MBA in Amsterdam: a great learning experience

December 1 2021

Enrique Chevalier from Panama and Jana Stofberg from South-Africa are two months in on the Full-time MBA at Nyenrode Business University in Amsterdam. Enrique: “The program is already worth it a 1000%. It helps me become a good leader for my companies.” Jana: “The initial part of the MBA exposes us to various aspects of business, which makes it a great and valuable learning experience.”

Equip yourself

Enrique originally studied law but has been an entrepreneur “all of his life”: “I owned a restaurant at 18, started in real estate and have a company in detergents.” He appreciates Nyenrode’s focus on entrepreneurship: “Especially the Nyenrode Incubator, which I am already a part of with my new company in essential oils. The MBA contributes to his entrepreneurial knowledge: “I am translating every class to my business. Everything I’ve done so far feels empirical, now I’m learning more about how to manage my businesses.”

Jana is still exploring which role suits her best. She has a background in engineering: “I mostly learned about problem solving and analytical thinking. I felt like I was lacking in strategic and marketing knowledge and wanted to better equip myself. When working as a Management Consultant, I discovered I really like digital transformation projects, innovation, and growth. The MBA is a good steppingstone for me to increase my knowledge on this part of business and to simultaneously build up my network.

Valuable case studies

Jana is excited to move towards a strategic role: “I want to help companies gain a sustainable, competitive advantage. To make them perform better, be more efficient, more effective. The MBA helps me to discover new ways in which I can contribute to this growth. For example, by learning how to use data analytics in strategic decision making.” The biggest challenge, according to Jana, is time management: “You have to figure out where to invest your time and in what proportions. Valuable lessons as a future Manager.”

Enrique aims to grow the companies he already has: “I started the MBA to learn how to be a good leader for my companies and how to take them to great places.” He learns a lot from the case studies: “We get asked ‘what would you do?’. We then discuss this in our group, present our view and then we learn what the company actually did. This made me realize there is still so much to learn, even in areas I thought I already knew a lot.

Strong community

Both Enrique and Jana had to get used to full-time studying again. Jana: “You’re constantly getting new information, so you have to be on top of your game 24/7.” Enrique adds: “It’s weird being a student again, but fun. We meet very interesting people, from different cultures. They are all professionals; I am learning a lot from their strong backgrounds. I also look forward to the Meet the CEO-sessions, where we will learn from the obstacles they have overcome.” Both students appreciate the openness of the Netherlands as a society.

Enrique calls it ‘horizontal’: there is much less hierarchy, compared to more ‘vertical’ countries like Panama.” Jana adds: “In the Netherlands, professors are open to talk peer to peer. I like how they encourage you to interact and pick your brain. Nyenrode also has a very strong community, almost family-like. A valuable network to get into. Enrique and I might even work together in one of his businesses.” Enrique adds: “I love the serendipity of this. You meet each other in the MBA, become friends and grab opportunities as a team.”

Full-time MBA students Jana and Enrique

Cycling in Amsterdam

Enrique already has some European experience. “I have Italian roots and I have lived in both Paris and London, but still I thought to myself where do I want to spend a new year, learning about business?”. Amsterdam is known for its start-up scene and city wise just perfect: it’s a manageable size, but still very cosmopolitan. To me it’s the best of both worlds.” He now lives in the Jordaan and loves moving around on his bike: “It gives me an endorphin boost every day, although the traffic was scary at first.”

Jana lives close to the Rijksmuseum, a 7-minute-cycle from Nyenrode: “Cycling to campus is a beautiful morning routine. It blew me away how beautiful Amsterdam is. You can literally see the changes in season. Amsterdam is also the innovative hub of Europe; I love being in the middle of it.” Jana wants to work in the Netherlands after she graduates the MBA: “Nyenrode provides a valuable exposure to many companies and start-ups. I look forward to help them become future fit and equip themselves to respond to rapid changes in the business landscape.

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