On October 18, students from the Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) at Nyenrode Business Universiteit celebrated the successful completion of their final – and favorite – course in the program: a competitive simulation that provides the ultimate link between theory and practice.
“In the last year of the BBA, we step a bit further away from the ‘conventional’ way of teaching,” says Pim van Berkel, financial expert and lecturer at Nyenrode. “Students only retain 5% of what they hear in lectures and 20% of what they learn in tutorials. If you add an interactive element, retention jumps to 75%. This program is therefore not just about reading and studying: there is a much greater focus on the actual work itself in order to prepare students for the future.”
Lecturers found an effective teaching method in the MEGA Learning experience, now in its fifth year of use. “It is a simulation program developed by Renault and aimed at the business community and teaching institutions such as universities,” course leader Frans Pigeaud explains. “Participants sit on the Executive Board of a car manufacturing firm. The various sessions in the simulation cover a period of eight years, which creates a highly realistic experience. The company faces a wide range of situations, including a recession and a business acquisition. Each team even has its own share price on the stock market. All of the learning material from the previous years comes together in this simulation and is supplemented with new knowledge. The course has a three-week duration and students unanimously agree: this is the most interesting and educational course in the program.”
Pigeaud: “Thanks to this simulation, students see that all the theory from the last three years can be applied in practice. That is the absolute added value. With more than 800 algorithms, the simulation actually exposes students to much more than what they have learned in class. It challenges them to be flexible, make connections, deal with stressful decisions and use each other as sparring partners, so to speak. Students are thrown into the deep end of the practice, and even though it’s a simulation, everyone takes it very seriously.”
Just like in real life, there is competition on the market: competition from fellow students, that is. Pigeaud and Van Berkel each had two cohorts of 25 students in the BBA program this year. Van Berkel: “These students are divided into five groups, which then compete with one another to become the market leader. There is also rivalry between the two classes. That makes for a really fun and healthy competition. This year ended in a tie: 1 -1. Our group won the last round, and Frans’s group took the title on 18 October. Each program concludes with a festive celebration with drinks and snacks.”
The students’ serious approach to the simulation is reflected in the statistics as well: of the nearly 600 participating institutions, the teams from Nyenrode are always among the top performers. “How great is that?” Van Berkel says. “We are beating out people who have been in this business for years, while at the same time outperforming many renowned universities.” “The students are well-prepared for the future,” Pigeaud affirms. “From here they can pursue a Master’s degree or look for a suitable job within higher professional education, for instance. Whatever the students go on to do, they are equipped with the right tools to successfully take the next step.”
Are you interested in studying in Amsterdam, and do you aspire to play a leading role in the business world of tomorrow? Check out the Nyenrode’s Master in Management and Full-time MBA programs, all of which are offered at the Vijf Keijzers building on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam.