Make a difference in your organization with the International Action Learning MBA

We know that course content needs to keep up with industry changes, but how can the course delivery improve an MBA? Business School Netherlands (BSN) graduate Jelmer van der Sande reflected on how the International Action Learning MBA gave him not only a strong set of skills but a fresh way of thinking.

In short

Using an MBA to connect dots across business

Already working as a Project Manager in The Hague, you might imagine that Jelmer was already done with education. His career had taken off, and he was well on his way to progressing in his management development. 

With an educational background in organizational psychology, Jelmer had a great understanding of what makes people tick and what holds organizations together. However, when tasked with solving problems for the business as a whole, he realized there were gaps in his knowledge.

“I understood exactly what those managers meant by the questions, but I had no idea about the business, about the organization itself. So I was really needing some extra and fast education on that part,” he shares. (01:00)

Trying to connect the dots in business is one of the most common reasons people choose executive education. Notorious for their intensity, MBAs cover all aspects of business, which was essential for Jelmer’s journey. He says, “I chose an MBA because that’s a generic and holistic approach to all the aspects of a business and I would like to get those two, the understanding of people and the understanding of the entire business, together.” (01:19)

An MBA, therefore, offers not only individual skills that can be practiced through case studies across the business landscape, but personal attributes like problem-solving skills that are essential for developing leaders.

How does Business School Netherlands stand out?

An MBA is a fantastic way of taking your career to the next level, but deciding on a school is never an easy task. With location, cost, networking opportunities, program content, and a thousand other factors to take into account, it requires a great deal of research. 

However, as so often happens in life, Jelmer’s decision came down to a personal recommendation. “It was actually a project manager of mine who recommended me,” he explains. “He was an old student here and he said that it’s a good one, it’s action learning – he introduced a little bit of the concept.” (01:38)

The concept of Action Learning really sets Business School Netherlands apart from its competitors. It is a framework that helps people find creative solutions to complex challenges in organizations. Like agile teams, the Action Learning process sees small groups of diverse profiles work together, asking deep, open-ended questions to fully understand an issue before coming up with insightful solutions.

What makes the International Action Learning MBA so appealing?

Student satisfaction is consistently high for the International Action Learning MBA at BSN, reaching above 80%. With the help of Jelmer’s insights, we can draw back the curtain and see why. 

The faculty at BSN are all experienced in their fields, both in the academic as well as the professional sense. Their industry experience comes across in the classroom, making them excellent soundboards for students. Jelmer elaborates, “One aspect that really impressed me the most was the professors and their experience…and the way they teach today. It’s just fascinating. It’s really inspiring.” (01:55)

However, you don’t just attend BSN to learn from your professors. With a global focus, the International Action Learning MBA attracts candidates from every corner of the world, which is something that Jelmer values highly. “Where else do you get to hear the political problems an NGO in Nigeria has? Or where else do you get to hear first-hand of the vision that a wildlife preservation organization has in their business? That’s something you can’t read about,” he says. (02:30)

How can an MBA boost your professional life?

MBAs are well-known for improving people’s careers through learning general business skills, understanding cutting-edge innovations, and working hand-in-hand with real companies. Similarly, these degrees work as intense network-building opportunities with classmates as well as professors and external players.

However, it really is the teaching style that makes the BSN alumni network so highly rated. With the methodology learned through an Action Learning MBA, graduates bring a level of competency that the business world is so desperate to find. 

When most organizations have a problem, they seek a quick fix that removes the issue as fast as possible. This band-aid approach is great on the surface, but it often doesn’t deal with the root of the problem. 

Speaking about how action learning has improved the outlook in his working life, Jelmer says, “Something that Action Learning and this MBA is really giving me is that little push…Ask the right questions, first find the real problem behind the problem and then try to go for solutions. This is going to be a really big difference in my organization.” (03:24)

If you want to find out more about Business School Netherlands and the International Action Learning MBA, contact past students directly through the MBAGRADSCHOOLS Ambassador Page.

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