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

The Business School’s one-year Master's degree program.

Do you understand just how digitalization can influence and impact start-up companies? Are you ready to manage the digital transformation at firmly established companies, and/or develop new products and services? Perhaps you want to launch your own innovative start-up company, or harness your creativity in support of a more sustainable and fair organization?

Leading Innovative Organizations (LIO) is a unique one-year Master's degree program giving you unparalleled expertise to establish, lead, and manage a successful, innovative, and sustainable organization.

Designed as a graduate degree program for those who wish to complete a Master’s degree quickly and without sacrificing quality, the program is custom tailored to driven and ambitious students aiming to become an entrepreneur or enter the workforce.

The LIO Master’s degree program can help you pursue your dreams, visions, and goals, turning you into an accomplished entrepreneur, a skilled leader, or a highly qualified and skilled employee.

Page Content

Key Facts


Master of Science (MSc)


2 semesters, one short virtual "Summer School", the Master's thesis


120 Credits


English (Level C1)


JKU, Linz



Spots in the Program


Application for the academic year 2024/25

Information on the start of studies and admissions procedure will be available soon.

Why This Degree Program is Particularly Attractive

  • It’s your professional, competitive advantage. You can expect to study a unique combination of subject areas ranging from digital business management to leadership skills.
  • A unique format. Earn a European MSc degree in just two semesters of full-time study, complemented with a virtual "summer school", and completing a Master's thesis after successful completion of the courses.
  • Qualified for business. Our faculty members are leading academics and business professionals and can help you hone your professional, analytical, social, and intercultural skills.
  • Personal contact and interaction. As each cohort is only a maximum of 40 students, you have direct, personal contact to the Business School as well as to your fellow classmates.
  • A unique learning experience. Our use of advanced interactive and digital educational methods guarantee an enriching, well-coordinated learning experience.


Program Structure

The graduate degree program LIO consists of a pre-term "Summer School" session (remote learning), a 9-month on-site, in-person phase at the JKU (September - June), and successfully completing a Master's thesis between July and September. You decide how you would like to add the electives to your schedule.


Pre-Term / Summer School

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 business models; programming and data management, 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, experience-based, practice-oriented and corresponding insight that enable you to become a knowledge-broker between current research and business practices, exploitation and exploration, growth and sustainability, as well as individuals, and groups.

  • Leadership, Intercultural Management, Group Dynamics: How can I be a better leader? How do I get a team to achieve its goals? How do I deal with employees who have diverse backgrounds and/or different cultural backgrounds?
  • Leadership, Innovation and Organization: How can I create an organization that encourages and supports innovation and creativity? How do I lead and manage creative teams and individuals? How can I harness inter-organizational relationships to foster innovation?
  • Entrepreneurship: What makes an entrepreneur successful? What are the social impacts of entrepreneurship? In both economic and social terms, how can entrepreneurial ventures remain sustainable?
  • Understanding Digital Transformation: What kind of technical, organizational, social, and economic foundations support a digital economy? How exactly do digital business models work? How are digital platforms organized? How can I use big data to make forward-looking management decisions? How is software developed and applied?
  • Scientific Methods: How do I develop a research question? How do I find information to support my research? How do I collect and analyze empirical data using accurate, state-of-the-art scientific methods? How do I use scientific methods to improve my ability to systematically address complex real-world issues?
  • The Fundamentals of Business Administration: What are the foundations of corporate governance and control? How do I read a balance sheet? What are corresponding financial ratios, particularly in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship? How do I develop a successful strategy involving various stakeholders?
  • Analytical Skills: How do I develop programs and data models to support making better decisions and streamline business processes? What kind of software tools can I use effectively to help make decisions and find solutions? What are some heuristics I can use to address specific management situations?

The Target Group

As the graduate degree program Leading Innovative Organizations is primarily intended for driven, ambitious students aspiring to management positions and/or an entrepreneurial career in both the profit and non-profit sectors, we welcome applications from:

  • Students who have an academic background in business administration, but also graduates in other majors, and who show a high level of commitment and interest in developing and growing innovative, successful, and sustainable organizations.
  • Young professionals who
    • are about to complete a trainee program and who are eligible to take a one-year leave of absence
    • are currently working at a company and are eligible to take a one-year educational leave of absence
    • have professional experience and are looking to change careers

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 departments or divisions
  • a project manager or expert in the areas of innovation, business development, and change projects
  • a business consultant responsible for organizational and strategic development, either independently or at large consulting firms
  • an intrapreneur at companies and at other organizations, such as NPOs, non-profit organizations, social companies, think-tanks, or other 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 € 3.625.

„The LIO program is a great opportunity for those seeking a personal challenge and the latest academic understanding of pressing issues in the current working world, together with a diverse team of international students coming from a wide variety of professional backgrounds. This is a comprehensive package that attracted me to this short, intensive program. In addition to the innovative and cutting-edge course content, the unique LIO culture is the perfect environment to grow personally and be inspired, helping to boost professional development and further an academic career.“
Mario Stich, LIO Class of 2021/2022 & Head of Digital Marketing at
voestalpine steel division
[Translate to Englisch:] Mario Stich, Absolvent Master LIO, JKU Linz

Admission to Studies


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

Please note:

  • You need strong time management skills, a sense of motivation, and a willingness to study as a student in a full-time Master's degree program (120 ECTS credits) and the ability to work effectively with an international group of like-minded students under demanding conditions in order to earn a graduate degree in just two semesters.

Still Have Questions?

Then contact us!


Admissions Office


Bank Building

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.

Application for the academic year 2024/25

Information on the start of studies and admissions procedure will be available soon.

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: lio(at) 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:

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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