisational performance

  • Strategic HRM in a complex and uncertain environment

  • Strategic HRM in MNEs vs. SMEs

  • Strategic Staffing

  • Strategic Training and Develop Management

  • Strategic Compensation and Rewards

  • Strategic HRM and Sustainability

  • Leadership Theories / Models and Leadership Traits

  • Leadership Styles

  • Cognitive, Behavioural, and Emotional Explanation for Human Motivation

  • Performance Management and Controlling

  • Leadership Tools

Corporate Development & Business Transformation3 ECTS ? !
  • Organisations and Organisational Effectiveness

  • Organisational Theory

  • Basic Challenges of Organisational Planning and Development

  • Organisational Design

  • Management in Organisational and Ethical Culture

  • Organisational Life Cycle

  • Organisational Decision Making

  • Organisational Development and Change

  • Change Management in Mergers and Acquisitions

Sustainable Leadership & Employee Relationship Management3 ECTS ? !
  • Main Concepts in Employment Relations

  • Leadership construct and different perspectives

  • Leadership relationships (leader, led)

  • Interactional, personal and situational aspects of leadership

  • Leadership effectiveness

  • Theoretical explanations of the development of the leadership relationship (e.g. leader-member exchange theory)

  • Selected fields of leadership

  • Work-life balance

  • Different approaches to leadership styles & different leadership tools

  • Significant and current developments in organizational practice and corresponding consequences for leadership in organizations

  • Strategies of Employee Relationship Management (ERM), employees as internal customers

  • Importance of emotional intelligence in employee relationship management (ERM)

  • International and comparative employment relations

  • Employee relations and CSR

New Work & Digital HRM3 ECTS ? !
  • Image of humanity

  • Changing (social) values

  • Forms of New Work

  • Self-direction, Self-control, Self-Guidance

  • Holacracy

  • Big Data and HR Analytics

  • Digital competences

  • Digital technologies and their significance for HR

  • Active Sourcing & Social Media Recruiting

  • Use of software and mobile applications in further selected HR functions (HR training & development; HR compensation & benefits, HR service)

Venture Lab4 ECTS ? !
  • Discovering and evaluating entrepreneurial opportunities

  • Developing business ideas from opportunities (e.g. based on using Design Thinking, Personas and User Stories).

  • Feasibility analysis of business ideas

  • Transferring the idea into a Business Model

  • Business Model and its building blocks (value proposition, customers segments, channels, customer relationships, revenue model, key partners, key activities, key resources, cost structure)

  • Business Plan: Introduction, Sample Case and General Outline

  • Developing the details of the business plan

  • Finding sources of financing: Business angels; Private equity; Start up financing; Venture capital investors

  • Preparing a pitch deck for successfully presenting the new venture business plan

Integrative Case Studies3 ECTS ? !
  • Focused review of the curriculum content

  • Pre-assessment quiz/ content area assessment as benchmark for students’ status quo

  • Guide and Strategic Plan to Case Study Analysis

  • Writing a proper Case Study Analysis report

  • Developing proper answers to Case questions, applying the relevant theoretical knowledge and frameworks

  • In-depth Case Study Analysis with focus all subject areas of the curriculum

  • In-depth Case Study Analysis with special focus on Strategic Management

Business Simulation Game3 ECTS ? !

In a business simulation game participants have to manage their own virtual company which operates in the same market as other participant-operated competitors. This involves making typical management decisions in realistic environments. Beside the deepening and active examination of subject-specific knowledge the simulation games also include the team environment, where interaction, communication and prioritization are of paramount importance. Participants learn how to manage risk and uncertainty while time is limited and information constrained. Group-reflections help to take over different perspectives and to discuss pros and cons of content- as well as behavior-related actions.

Master Thesis Tutorial2 ECTS ? !

During the Master Thesis Tutorial you will learn the fundamentals for your Master thesis: Defining the topic as well as structuring the thesis and you will learn the theoretical knowledge for scientific working.

Elective area

Business Elective3 ECTS ? !

A business elective is a business or management-related elective course.By choosing Business Electives in the second and third semester you can personalize your degree course and extend your management knowledge.

Interdisciplinary Elective3 ECTS ? !

By choosing Interdisciplinary Electives in the second and third semester you can personalize your degree course and extend your management knowledge. An interdisciplinary elective is an elective from another discipline than your own specialization.

Interdisciplinary competencies

Organizational Storytelling2 ECTS ? !
  • The evolution of storytelling

  • What storytelling looks like in a variety of organisational contexts

  • Criteria for successful storytelling

  • Case studies and successful storytelling campaigns

  • Character development

  • What do you want to say?: guidelines for taglines, quotes and copy

  • Storyboarding and plot development

Programme specific teaching units

Master Thesis18 ECTS ? !

During your 4th semester you are working on your Master thesis. You have 19 weeks to complete your thesis and the subject is freely selectable. A supervisor from CBS will support you and you can write the thesis in collaboration with a company as well. Or you can write your thesis in connection with a stay abroad.

Internship or Study Abroad10 ECTS ? !

You can choose between an internship (lasting at least eight weeks) or a semester abroad at one of our partner universities.

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Human Resources Management & Leadership & English

The in-depth HRM teaching contents are already anchored in the first semester. Here, you will look at the impact of globalization on human resources management. What things should be decentralized? How to deal with the idiosyncrasies of different cultures? And how do you ensure a good relationship with the stakeholders? In the second semester, you will learn how company strategies can be translated into mature HR strategies, and how long-term personnel decisions can influence the future of companies. And because HRM on an international level requires absolutely stellar English skills, the study language is English.

Mastering leadership challenges

In corporate management questions are on the agenda, which go far beyond the human resources sector. In the second semester, you will learn how companies are further developed and how organisations are designed. In the third semester, you will learn to recognize, analyse and deal with imbalances of power and inequalities in organisations. Aditionally, you measure your skills in comparison to your fellow students in a business simulation game. This is how you can test the knowledge you will have acquired until then.

Experience practically the real thing

For you to best apply your knowledge after graduation, the practical reference during your studies at CBS provides a unique advantage. A business project, a business simulation game and an  internship at a company in Germany or abroad help prepare you for a career in the real world.

You will learn how to convince investors, partners and managing directors in the Innovation Lab - Business Plan Writing and Pitching and advance skills in the Capstone Simulation Game. In this digital business game, you take business decisions with your team and put your business know-how into practice.

For many of our students, the practical relevance is also of interest when composing their Master’s thesis. This is because the work you write in the fourth semester is often written within the framework of an internship. Alternatively, you have the opportunity to write your thesis as part of a semester abroad.

Flexibility for your Master’s Thesis

In the fourth semester you can concentrate fully on your Human Resources Management Master’s Thesis. Many of our students take advantage of the opportunity to write their thesis alongside an internship with a company. Alternatively you may choose to write your thesis during an international stay at one of our numerous partner universities.

This is what our students say

Philip Kollmann
Project Manager
Wayne´s Coffee

"Especially the soft skill courses have been of great help for my performance in job interviews. Through my work in the Finance and Business Club I have built up a broad network and acquired project management skills that have enabled me to score points with companies."

Katrin Rieger
Bereichsdirektorin Reisevertrieb Deutschland / Vice President Sales
HanseMerkur Krankenversicherung

"The practical learning in small groups prepared me optimally for today's project and team work. The CBS provided me with the decisive soft skills and current knowledge from the world of business."

Christopher Rosenbaum
Ernst & Young GmbH

"The Management Studies programme prepares you thoroughly for the tasks of a consultant. In particular, the development of presentation techniques as well as analytical thinking is of enormous importance in the everyday life of a consultant."

Oliver Kiderle
EMEA Regional Product Expert
Google Inc.

"The focus on internationality and practical skills have had a very positive influence on my development at Google. Especially the structured and very versatile project work, which is often found at a private school, was extremely helpful."

Kalle Kenkel
Commercial Excellence Manager
GE Healthcare

"My studies at CBS prepared me for a career in today's dynamic, global work environment. As one's origin and physical location become less and less decisive, it has become increasingly important to have a multinational network and adapt quickly to various cultures and environments."

Neil Jordaan
Global Digital Content Manager

"Many professors shared their professional business experience with us in class and were able to illustrate dry theory with practical examples. I also enjoyed the international atmosphere on campus."

Patrick Stein
Head of Human Resources
Boston Consulting Group

"The strongly practice-oriented studies and the international orientation of the CBS, as well as the lectures held in English, were an absolutely necessary basis for starting a career with a renowned, international company."

Learn more about us and our graduate programmes

You would like to inform yourself about our Bachelor and Master programs at home in peace? Request your information material now without obligation and free of charge, and we will be happy to send you our study information material by e-mail.

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Mirjam Zimmermann

Mirjam Zimmermann

Study advisory: Campus Mainz
Got any questions? We are happy to help!

Phone: +49 (0) 6131 88055 31
WhatsApp: Reach us on WhatsApp
Giulia Balzan

Giulia Balzan

Study advisory 
Got any questions? We are happy to help!

Phone: +49 (0) 221 931809 31
WhatsApp: Reach us on WhatsApp
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