Business School Netherlands Brochure

Business School Netherlands Brochure

A Dutch University of Applied Sciences

Excitingly Different


When you think of Holland, normally you

think of tulips, windmills and clogs, but

as a manager you will associate Holland

with entrepreneurship, trade and effective


It is the home of companies like Phillips, ABN Amro,

Heineken, Shell, Amstel, ING, Unilever, Akzo Nobel and

KLM. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that

the Dutch invented business on a global scale.

As management development director of one of the

larger Dutch companies, I noticed that local and global

business schools focused too much on theory and not

enough on application. In 1988 I decided to put my

thoughts into action and established Business School

Nederland, and introduced an excitingly different

approach to management education called Action


Since 2004 BSN is an official Dutch University of

Applied Sciences and is now one of the leading

business schools in the Netherlands with over 3.000

students and alumni.

I believe that after reading the brochure, you too will

be excited about this new approach.

Drs. Dick Gerdzen

Founder of Business School Nederland

Business School Netherlands

The Action Learning MBA


It is real time, real life, project based.

The traditional approach is to teach students an

overwhelming amount of theory and then ask them to

apply the theory to one or more specific problems or

cases. You could be building your career in retail but

be asked to learn all about the intricacies of producing

bio-chemical products. Would that be relevant for you

Probably not. Would it be exciting In general, not very.

At BSN we recognise the fact that the body of

knowledge is growing exponentially. Even the most

enthusiastic student is not going to fathom it all in a

lifetime, let alone during a two-year course. That is

why we look at the academic part of the MBA from

a different point of view. We start with the problem,

your problem, a relevant issue that your organization

needs to solve. Once identified, you will learn to

critically evaluate the available knowledge in the

respective field, weigh the alternatives and propose

an appropriate solution.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Action Learning concept

recognises that only when we have implemented the

solution and seen the result does the real learning

take place – We don’t take credit for that though –

Confucius worked it out ages ago:

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and

I understand”

Kevin J. Holloway – TIMKEN – Manager Sales & Engineering – South Africa

“The BSN Action Learning MBA has been a life-changing

experience for me. The academic content of the program

coupled with outstanding guidance and support provided by

the business school maintained my optimism of successful

completion of the program.

Having completed this program I have developed the

confidence to meaningfully engage in discussion and work

streams involving all elements of the business which in

turn has increased my exposure within the organisation

and presented great opportunities for future career

advancement. I have a new and fresh outlook on the business

environment and approach new challenges with excitement

and confidence. During this program I have grown into a firm

believer that to influence organisational learning, leaders

should lead by example.

The principles of Action Learning as taught by the business

school equips you with the ability to approach real life

work challenges in a structured manner and allows you

to exercise both the academic knowledge and practical

processes in finding suitable solutions to those business

challenges you will face.”

Focus on action,

not on exams

Yes we do use some tests, but not to

find out how well you can remember

six or seven hundred pages of financial

theories and formulas, we would rather

see you taking action and learning from


As you complete each core course you will accumulate

marks based on the literature you have studied,

on how well you have researched the available

knowledge, evaluated the possible solutions and

finally implemented your proposal – after all is that not

what management is all about To quote Prof. Reg

Revans, the founding father of Action Learning: “…

doing, or action, calls for commitment or true belief,

while talking, or argument, calls only for intelligence or

quickness of wit”.

But what if my next job takes me into chemical

engineering or some other area that was not

covered, you may ask. Would I have missed out

on valuable knowledge Probably not. Because the

reality is that the shelf life of knowledge in our rapidly

changing world is not very long. If you did an MBA

in E-commerce 2 or 3 years ago you would probably

have to revisit the theories today as most of what

was considered the truth then is now considered

obsolete. Moreover, once you have mastered the art

of researching the body of knowledge and selecting

the theories relevant to your current problem, you

can apply this skill to any challenge you may face in

the future, even if this challenge is of a completely

different nature than the problems you are tackling


That is why we at BSN believe that the most

important part of doing an MBA is learning to learn.

If you develop the skills to analyze a problem, can

identify the core issues, and know where to look for

possible solutions and ideas, you are better equipped

to cope with tomorrow’s challenges than anyone who

can recite yesterday’s theories.

