Master's Degree in Leading Innovative Organizations (LIO).

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.


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Key Facts


Master of Science (MSc)


2 semesters, meaning 15 months, incl. the Master's Thesis


120 Credits


English (Level C1)





Spots in the Program


Apply for the 2023/2024 academic year! Click here for detailed information about the application procedure.

Apply for Admission

Why This Degree Program is Particularly Attractive

  • The LIO graduate degree 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 and a pre-term and post-term).
  • Fit for the future: Together with company partners, leading academics focus on developing your professional, analytical, social and intercultural skills.
  • 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.


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

Program Information

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

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

Video about the Master's program Leading Innovative Organizations

Program Director Univ. Prof. Dr. Elke Schüßler and Sandra Suleiman, BSc-, a student in the program, talk about the LIO program at the Johannes Kepler University:


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Additonal Videos about the Program

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?

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

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

On average, graduates in this field find a job immediately after completing the program. After 3 years on the job, their average monthly gross salary is € 3.483.

„After many years of working as a project manager, LIO proved to be a real career changer by introducing me to the world of research and academia. Thanks to inspiring interaction with students and professors, the high quality of evidence-based education, and the new perspectives about complex links in business and society, LIO provided an excellent foundation to pursue a doctorate degree and embark on my current role as a graduate teaching assistant.“
Marcella Krawinkler
Student in the Leading Innovative Organizations program

Admission to Studies


In order to be admitted to the LIO program, you must fulfill the following requirements.

Please note:

  • Students must be highly motivated and committed to attending a full-time, Master's degree program (120 ECTS credits) and open to being part of an active, international group of like-minded students. The two-semester program is demanding: 9 months of mandatory, on-site attendance at the JKU, the program concludes with a Master's thesis, and there is a pre-term period in the form of a summer school program  (primarily via distance learning). 

Still Have Questions?

Then contact us!


Admissions Office


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Apply Now - 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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, opens an external URL in a new window for information about preparing for the GMAT, registration procedures, content, and the schedule.

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, opens an external URL in a new window for detailed information.

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, opens an external URL in a new window for detailed information and to download an 8-week study plan.

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.

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, opens an external URL in a new window for detailed information about the application procedure, possible variations and financial aid.

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.

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).

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

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.

There are many student dormitories located in close proximity to the campus. Click here for an overview.

We can help students enrolled in the LIO program obtain housing at the International Student Centre "Julius Raab Heim", opens an external URL in a new window. You can move into the Raab Heim starting in July, or later. However, as room availability is limited, we ask that you to apply for housing as soon as possible.

Please note that unfortunately we cannot guarantee housing at the Julius Raab Heim as our quota of rooms is limited.

How do I apply for a room at the "Julius Raab Heim"?

  • Step 1: Send an e-mail to: to request housing assistance. We will send a list of all of the enrolled LIO students to the International Student Center "Julius Raab Heim".
  • Step 2: Click here, opens an external URL in a new window to register at the "Julius Raab Heim"  When completing the form, be sure to enter "Intended degree program: LIO Master's degree program" on the form.

Program Management

Are you interested in the Master's degree program in Leading Innovative Organizations? Please make an appointment in advance for individual consultation:

Alina Morales
Hochschulfond Building, 2nd Floor, Rm. 215
+43 732 2468 4442

Christian Hölzlwimmer
Management Center, 2nd Floor, 211B
+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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