BScBA-alumnus Alexander van der Bergh talks about his time at Nyenrode.
The BScBA is characterized by teaching in small groups with a lot of personal attention. “You are obliged to be present at the lectures, which is different from most other universities. These small groups help you stay focused with your thoughts. If you stray, you quickly notice. Your fellow students and the professor always ensure that you continue to participate”, says Alexander.
“Due to the small scale of Nyenrode, you build a very close relationship with your fellow students. The conversations with them in the classroom and beyond have inspired me a lot. They told their stories and ambitions and that made me think more about my own future and about what I wanted to get out of my studies.”
In addition to the academic content, training is central to the program. An important part of this is the Personal Leadership Development Journey that students take. Alexander’s experiences are positive, he says. “During the Personal Leadership Development Journey, you reflect a lot on yourself as a person and on your choices you have made. For example, you must write essays about the most important moments in your past, the things you do now and about your ambitions. You also talk about this in small groups of fellow students. Even after that, your thoughts keep rattling on in your head. This reflection makes you a lot more confident and aware.”
“The social skills I acquired during my studies were ultimately even more important to me than the academic content. If you can work openly and smoothly with people, you will move forward. Then it is easier to build friendships and a network. It can help you with job interviews, for example.”
For Alexander, sport was the most popular part of the curriculum. “Sport really is part of the Nyenrode tradition. Already in the early years, students had a solid program with activities such as boxing, running and rowing. My generation is quite individualistic, but during exercise I experienced the importance of performing in a team. Especially afterwards I notice that it had a lot of impact on me as a person.”
“Moreover, as a compulsory program part, sport provided the necessary discipline, which is important with an intensive campus life as Nyenrode. That discipline also helps to be able to go full speed if, for example, if you suddenly have a last-minute assignment and you actually have a little energy left for it after a tough period.”
Alexander grew up in Belgium, as a child of Dutch parents. “I thought it was important to go to the Netherlands to study so I can get some of the Dutch vibes.”
The BSc program has an exchange period in which students go abroad to study. Alexander did not do that at the time, because he held a board position in the Heeren V (five) of the student association the Nieuwe Compagnie van Verre. “I learned a lot from that and that is why I have grown a lot as a person. Since I did not participate in the exchange, I decided that I want to do my master abroad.”
Alexander was 21 when he graduated last year. Now he is following a master’s degree at Bocconi business university in Milan. “It felt too easy for me to hang around in the Netherlands after Nyenrode. Too much in my comfort zone. Through several lectures during my studies and the company visits we have made, but also through the history of Nyenrode as an educational institute for international business, I have been extra inspired to fly away.”
“You become much more flexible when you work abroad, you learn to adapt.” With Italy’s lockdown in recent weeks, its flexibility has recently been put to test. At the last minute he managed to leave the country – now really his new home – by car and left for his parental home. A trip to South Africa afterwards was also necessary shorter than planned. Now he is in lockdown at his parents’ home in Belgium. He can take lessons online at Bocconi. “That is quite a change”, says Alexander. “You miss the whole atmosphere of lectures and mutual motivation. Especially with my Nyenrode background of personal contact, online lectures are still very uncomfortable.”
Nyenrode has been located on the thirteenth-century estate in Breukelen since 1946 but has also been located on the Keizersgracht in the heart of Amsterdam for several years. As of summer, 2020, Nyenrode offers the BScBA program not only at the campus in Breukelen, but also at the location in the capital of the Netherlands.