Networks in Business and Economics

The network perspective on today’s great challenges in business and society

You will learn to recognize, understand and analyze societal and business problems in which networks are key, from a broad multidisciplinary perspective. You learn to combine methods, concepts, tools and techniques from economics, business sciences, operations research, and mathematical network theory. You learn about the key differences and similarities between physical (transport and logistics), virtual (digital), social and knowledge networks; and how these networks and their actors complement, interact, and compete in the real world – shaping much of today’s society.

Fundamentals of Network Analysis (6 ects)
This course offers methodological modules in Economics, Logistics, and Operations Research. You become acquainted with different methodologies – from different disciplinary backgrounds – for analyzing networks, and learn to see how these complement each other.

Supply Chain Network Design (6 ects)
You learn how to design and redesign supply chain networks by using mathematical techniques. By addressing real-life case studies and with a practical approach, we investigate topics such as facility location, and networks with multiple products and multiple production sites.

Economics of Transport and Network Markets (6 ects)
You learn how networks affect demand and supply in markets, and therewith the (in-)efficiency of market outcomes, and how to evaluate policies addressing this. We study physical networks like transport; communication networks; innovation networks; and networks of R&D collaborating firms.

Network Analytics and Game Theory (6 ects)
You will become acquainted with some frontier topics in network theory, in its relation to game theory and Operations Research. You will learn to model problem situations mathematically, and adapt the methods learned to new situations at hand.

Assignment for Networks in Business and Economics (6 ects)
Through the assignment you demonstrate that you can recognize, understand and analyze societal and business problems in which networks are central, selecting and applying appropriate techniques; and that you can communicate and advise on these matters at an academic level.

Colloquium (complimentary)
The colloquium consists of bi-weekly lunch seminars by research staff from the different participating groups. You will see recent developments in the research of the teaching staff and their groups, and join the academic discussions with the staff members.

The minor addresses a very relevant theme in contemporary society and businesses, and offers the student a rather broad yet coherent multidisciplinary perspective and analytical toolkit for studying this. We therefore expect especially interest from the following groups:

  • Within SBE: bachelor students with a specialization or at least interest in logistics, business, operations research, mathematical economics, spatial and transport economics, general economics, and industrial organization;
  • Other VU faculties: students with an interest in networks;
  • Outside the VU and The Netherlands: students with an interest in the network theme, including physical networks like transport and logistics, as well as virtual social and innovation networks.

Because of the chosen structure, in which in period 3.1 a 200 methods course is provided to bring all the students to the right level to enter the 300 courses in period 3.2, no further entry requirements apply under the assumption that by the end of the second year students have taken an academic core with sufficient emphasis on analytical and mathematical skills.

VU student: you can register for the courses of the minor via VUnet from 15 July.
Other students: you can register as a secondary course student (bijvak) via More information about this procedure can be found on this website in Dutch or in English.

If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact:
Erik Verhoef | Phone: 020-5986094  E-mail:

Samenvatting Networks in Business and Economics




1 semester (30 EC)


1 September


Economie, Recht en Bestuur
Gedrag en Maatschappij
Informatica, Wiskunde en Bedrijf


School of Business and Economics