This Historic Dutch Business School Just Reinvented Its MBA Program

Nyenrode Business Universiteit is integrating compulsory European trips into more than half of its MBA modules

Nyenrode Business Universiteit in The Netherlands may be built on a 13th-century estate near Amsterdam, but it takes a distinctly forward-thinking approach to business education.

This October, Nyenrode’s full-time International MBA (IMBA) cohort will be the first to experience several new international trips offered by the program. Termed the ‘European Immersion Modules’, they are business trips that will be integrated into the standard modules on the Nyenrode MBA. Alongside theoretical modules, students will get the chance to visit five major European cities, putting their learning into practice through workshops and meeting CEOs.

Nyenrode trialled the new modules in April, enabling its current IMBA cohort to experience the London Banking Tour. Nyenrode students spent two days in the city speaking with a range of finance professionals and developing critical business skills.

In addition to the London Banking Tour, next year’s Nyenrode IMBA class will also visit Copenhagen, Dublin, Milan and Brussels. Dr. Dennis Vink, the Director of the IMBA, believes that the opportunity for students to work with companies on their projects will augment their learning experience.

We spoke to two current Nyenrode IMBA candidates about their experiences on the London Banking Tour, and what they make of the changes made.

Laura Tromp - Dutch Student, International MBA Class of 2015-2016

When I started to look for programs, I was looking for a high quality educational environment, and also for social engagement and personal leadership development. At Nyenrode we work on real-life consultancy projects with c-level executives, and Nyenrode offers the opportunity to live on this beautiful campus and interact with international students. This prepares us for the constantly-changing and globalized business world.

The London Banking Tour only lasted two days, but I stayed the weekend after. It was really interesting to talk to finance professionals who were not only brilliantly educated, but also worked for some of the world’s most famous institutions. The lectures were intensive, as were the case studies, but we did get the chance to explore the city.

I had never touched on finance before, but it certainly gave me a better overall picture of the sector, having spoken to banks, financial regulators and hedge funds. I probably enjoyed the Morgan Stanley lecture the most. A lot of people admire that company, and being in their office in London was really exciting, you just feel the energy.

Though I’m looking to work in general consultancy after my IMBA, I do think that a fundamental knowledge of finance is great added value. Next year’s class should enjoy it even more than I did.

Sergio Valerio - Mexican Student, International MBA Class of 2015-2016

When I was doing my research, I saw that Nyenrode has a revolving scholarship, meaning that it’s sponsored by a Nyenrode alumni, and once you receive it there’s a moral obligation to sponsor another student in the future. In a nutshell, that convinced me that Nyenrode and I shared the same values. It’s also the only private university in the Netherlands, so for Nyenrode to exist, they have to do business and turn a profit as they don’t receive government subsidies. I think it’s important to learn about business from a university that actually does it on a daily basis.

It was great to get multiple perspectives on the London Banking Tour, it really opens your eyes. We met with a lot of different banks, but for me the interactions we had with the MAN Group, a hedge fund, were some of the most interesting. Being exposed for the first time to the financial sector was initially nerve-wracking, but I now feel much more comfortable talking about finance, and even making deals with people in the banking sector.

Nyenrode’s international outlook doesn’t stop there though, I actually got the opportunity to undertake my thesis project in Tanzania because of them. Back in February, through Nyenrode’s ‘Meet The CEO’ series, my colleague and I were introduced to the CEO of a Dutch company that produces seeds for vegetables. We got along very well and presented a strategy to him for vegetable seed distribution in Africa, and he asked us to come and implement it in Tanzania.

It’s been a lot of work so far but we’ve enjoyed ourselves, and I don’t think I’d have gotten that opportunity anywhere else. That aspect of networking is very strong on the Nyenrode IMBA, and as a result I’ve been able to pursue deals in China and the UK regarding my family’s agricultural business. If I did another MBA, I’d do it at Nyenrode.

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