Gary Potgieter

Shoprite and U Save Stores

Deputy Divisional Manager

South Africa

“I now have all the confidence and professional attitude to

achieve whatever I set my mind to achieve. It molded me

to become a more focused and goal-orientated individual,

someone who knew exactly what he wanted from life.

For my company it was like manna from heaven as the

programme prepares one to work far more effectively

for the organization and teaches one to work smarter in

achieving organizational goals and objectives.”

Franck van Dalen, netherlands

AVH Dairy Trade

Senior Trader

The Netherlands

“The MBA programme has given me insights into the

importance of aligning the different organizational

disciplines within the overall corporate strategy.

One important lesson I found particularly valuable is that

there is never one management theory 100% true or false

that is the sole solution for a managerial problem. Every

theory can be argued and challenged, but should always

be based on facts derived from research.”

Grant Ruddiman

Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

General Manager


“I have built upon my learning’s and experience, and I

continue my journey of life-long learning, partnering

with BSN as I continue research towards a DBA.

Applying the Action Learning Methodology is an excellent

way to align both theory and practice, which has greatly

benefitted me in both my personal and professional life,

and I’m truly grateful to have had the opportunity. This is a

fantastic program, supported by a demanding, supportive,

knowledgeable and passionate faculty at the school.”



We realize that this is not the mainstream

way of thinking – and quite frankly we are

proud of that – what we offer is an MBA

which is unconventional and proactive,

just like most of the managers who study

Aaron Turamye

Partners in Health

Director Human Resources and Administration


“What I have learnt is that the MBA programme, looked

at in its entirety, enables an individual to build a set of

inter-related skills which can be used to develop one’s

career in different fields, thereby increasing flexibility for

employment. Another learning skill that I developed is that

of being practical and implementation-oriented. Whatever

learning I do today, I try as far as possible to find sense in

its application and improving what I am doing.

It also changed my personality from being a theorist

to a pragmatist which has increased my capacity to

implement. I have also developed the capacity to always

learn, unlearn and re-learn - a concept that I find very

relevant for me: learn things, if you find they do not work,

drop them, learn new things that can work.”

with us.

BSN has been delivering Action Learning MBA’s for

nearly 25 years now. We are one of the largest Dutch

Business Schools and an official Dutch University of

Applied Sciences, our accredited programmes are

accredited by the NVAO, the result being a European

recognised MBA.

BSN is not alone in its recognition of the value of Action

Learning! Progressive organizations such as Shell,

Exxon, General Electric, Unilever, Rabobank, Aloca

Agro, Motorola, Arthur Andersen, General Motors

and Lyondell Chemical Co. also believe in the Action

Learning approach and have achieved amazing results

in the field of problem-solving, identifying competitive

advantages, reducing operating costs and becoming

learning organizations.

Outside Holland, over 2.000 students from all over

the world have joined our programmes in countries

like South Africa, Czech Republic and China.

Bartley Joseph

Old Mutual

Head of Business Transformation Services

South Africa

“Who said studying is boring Not when it is actionoriented!

The BSN Action Learning oriented approach

proved to be exactly the match that I was looking for and

did not disappoint, providing the practical constructs

I needed to combine theory and best practice in a rich

learning experience.

I learnt improved ways of approaching real day-to-day

management challenges at work. This undoubtedly

improved my approach to problem resolution; something

that led to better outcomes, and therefore, better


After completion of my studies I have continued to

employ the problem-solving and action learningoriented

approaches to business issues. This has proved

invaluable to the business and the people that I coach

and mentor.”

Excitingly Different Because…

Rather than 40+ classrooms, the Action Learning MBA is

based on inspiring workshops. During these workshops,

you will be exposed to challenging, fresh topics within

the various management disciplines. Thanks to the

involvement of all participants, this approach exceeds

the quality of traditional lecturing.

You will be working closely with a small team. A

fundamental part of Action Learning is the interaction

that takes place in small groups of 4-6 students. Group

members meet on a regular basis to engage in real-life

problem-solving. They contribute to this process with

knowledge obtained during the workshops, suggestions

based on their working experience and theories derived

from individual research. Consequently they provide

each other with strong support and perspectives. The

workshops and diversity of students ensure that you will

be exposed to a wide range of innovative solutions to

real-life organizational situations.

