Value for money and high quality education
Updated on Aug 23, 2014 - 4:37 p.m. IST by Bedasree Das

Management Education in Netherlands: With 11 universities from the Netherlands among the world’s top 200 universities in QS World Ranking for 2013-14, this is an ideal destination for Indian students seeking efficient management education.

The number of Indians visiting the Netherlands is growing at a rate of about 15 percent per year, says Mr. Alphonso Stoelinga, the Netherlands’ ambassador to India. While most visa applications that his office receives is for business, study visas for higher education too are increasing rapidly. The Netherlands is fast emerging as a destination of higher education for Indian students.

Conducive atmosphere

Jatin Maharao was formerly employed in Aerospace industry with Eaton Corporation’s procurement department. Having an undergraduate degree in BBA and nearly 3 years of work experience, Maharao landed in the Netherlands for his Masters’. Maharao, doing Master’s from Rotterdam School of Management, says, “High ranking of the business schools, affordable fee structure, large presence of industries guaranteeing exposure to Supply Chain Management functions, and above all widely spoken English were my prime motivations to study at Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands.”

The Netherlands has excellent higher education system and hosts 13 universities that are state-funded and some private universities. Some of these universities are ranked among the top in the world for the quality of their education.

Higher Education  

Higher education in The Netherlands is offered by two types of institutes – research universities and universities of applied sciences (known locally as Hogeschols). What then is the difference between these universities? Research universities, with theoretical rigor and sound conceptual base, offer Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees, which are recognized worldwide. Universities of Applied Sciences, on the other hand, are akin to polytechnic institutes in India. They offer vocational degrees in higher education. As research universities deliver higher intellectual value, they are placed higher in order and preference than universities of applied sciences.

MSc in Management

In The Netherlands, MSc in Management is a popular choice among students who wish to pursue management education immediately after the completion of their undergraduate programme. “Our MSc in management program caters to students without any work experience, while MBA programs are typically for those with 5 – 10 years of industry experience” says Prof. Dr. Peter de Goeij, Director, MSc in International Management at Tilburg University. Prof. Dr. Paul Jansen, Professor of Industrial Psychology, agrees with this and explains, “MSc in Management is designed for students who are at the beginning of their career or for graduates who want a higher level of qualification before entering the job market. On the other hand, MBA is an executive-level business course designed for students with executive or management level experience”.


Since most MSc in Management students do not have any work experience or have limited work experience (about 3 years), the curriculum banks heavily on theoretical concepts to rigorously prepare the students for management career.

“MBA is an expensive proposition, especially for one who has limited work experience. Moreover, I needed a masters program that adds on to my BBA education in addition to making me a specialist in Supply Chain Management. So, I zeroed in on MSc in Management,” says Maharao.


As with MBA, MSc in Management too comes with specialization tracks. For instance, MSc in Financial Management prepares students for a career in financial services industry, while MSc in Supply Chain Management prepares a student for a career in Supply Chain Management. MSc in Marketing Management, MSc in Human Resources, MSc in International Management, etc. are others to name just a few. “The MSc International Management is considered to be a broadly oriented MSc program, but we are the only program in Europe that focusses on Corporate Responsibility (CR) (even at the undergraduate level). We see that more and more students that are interested in CR are choosing this MSc program because they are aware this will yield many opportunities in the future,” says Prof. Dr. de Goeij.

Interaction and working in groups with fellow students who come from different countries develops one's self-awareness with respect to other cultures. Companies too prefer to recruit students with international exposure and specialized knowledge, as it guarantees their job readiness. Regular industry interaction and mandatory in-company thesis prepares the students for their corporate careers. Such frequent industry interaction familiarizes students with companies and the functions they aspire to perform, thus rendering them job ready. “Companies in the Netherlands carry positive perception of MSc in Management education, as students have broader understanding of management function in addition to specializing in a particular topic. Most MSc in Management students find their first job in the company that they do their in-company thesis, thus proving the value and attractiveness of MSc in Management education for businesses,” says Prof. Dr. de Goeij.

Nevertheless, not all that glitters is gold, says Maharao, as he cautions the aspirants from India. The job market, he says, although fast bouncing back, is still not yet fully recovered. Strong work experience and good knowledge of Dutch/German language, he suggests, would open up more job possibilities. Lastly, MSc in Management could be pretty intensive course and hence he advises potential students to get into the habit of reading and summarizing voluminous information, quoting his own experience of poring over more than 250 research articles during the course of his study.

Be brave

As Indian students head abroad seeking higher education, the Netherlands certainly is one of those avenues which is worth considering. However, as with any investment, this too comes with its share of risks and rewards. While it is worthy to be educated on the risk/reward ratio and its suitability for one's risk profile, the data (increasing study visas from India to the Netherlands), indeed, suggests the increasing risk appetite of Indian knowledge seekers. Great outcomes are often results of initiatives enticing higher risks, for it is said that fortune favours the brave.

Veera Raghavan is International officer at Nyenrode Business University

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