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Growth in Women Studying MBAs in Europe

According to a GMAC Application Trends Survey, 58% of European programs have seen a growth in female applicants. Postgraduate Search spoke to Sam Solaimani, Director of Nyenrode Business University’s MBA program to find out why this could be the case. Nyenrode Business University historically has a majority female cohort on its MBA program. Solaimani attributes this to various factors, like Amsterdam’s consistently high safety rankings, the school’s focus on recruiting a 50% female faculty, and the personal approach of the program. Nyenrode students live on a castle campus and the school has previously housed students with young children and pets on its grounds. 

What do you think is special about the MBA at Nyenrode?

As a Top 50 European business universities we focus on quality, leadership, technology, with academic-practice education. But what distinguishes Nyenrode Business University is its deeply ingrained personal approach in setting up relationship with the candidates, business partners, and all other stakeholders in the value chain.

Relationship management is not only a process but it is part of the university’s overall culture, which is manifested in the university’s extraordinary active and closely tied alumni network, involvement of the industry partners across Europe, and the personal relationship within and between candidates and faculty.

Our small cohort of MBA students is not a coincidence, but a strategic choice, which enables us to build and maintain relationship with candidates. Equally important, is the university close historical alliances with business market. In fact, the university is founded in 1946 by business and for business.

This has a significant impact on curriculum, candidates post-MBA career, and market recognition. Not unrelated to the previous points, yet still an independently contributing factor is our focus on (European) corporate environment, which explicitly helps us achieving our mission: “serving society by shaping responsible leaders”.

All three aspects are hardwired in the university’s DNA, and therefore, not easily replicated, which in turn, ensures our sustainable position in the highly competitive market of business education. That being said, we are fully aware that the world is changing, and that goes hand in hand with ever-changing needs and wishes of our stakeholders. We aim to proactively trace the change from multiple angles to take timely actions!

Why do you think you successfully attract so many female students?

On the one hand, I must admit that we enormously benefit from a women-friendly working environment in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is one of the front-runners in adopting equality promoting measures and interventions in industry.

On the other hand, as a corporate-oriented educational institute we embrace and contribute to this constructive trend in various ways, including inviting and involving more successful women as a role model in our program and provide financial support to women through scholarships.

Do you think the effects of this will cascade into business life?

We ‘breathe’ inclusivity, in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, educational background, and so on. That is the only way we can cherry-pick talents across the globe. This provides a strong message to our candidates. So, it is inevitable that our way of thinking and acting cascade into business: we shape the future business leaders and our educational system is their first role model.

Have you previously housed students with young children and pets on the grounds?

Yes, we did, on our campuses and elsewhere. That being said, a city like Amsterdam provides an abundance of options for candidates to choose from. So, while housing is not really a challenge, our program management and real estate team are at candidates’ disposal for guidance.

What are your hopes for the future and the MBA at Nyenrode?

Given the ever-expanding technological advances, the hard to decode and automate personal traits in general, and social skills and leadership in specific, becomes even more critical for any industry.

We are relentlessly experimenting with incremental and radical ideas to improve our educational program and didactic approaches in order to tune toward the future needs and necessities of society and industry. This is one the most pivotal responsibilities of any business school, and I truly hope to make a difference with our small contribution to the global business community and the whole of society.

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