Master's Degree in Leading Innovative Organizations.

Do you have the ability to visualize and anticipate the impact and benefits of digitization on both innovative start-up companies as well as already established companies? LIO provides you with the expertise required to become a strong business leader in this very exciting field, helping to create highly successful organizations.

The ability to be mobile despite climate change or enjoy prosperity despite the growth limits... Creative business leaders need to find innovative solutions to not only address the immense challenges we face, but to also accommodate our everyday needs. The Master's degree program "Leading Innovative Organizations (LIO)" provides you with the expertise you need to turn your ideas into new products, services, and processes.

Digitization and globalization are driving the search to find tomorrow's solutions. Successful business leaders understand these megatrends and work proactively to shape the future by making strong - and sometimes daring - decisions. We work together with you to hone your skill set so that your business decisions remain flexible and solution-oriented in this rapidly growing and exciting field.

The program has been designed for high potential students, 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 the business challenges of the future.

Key Facts


Master of Science (MSc)


2 semesters/15 months, incl. Master's Thesis


120 Credits


English (Level C1)





Program Spots


Apply by January 31, 2020 for the 2020/21 academic year Here you find detailed information about the application procedure.


Why This Degree is Particularly Attractive

  • The LIO Master's degree program is a career advantage: We highly recommend the program for potential business leaders at innovative organizations.
  • Unique in German-speaking Europe: You can earn a graduate degree in just two semesters of a full-time program (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 the completion of a Master's thesis during the post-term period.
  • Be Fit for the Future: Taught by leading faculty members, the program focuses on professional expertise and methodological skills as well as learning to approach topics from different perspectives and implementing real-world solutions.
  • High-quality, demanding program in an ideal group size of no more than 40 students.
  • Modern teaching methods and an international team guarantee a superlative learning experience. The program also includes honing professional expertise, analytical, social, and intercultural skills.

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 activity 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 who aspire to a career in management at innovative companies:

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

What You Will Learn in the Program

We provide you with professional expertise as well as managerial and scientific methodological skills in the areas of organization and leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, digital economics, and data-driven management.

  • 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: You will experience cutting-edge academic, scientific, and real-world practices combined with deep insight into the demands business leaders and organizations are facing today as well as in the future.
  • Digitization as a Technical, Social, and Economic Transformation: A strong focus on expertise in principles of digitization, big data, logistics, supply chains, etc. You will come to understand the drivers and impact of digitization as the basis for making future-oriented management decisions.
  • Scientific Methodological Expertise: We will show you how to create a database and use it to make evidence-based decisions. You will learn a systematic approach to problem-solving in every day management tasks.

Career Prospects

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

  • As a manager responsible for innovative issues in dynamic business areas
  • As a project manager for innovation, business development or change projects
  • As a business consultant and innovation manager - either independently or at large consulting firms
  • As a business entrepreneur (strategic and organizational areas)
  • As a manager for interest groups, media companies and agencies
„Our Master's degree program has been designed to not only hone professional and social skills, but also support creativity and an entrepreneurial way of thinking so that ambitious business leaders can successfully face new challenges and seize the opportunities of digitization.“
Univ. Prof. Dr. Elke Schüßler
Academic Program Director and Head of the Institute of Organization Science

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


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 motivated to attend a full-time, Master's degree program (120 ECTS credits) and be part of an 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

Apply by January 31, 2020 for the 2020/21 academic year Here you find detailed information about the application procedure.


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.

Advanced Degree Programs

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. In principle, the degree program is very demanding and time-consuming, especially as it is an on-site program that takes place at the JKU (9 months). * Students can, however, work during the pre-term preparation period (summer school, distance learning) and when completing the final work on a Master's thesis.

*Our Tip: Use the opportunity to take an educational leave-of-absence for up to 12 months in order to concentrate completely on your studies. Click here for detailed information about submitting an application, possible variations to take leave, and financial support.

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 is also scientific in addition to academic. Students in the LIO program are not required to have previous leadership and management experience (as is often a pre-requisite for many MBA programs).

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.

What electives should I take?

You are free to choose your elective courses. We recommend, however, that students in the LIO program choose electives that supplement their undergraduate education with the following basic pillars in the LIO program:

  • Social theoretical foundations of management (psychology, sociology, economics)
  • Business administration (finance, accounting, management)
  • Business informatics, analytics and statistics

So if, for example, you have a biology or engineering background, you most likely have strong analytical skills but may want to expand on your knowledge of social theory and business administration beyond the basic courses in the LIO program which, for instance, do not have a strong emphasis on finance and accounting. Conversely, if you have an undergraduate degree in business administration, you may want to take elective courses in programming or business informatics to learn more about this field. If you have an academic background in social sciences or humanities, we recommend focusing on taking some basic business administration courses in addition to improving your understanding of statistics and mathematics. If you earned your undergraduate degree at a university of applied sciences, we recommend completing a few theory-oriented courses.

JKU offers a range of courses in all of these areas which students can attend. An overview of courses offered in English is available here: 

Business and Economics Courses

Computer Science Courses

Information is available on the Computer Science website.

Courses at the Catholic Private University Linz

A cooperation between JKU and the Catholic Private University Linz allows you to also attend courses from the KU Linz International Semester.

In case of interest, please also list the course(s) on your Erasmus+ Learning Agreement or Preliminary Course Request Form. 

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.

Still Have Questions?

Do you need help registering or do you have questions about the program? Contact the JKU's Office of Student Information and Academic Advising (SIBS)!

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