MBA in Amsterdam: intensive, but definitely worth it

April 6 2022

Daniel Calderon from Costa Rica and Vittoria Wu from Taiwan, started the Full-time MBA at Nyenrode Business University in Amsterdam in September 2021. Both agree the program is quite intensive, in a good way. Daniel: “I wasn’t expecting it to be easy, and it definitely isn’t. But it’s a good and welcome challenge.” Vittoria: “We really enjoy the scope of the many subjects; it helps us to understand the different aspects of business.”

International experience

Vittoria already has 15 years of working experience in communications and marketing in Taiwan, but she had no international experience: “I noticed I kept running into the same group of people within the marketing field, so I was looking for more diversity in terms of backgrounds, culture, and opportunities. By studying abroad, I changed my environment, which will get me more international job opportunities and different projects to work on. The Netherlands is a good fit for me because of their strength in marketing, cosmetics, and fashion. There’s also a better work-life balance than I’m used to in Asia.”

Daniel has Italian roots but lives in Costa Rica. He already studied in Spain for his Bachelor in Business Administration: “I’ve worked in different sectors after my graduation, and I’m still figuring out which direction I want to go. I did know I wanted to learn how to run a company and I wanted to live in Europe again. Nyenrode caught my eye while doing my research on where to study, because of the European immersion program and the Nyenrode Incubator for start-ups. I developed a travel app with my partners, which we hope to continue when the pandemic settles down. I would love to join the Incubator program with this project.”

Grow in knowledge

About the program so far, Daniel says: “It’s really diverse, you get to learn a bit about every part of business. We don’t just study and take exams, the program has a lot of practical aspects. For example, in Marketing: we had to find an existing company with an existing marketing challenge. I chose Under Armour, because I found out that teenagers branded them as an ‘old people brand’. Henry Robben, professor of Marketing, helped me to clarify the marketing issue, figure out where to start and dive into possible solutions. Now I have a much better understanding of the scope of marketing and how it can give you a competitive advantage.”

Vittoria specifically learned a lot in Accounting: “Marketing people mostly don’t know ‘the numbers’. I also had a few blind spots in this area because I didn’t know how to read the company’s balance sheet or how to invest wisely. My financial knowledge has grown immensely in the past months, which helps me to make better decisions and to convince my future manager how to set up and spend our marketing budget to make the most profit.”

Nyenrode Full-time MBA students Daniel and Vittoria

Learn to speak up

Vittoria enjoys the small size of the class and the diversity in their group: “Our classmates hold 13 different nationalities, and all have different backgrounds. We help each other from our own expertise, which in my experience takes you to the next level. For example, a Dutch classmate helped me to speak up more. As an Asian I am used to wait and listen, and to let others speak first. He told me to be more direct like the Dutch people can be, and to persuade others with my ideas. That has really helped me to show more of myself.”

Daniel also learned to speak up more: “Our Meet the CEO-professor taught me how to pitch my ideas in a better way. She mostly did this by showing how it’s done: when Désirée van Gorp, professor of International Business, speaks, you simply can’t do anything else but pay attention. But we also had to do several pitches about ourselves, which made me quite uncomfortable and nervous at first. Her advice in how to stand and how to speak to people so they will listen, really helped me to gain more confidence.”

Job opportunities

Both students live in Diemen. Daniel: “Nyenrode arranged the housing options, which was great since it’s very hard to find accommodation in or near Amsterdam. There are ten people in our building from the MBA program: we help each other, study for exams together and we meet to play games or watch football. The city of Amsterdam is also great: there’s always something to do and there are a lot of interesting job opportunities. My goal is to stay in Amsterdam, find a good job in the sports industry or in consultancy, and to someday pick up the app where we left it.”

Vittoria: “I already fulfilled my first dream: to study abroad. My next dream is to work for an international company in the Netherlands, in a marketing position. Even more specific: I want to help them expand their business in Asia by combining my newly gained knowledge on marketing, strategy, and finance, with my experience in Taiwan. The connections I make here at Nyenrode will certainly help in finding the right company for me!”

Nyenrode newsletter

Nyenrode shares knowledge with interested professionals. Apply to news@nyenrode for al news of Nyenrode.