Is “holistic” the new buzzword in the MBA universe?

Is “holistic” the new buzzword in the MBA universe?


The MBA in International Business is one of the latest additions to the Executive Education portfolio at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Program Director Janneke Oostrom provides an overview of the course, including its curriculum, goals, and holistic approach.

"At the VU, we acknowledge that learning doesn't end after obtaining your bachelor's or master’s degree"

Business fundamentals, responsible leadership, and entrepreneurship: A breakdown of the MBA in International Business at VU Amsterdam

The MBA in International Business at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an 18-month, part-time program for professionals with at least three years of work experience. “The program is designed for, I would say, purpose-driven, ambitious participants with at least three years of postgraduate experience," says Janneke. "I think we are looking for people who want to make an impact in their company or in their field and want to make or are ready for their next career step.” (02:02)

The curriculum of the program consists of 12 courses and a graduation project. The 12 courses are divided into three separate blocks:

  1. Fundamentals of business through an international lens
  2. Responsible leadership
  3. Entrepreneurial mindset

“I think that combination - these three core pillars that we have: international business, responsible leadership, and an entrepreneurial mindset - is what makes this program unique,” Janneke says. “Other than that, I think [another] strength of our program is that we have amazing and award-winning teachers who all have a link with industry.” (01:23)

How the MBA in International Business stays relevant and practical

What excites Janneke most is that the team at VU Amsterdam built the MBA in International Business program in co-creation with businesses.

She explains, “We always have guest speakers in our courses, but we also have cases and these cases are designed together with people from industry. So, I think such a good strength of our problem is that everything you learn you can apply the next week on your job, and that is exactly what you need if you are a professional and you're doing this MBA. You want to be able to use knowledge right away, and we offer that opportunity.” (06:05)

Partnering with businesses in its curriculum design is just one way the MBA in International Business ensures that its graduates are job market-ready. Another way is through its leadership and career development track.

“Next to the content of a program, we also offer a career development track so workshops about, for example, networking, personal branding, [and] negotiations - and [participants] get an individual career coach,” Janneke says. “So, together with their coach, [participants are] going to work on identifying their career goals and the best steps to take to get to those career goals and to make those next steps.” (03:42)

What does “holistic” mean in MBA terms?

When describing VU Amsterdam’s MBA in International Business, Janneke uses the word “holistic” several times. What does it really mean for an MBA program to be holistic?

“We feel that it's really important to learn a language in all those different departments and fields to be able to make that impact and to be able to have meaningful conversations and to connect all those different functional areas within a company. That's why we chose this holistic approach and we feel that that can we help people advance their careers," Janneke says. (02:48)

This holistic approach is also represented in the lifelong learning opportunities offered at VU Amsterdam. As Janneke puts it, “At the VU, we acknowledge that learning doesn't end after obtaining your bachelor's or master’s degree. We offer all sorts of training programs and additional education, or even MBA programs, that will help you keep your knowledge up to date and be aware of all the recent trends and the recent literature out there.” (04:20)

If you’re a purpose-driven professional who wants to make an impact, the MBA in International Business is a great option to explore. With a curriculum designed in co-creation with real businesses, as well as a holistic approach and international lens, the program can play a key role in your development - and, ultimately, your dream to make an impact.



Leave a comment