Master's Degree in Leading Innovative Organizations.

The Business School’s “Fast-Track” program.

Do you have the ability to visualize the impact of digitization on both innovative start-up companies and firmly established companies? Can you use your creativity to find solutions to social issues? The one-year Master’s degree program LIO provides you with expertise to build and lead successful, innovative and sustainable organizations.

The program has been designed for students who have high potential, budding entrepreneurs as well as aspiring or already established business leaders at companies and other organizations (such as NPOs, think tanks, or interest groups) who aim to confidently master future business challenges.

Why This Degree is Particularly Attractive

  • The LIO program is your professional competitive edge: The unique combination of subjects paves the way to pursue excellent leadership opportunities.
  • The program is unique in German-speaking Europe: Earn a Master's degree in just two semesters of full-time study (9 months of mandatory attendance). The program includes a pre-term period in the form of a summer school program (mainly via distance learning) and completing a Master's thesis during the post-term period.
  • Fit for the future: Taught by experienced research and teaching faculty, the program focuses on developing your professional expertise and methodological skills as well as teaching you to approach topics from different perspectives and implement real-world solutions.
  • Low student-to-faculty ratio: As part of a small cohort of just 40 students max, this high-quality program is interesting and challenging.
  • Unique learning experience: Modern educational methods and an international team of experts ensure a well-coordinated and stimulating learning experience. Students also hone their professional, analytical, social and intercultural skills.

Key Facts


Master of Science (MSc)


2 semesters, meaning 15 mos. incl. Master's Thesis


120 credits


English (Level C1)





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Program Structure

The Master's degree program Leading Innovative Organizations (LIO) consists of a pre-term (distance learning) phase, on-site 9-month mandatory attendance at the JKU, and a period to complete the required Master's thesis (post-term). You are free to choose your elective classes and take them during your studies.


Pre-Term / Boot Camp

Winter Semester / Capacity Building 35
Summer Semester / Capacity Integration 35
Post-Term / Master's Thesis 22
Electives 12

Areas of Specialization

We focus on a sound, holistic educational program in management and scientific methodology that includes deeper insight into the following subject areas:

  • Organization & Leadership: Strategic organizational design; organizational cultural dynamics; developing creative teams; managing innovation networks; human resource management and development;
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Organization and innovation; entrepreneurial activities for start-up companies and establishing organizations; agile and community-based management approaches; sharing economy; designing innovation processes; modern marketing approaches for the digital age; open strategy
  • Digital Economy and Data-Driven Management: Digital organizational forms and business models; digital supply chain management; data management (big data); business intelligence and algorithms

The Target Group

The Master's degree program Leading Innovative Organizations has been designed for high potential students aspiring toward a management career at innovative companies:

  • Business undergraduates who demonstrate a high level of promise and commitment
  • Highly gifted and promising students who
    • have no current commitment to a company after completing a Bachelor's degree (non-consecutive)
    • are completing a company traineeship program and can take a year-long leave of absence - with professional traineeship experience
    • are currently working at a company and can take a year-long sabbatical and/or those who wish to change careers (educational leave of absence) - with professional work experience

Video about the Program

Information Video about the graduate degree program LIO

What You Will Learn in the Program

We provide you with research-driven and experience-based learning in the areas of organization and leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, the digital economy, and data-driven management. Additionally, we will refine your skills to conduct independent research.

  • Leadership, Intercultural Management, Group Dynamics: How do I define my leadership style? How do I drive a team and group processes, and how do I deal with employees in an intercultural context?
  • Leadership, Innovation and Organization: How can I design an organization that fosters innovation and creativity? How do I manage creative teams and individuals? How can I leverage inter-organizational relationships to enhance innovation?
  • Entrepreneurship: What makes an entrepreneur successful? What are the social impacts of entrepreneurship? How can entrepreneurial ventures be sustainable in both economic and social terms?
  • Understanding Digital Transformation: What are the technical, organizational, social and economic foundations for a digital economy? How do digital business models work? How are digital platforms organized? How can I leverage big data in order to make future-oriented management decisions? How are algorithms developed and applied?
  • Scientific Methods: How are research questions developed? How do I find information to support my research? How do I collect and analyze empirical data using quantitative and qualitative methods?
  • The Fundamentals of Business Administration: What are the foundations of business management and leadership? How do I read a balance sheet? What are relevant financial ratios, particularly in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship? How do I develop a successful digital marketing strategy?
  • Analytical Skills: How do I develop data models in order to make better decisions? What is an algorithm's mathematical base? What kind of heuristics can I apply? What kind of software tools can I use effectively to help make decisions and find solutions?

Your Career Prospects

Whether at a start-up company or at large companies, you can use your expertise and acquired skills:

  • As a leader responsible for driving innovation in dynamic business areas or units
  • As a project manager for innovation, business development, or change projects
  • As a business consultant responsible for organizational and strategy development - either independently or at large consulting firms
  • As an entrepreneur or intrapreneur at companies and other organizations, such as NPOs, think tanks, and interest groups
„After many years of working as a project manager, LIO proved to be a real career changer – it brought me into the world of research and academia. Thanks to the inspiring interactions with students and professors, the high quality of evidence-based teaching, and the new perspectives on complex links in business and society, LIO provided excellent foundations for my doctoral studies and my current role as a university assistant.“
Marcella Krawinkler
Student Leading Innovative Organizations

Admission to Studies


In order to be admitted to the Master's degree program, you must fulfill the following requirements.