Challenging study material. Where the student of

a traditional MBA basically studies the structure and

contents of established textbooks, the Action Learner

utilizes these books merely as reference material. The

courseware of the Action Learning MBA comprises

the latest subjects, covered by up-to-date articles and

developed by international experts. This does not only

generate an inspiring platform for the workshops, but

also ensures high-quality study material that is as close

to “new think” as we can possibly get.

All your courseware is accessible via the internet, (a busy

travel schedule is no hindrance if you want to keep up

while on the road) or downloadable in the form of PDF


Dr. Andries Willemse

Crawford & Company

Senior Vice President Global Technical Services

United Kingdom

“I believe that the proven principles of Action Learning

as used in BSN’s programs teaches students to think

“differently” about real-time challenges we face in

business every day. It equips you with a combination of

academic knowledge and real-time, practical experience.

It enables you to approach these challenges in a manner

that will set you apart you from others, help you find

solutions and make appropriate decisions. I recognise

however that obtaining a qualification is a point in time

only and that Action Learning is a life-long commitment

to continuous education. A process in other words that

improves your ability to deal successfully with the many

challenges of business life.”

JP Pretorius

VW Autohaus (Pty) Ltd & Audi Centre



“The personal growth and learning that I have experienced

during the three years of study with Business School

Netherlands was of great value. The value of the MBA

program lies in the Action Learning methodology.

BSN provided me with a platform to challenge current

norms within the organization highlighting areas of

excellence as well as concern. The value capitalized in

solutions derived from Action Learning Projects gave me

the opportunity to challenge my old working environment

and to enrich the lives of fellow colleagues involved in the

turnaround projects.

The engagement of staff in the turn-a-round projects

created a Learning Organization where individual thought

was challenged but valued. Departmental problems became

a collective company concern with all managers actively

participating in finding workable long term solutions.

BSN’s academic back ground, together with past

experience gained from the Action Learning projects,

gave me the confidence to challenge difficult business

problems knowing that workable solutions were possible

through engaging an Action Learning approach. I have

grown in both my technical and management skills. I can

truly recommend the program to any person that wants

an individually paced outcome based program while

balancing a full time professional career.

Businesses that invest in staff will gain immediate benefit

through their ability to develop a problem solving culture

in their businesses. I can truly recommend Business

School Netherlands as a credible service provider for

action-based learning outcomes.”

An Incredible library. There is no need to leave your

desk to find out what the most recent researchers are

publishing in your field of interest. Whether you need

information on performance appraisals or operations

design, BSN gives you access to a fully up to date library

with the most recent journals and management reviews

containing more than 2500 journals and magazines.

A search is simple and fast and the result is delivered

to your PC as an e-mail or a PDF file depending on the


Real Solutions to real problems.

From your first core course you will be dealing with real

issues in your own organization. In fact, 40% of your

study time will be spent within your own organization

on projects relevant to your work. As you learn, you

experience the exciting changes taking place around you

– and so will those that you work with and for.

Your learning is not limited to experiences gained from

your own company – you are also “consulting” for your

fellow students and in the process helping them to solve

their problems and challenges – should you reach an

impasse – our faculty and advisors are always there to

point you in the right direction.

In effect this means that your company will receive

implementable solutions (developed under the guidance

of highly proficient senior consultants) to six key issues

during 24 months you are studying – once employers

realize, that in fact they are getting valuable “consulting”

input, a highly competent employee and fresh perspectives

on their business in the process, students normally find it

easier to get their tuition fees co-sponsored by employers.

It just makes plain business sense – the ROI is amazing.

Excited about the BSN Action Learning Alternative

Contact us today at or the regional office

closest to you.

Business School Netherlands



The Netherlands, Buren

International AL MBA

Czech Republic, Prague


China, Beijing


South Africa, Cape Town

Nigeria, Lagos

Sudan, Khartoum

Ghana, Accra

South America

Suriname, Paramaribo


Phone: + 31 344 579030


Phone: + 27 21 9390025


Phone: + 420 257 532356

Phone: + 420 257 533254


Phone: + 86 10 51261687


Phone: +27 21 9390025


Phone: + 234 1 7748498

Phone: + 234 8067211068


Phone: + 249 918710638


Phone: + 233 30 2760006/7


Phone: + 597 521422

Phone: + 597 8841818

Countries where BSN students and alumni can be found.

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