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Extracurricular Achievements Crucial For Job Hunting Success

Two Nyenrode grads snapped up by a firm they did a project with, says director of Universiteit's International MBA

The International MBA program at Nyenrode Business Universiteit is a 12-month full-time course taught at the university’s stunning campus near Amsterdam.

BusinessBecause.com asked program director Dr. Désirée van Gorp what makes a perfect candidate and how business students should prepare themselves in a recession.

Who is the ideal Nyenrode student?
The ideal Nyenrode student is some one who has academic skills and links them to practice. He or she must be able to bridge knowledge and practice.

We are founded by business people so we are here to prepare people for business. It’s what we breathe. The ideal candidate is someone ready to work with his or her head, heart and hands.

What's the difference between the IMBA and the other degrees on offer?
First of all, you work in a small group on campus. There is a lot of focus on career development.

Secondly, it’s very international in terms of the curriculum and the global experience on offer. You can do course modules across Asia, the US and Europe.

They are not just study trips. You really get to work on projects.

Do the students come from all over the world?
Yes. In the current class, there are 35 students with 18 nationalities from five continents.

What sets you apart from other good schools in the Netherlands?
Our class sizes are smaller and we focus a lot on students’ careers and personal development. You can only do this with small group.

Secondly, the students have a great entrepreneurial spirit. They very much like to work with their heads, but they can also do so with their hands and their hearts. So we are really filling the gap between theory and practice. We train them from the beginning to have a very hands-on mentality.

What do your graduates go on to do?
They either set up their own companies or go on to seek careers in large international companies.

How will this recession change business globally?
I think [for companies] it will be more and more important to get the right talent.

Nyenrode graduates have the experience to work in a multi-cultural environment. For 12 months, they have to work with dozens of nationalities. It’s a small group so they can’t hide.

Secondly, a demonstrable understanding of sustainability issues within business is valued more than ever. That’s a consequence of the crisis.

Is this the worst time for students to graduate, in your experience?
I don’t know if this is the worst time. If you look at the history, there were perhaps “tougher” times. But definitely, in this labor market you need a lot of extras to really show you are different and what your added value is.

For example, two of my students are graduating this morning, and a company has already said: “We want these two.”

It’s because they showed, during a short project with the company, that they had a competitive edge in that market.

Knowledge now is much less protected than it used to be, so the real added value, the real differential factors, are your projects with companies and your extra curricular activities.

You must really offer something different. You can do it through your studies, but more importantly, what you do outside of your studies.

The Nyenrode campus offers you a lot of opportunities to do extra activities, where you can show your passion.

What is the biggest challenge for you right now?
For the program, the biggest challenge right now is to climb up in the FT rankings. Personally, I love to continually improve the quality of our program, and this improves our ranking too, of course

Dr. Désirée Van Gorp is Professor of International Business Strategy at Nyenrode Business Universiteit and is Director of the International Department and the International MBA program.


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