Please note:

  • Students must be willing and highly motivated to attend a full-time, Master's degree program (120 ECTS credits) and be part of an active international group of like-minded students under demanding conditions in order to complete the program in just two semesters (9 months of mandatory attendance at the JKU, program concludes with a Master's thesis, as well as a pre-term period in the form of a summer school program (primarily via distance learning). 

Still Have Questions?

Then contact us!


Admissions Office


Bank Building


1st Floor, Room 113A/B


+43 732 2468 2010

Start Your Studies - A Step-by-Step Guide

Here is a step-by-step guide to the admissions procedure beginning with entering your personal information to paying tuition fees! We have also summarized all of the important information about the admissions procedure for you.

Program Details

If you would like to learn more about the Master's degree program in Leading Innovative Organizatioins, we strongly recommend taking a look at the curriculum. In addition, we have separately summarized a few details for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I take the GMAT test?

The GMAT® (Graduate Management Admission Test) is a standardized, internationally recognized examination. PLEASE NOTE: The GMAT requires preparation and registering for a certain test date. Spots are limited. There are fees to take the GMAT test. Click here for information about preparing for the GMAT, registration procedures, content, and the schedule.

How much can I expect to pay for materials and
fees in order to take the GMAT test?

The examination fee in Austria is currently USD $250 (last update: April 2019). In addition, there may be fees to take preparation courses – there are different ways to prepare for the GMAT. Click here for detailed information.

How much time do I have to invest to take the GMAT test?
(Especially if I do not hold a business degree?)

It is recommended to give yourself 6 months to prepare for the GMAT. Many graduates suggest a minimum study time of 8 weeks prior to taking the test providing you are already familiar with the content. Click here for detailed information and to download an 8-week study plan.

Can I work while completing the program?

No. As the degree program is very demanding and time-consuming, you need to be fully committed to studying full-time for a 12-month period. Students who already have a background in business administration and management may be able to work a few hours during the pre-term distance learning period.

We advise students who already have a full-time job in Austria to take an educational leave-of-absence in order to fully concentrate on their studies.

Other students, particularly those starting the Master’s degree program right after completing a Bachelor’s degree, must ensure they can adequately finance themselves for 12 months as working even part-time will not be feasible in addition to completing the LIO program due to the program’s highly condensed nature.

What is an educational leave-of-absence and how do I apply for one?

You do not have to quit your job in order to enroll full-time in the Master's degree program "Leading Innovative Organizations". In Austria, you can apply for an educational leave-of-absence for a maximum period of 12 months. You must speak with your employer about taking a leave-of-absence for educational purposes and submit an application to the Public Employment Service. Click here for detailed information about the application procedure, possible variations and financial aid.

What is the difference between an Innovation Management degree
at a university of applied sciences and LIO?

LIO aims to go far beyond simple "employability", meaning just getting a job: We do not create experts, but rather entrepreneurial-thinking managers and successful business leaders. We therefore move away from a purely functional level (the "How?"). The program focuses on principles and correlations (the "Why?"). You learn how to look at the multiple perspectives of innovation, leadership and organization, honing your skills to think outside of the box; the Master's degree program in Leading Innovative Organizations at the JKU focuses strongly on strategic issues.

What is the difference compared to an MBA program?

Unlike an MBA program, an MSc program consists of a regular academic curriculum and is worth 120 ECTS credits. Also, the LIO graduate degree program focuses on specific subjects such as leadership, organization, entrepreneurship and the digital economy while also honing your general management skills. Students wishing to enroll in the LIO program are not required to show previous professional experience in leadership and management (which many MBA programs often require).

Are there tuition fees for the LIO program?

General regulations for tuition fees at public Austrian universities apply to the LIO program. Click here for detailed information.

How can I earn a full-fledged Master's degree in just two semesters?

LIO is a demanding and intensive degree program that will require your full attention during the two semesters. You will have to sacrifice the one or the other weekend during the program. You will, however, have some breaks in between as this is also didactically important.

How do I enroll my studies at the JKU?

From the online pre-registration procedure to paying tuition fees - here you will find everything you need to know to help you take your first step to enroll!

Where can I live?

There are many student dormitories located in close proximity to the campus. An overview is available here.

We can provide assistance for students enrolled in the LIO program to procure housing at the International Student Centre "Julius Raab Heim". You can move into the Raab Heim starting in July, or later. However, since room availability is limited, we ask you to apply for housing as soon as possible.

Please note: Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee procuring accommodations for you as our quota of rooms at the International Student Center "Julias Raab Heim" is limited.

How do I apply for a room at the International Student Center "Julias Raab Heim"?

  • Step 1: Send an email to: requesting assistance in getting accommodations. We will then send a list of all enrolled students in the LIO program to the International Student Center "Julius Raab Heim".
  • Step 2: Register at the International Student Center "Julius Raab Heim" at the following link. When completing the form, be sure to include "Intended degree program: LIO Master's Program" on the form.

Program Management

Are you interested in the Master's degree program in Leading Innovative Organizations? Please make an appointment in advanced for individual consultation or stop by during our office hours:
Monday 1:00 - 4:00 PM, Wednesday 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM.

Tanja Desgeorges, MA
Management Center, 2nd Floor, Rm. 211 B 
+43 732 2468 3073


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Advanced Degree Programs

After successfully completing the Master's degree program, you can opt to pursue a doctorate degree:

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