Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


Core learning outcomes:

  • Understanding different views about the causes of poverty
  • Understanding the concept of market-based development, including the most common approaches
  • Recognizing when market-based development approaches may be appropriate, and how market-based development supplements other development approaches
  • Develop critical thinking skills to assess how well an intervention is embedded in the local context
  • Understanding the need for multi-stakeholder partnerships in market-based development, and how to assemble and manage these partnerships
  • Critically assessing the ethics involved in market-based development, especially the impact of unequal power balances

Credits: 6

Schedule: 14.09.2021 - 21.10.2021

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Patrick Shulist

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The course introduces the concept of market-based development as it is broadly undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and other developing contexts; collectively, the Global South. Market-based development does not offer a panacea for poverty-alleviation, but rather offers a powerful set of tools that work in some situations. As such, we will discuss when market-based approaches, such as microfinance, value-chain development, entrepreneurial training, and last-mile provisions, are appropriate and effective. Moreover, we will help students understand how to effectively structure interventions by focusing on three key pillars:

    • Context: interventions must be appropriately tailored to the specific political, institutional, scarcity, and historical contexts.
    • Partnerships: given the complexity of market-based development, partnerships involving different NGOs, businesses, and government entities are critical.
    • Ethics: it is imperative to understand the fundamental power imbalances at play, as well as the importance of not presupposing that outsiders (especially Europeans versed in a different institutional context) know what is best for local communities.

    To help us understand the complexities and nuances of all of these topics, the course will have a number of guest speakers who represent a cross-section of the actors involved in market-based development. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to integrate this learning by undertaking a final group-based project focused on providing solutions to the challenges encountered in real-world market-based development interventions.

  • applies in this implementation

    See Syllabus (Full one) for full course syllabus.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Group Projects (30%)

    Final Presentation (15%)

    Individual Assignments (55%)

  • valid for whole curriculum period:


    160 hours


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    A selection of articles, cases, and videos.

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    1 No Poverty

    2 Zero Hunger

    3 Good Health and Well-being

    4 Quality Education

    5 Gender Equality

    8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    13 Climate Action

    17 Partnerships for the Goals


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Students are admitted to the course in the following priority order: 1) MIB / Creative Sustainability, 2) Other BIZ master s students /exchange students, 3) Other Aalto students.

    Please contact Patrick Shulist for more information.

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Autumn I

    2021-2022 Autumn I

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: In the academic year 2021-2022, registration for courses will take place on Sisu ( instead of WebOodi.