Innovation during COVID-19

February 18 2021

Nyenrode Business University offers various education programs where a trip abroad is part of the curriculum. For the specialization Digital Business & Innovation, one of the three tracks within the Full-time Master of Science in Management, a study trip to Shenzhen (China) was scheduled.

Global Immersion Module 

“Within the Global Immersion Module (GIM), a one-week trip abroad is a given. When we look at the field of expertise of Digital Business & Innovation, it is a great opportunity to visit a city that shows progression together with our students.” Since travelling during times of COVID-19 was not possible, Nyenrode had to look for an alternative.

Jeroen van der Velden, associate professor Strategy Alignment at Nyenrode, emphasizes how, not only as an organization but also as a student, you must be able to change gears.
“Of course, as an organization and educator, you want to offer possibilities. Offer suitable alternatives that still enable the application of the educational theory. But now without a passport.” Both the network of Van der Velden and Raymond Hannes, founder of Seedling Studio and co-organizer of the Global Immersion Module, were tapped into. In the end they were able to attract four renowned companies to set up this special corona-proof edition.

The corona-proof alternative

“Ampelmann, Akzo Nobel, Abott and the AIVD have all presented us with separate, company related cases, all related to Digital Business. Nyenrode students specialize themselves in the subject by solving real-life business cases in groups. While simultaneously problem solving, the students worked in groups of four on a specific solution, relevant to both the field of expertise and the educational theory. For a week, the student teams worked on solving the case and translated their ideas into solutions for the participating organizations involved. A Nyenrode team was present to provide coaching on both the ideas and the process of the project.”

At the end of that week every group of students got the opportunity to present their ideas. Just like the rest of the program, this part was also online. During a YouTube session, all groups shared their ideas, after which each participation organization picked a winning team with the best matching, organization focused solution.

Screenshot of one of the online sessions.


The solutions for the Digital Business case differ from one another, but they are all very detailed and sufficiently substantiated. Diederick Nierstrasz, Business Developer at Ampelmann: “We are very impressed with the amount of work the students were able to take on while under pressure and with the quality of their results. The solutions definitely offer eye-openers that can help our organization to continue to grow.”

Van der Velden states clearly that to him the enormous turnout and the effort put in by the students say it all. “It is good to see how much involvement students show when push comes to shove. When things go different than planned or hoped. Being able to deliver in these types of situations puts a crown on everything we want to achieve together within Nyenrode: helping the students to get ready for the next step in the corporate world.”

Working on the case was challenging at times but it also resulted in the opportunity to put theory directly into practice and to grow as a digitalization expert. Participating student in this module, Mark Robbertsen: “Besides the academic program, it was really exciting this time around to focus on solving the case based on my knowledge and experience.”

Being involved as a team with digital, innovative business processes for an entire week, working on the assignment actively and taking a peek through the digital door at the same time. It was all included in this module.  

The winning teams

Please find the names of the winning teams per organisation below.

Group: Ampelmann

  • Rosanne van Nieuwpoort
  • Victor Fleuren
  • Chiara Bakker
  • Jan Biezepol
  • Yeftha Nyamsangya


Group: Abbott

  • Susan Ultee
  • Milou van Rossum
  • Iris Bambacht
  • Issey van Damme
  • Chai Chi Shen


Group: Akzo Nobel

  • Bryan Endevoets
  • Max de Bruin
  • Bram Kogelman
  • Mark Robbertsen
  • Ties Wiarda

Group: AIVD

  • Laurens Diels
  • Sam van Marwijk Kooij
  • Julius Keij
  • Ryan Pichel
  • Girbaud Bastiaans

Full-time Master of Science in Management

The Global Immersion Module (GIM) is a one-week study trip abroad, where students learn more about doing business globally and the different business cultures  and organizations in that specific country. This module is part of the three tracks/specializations of the Full-time Master of Science in Management program. Students can choose for one of the following tracks:

  • Global Business
  • Digital Business & Innovation
  • Financial Management

Read more about the tracks here.

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