“The Full-time MBA program immerses you in the European market and helps you explore”

December 16 2020

International students Beth Salas from the Philippines and Albert Maouad from France and Lebanon are two weeks in on their one-year Full-time MBA program at Nyenrode Business University. “It feels like we’ve been here longer, which is a good thing” laughs Beth. Albert adds: “It already feels like a success, I am learning a lot.”

Different roads to Nyenrode

Beth’s professional career has always centered around finance, but she wanted to explore different roles. “I wanted to leave finance and learn outside of Asia. I was supposed to go on a vacation to Europe and thought why not just go and move there. Beth didn’t know about Nyenrode yet: “I found out that the Netherlands gives you the opportunity to find a job in a fair time, after you’ve finished your MBA. I then stumbled upon Nyenrode and loved the program which immerses you in the European market.”

Albert was – after 15 years of working in several Middle-Eastern countries – specifically going for Amsterdam, because he wants to keep working as a software professional: “The city is a tech-hub and known for the numerous innovative startups. They have a strong vision about renewable energy, which I care for a lot.” He asked around about the top universities in Amsterdam: “After hearing from friends that Nyenrode has an amazing reputation, great MBA program and extensive alumni and business network, the decision to apply and move to Amsterdam was easy.”

Diversity and leadership

Albert adds there were other factors that helped him decide: “My goal is to become a leader in software, speak business at CEO-level and learn as much from others as possible. I learned Nyenrode has two unique programs: Meet the CEO sessions and the European Immersion Module. A perfect way to learn about different management perspectives, concepts and industries.”

For Beth, diversity in perspectives and backgrounds also play an important role. “Our class is literally from everywhere. Not only geographically speaking but even more so in terms of background: we have classmates with experience in architecture, agriculture, software, banking, teaching. So, I not only learn from all the different companies, countries, and theory, I also learn from the diversity in our class. This will help me explore and eventually choose my direction. The Personal Leadership Development Journey program at Nyenrode guides me through this process, with career roadmaps and coaching by MBA alumni.”

Applying theory and small classes

Both students are very enthusiastic about the class size of 25. “You get to connect more with your classmates, teachers and program managers,” says Albert, “and therefore the program can be better customized to your needs.” Beth adds: “As a group we are very open and focused on helping each other. It takes some getting used to being back at school, but by talking to each other a lot we help taking the stress out and bringing the fun in.”

They also both agree on the worth of applying the theory: “We are only two weeks in but are already applying the theory to real life business cases” says Beth. She continues: “There is not just theory and papers. For example, we had a lecture on HR yesterday, and within the same class we discussed about a solution for an existing company, regarding diversity and inclusion.” Albert adds: “You really get to know the concept in reality, which makes it easier to have real discussions on management level.”

Vibrant city and energy

Beth lives in Diemen, about 15 minutes from Amsterdam by train. “When I first got to Amsterdam, I got kind of emotional. I thought to myself this is it, I made it. The city is very beautiful with all the canals and bridges, like a postcard. It has a strong multicultural feel, through the people and different cuisines. And is it great for having fun and a few drinks with our classmates!”

Albert lives in the center of Amsterdam: “It is such an amazing, vibrant, crazy city. I only need my bicycle to explore the city, which also saves a lot of carbon emission.” His goal is to stay in the Netherlands, if there is an opportunity to work in software and becoming a leader. “Going to Nyenrode already feels like a success. Even though I already have a big understanding of the basics, the tiny things make all the difference. Learning is a continuous journey, and, in my opinion, I am already winning by discovering new aspects of business and people every day.” Beth adds her goal is to give her best and stand out to her future employer. “I love constant challenges, and I’m always looking for ways to spice things up and contribute more. This year I can expand my horizon and get ready for my new career at a multinational in Europe.” 

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