The A-Z of Business schools: The Netherlands Business School, Nijenrode University

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The Independent Online
Age: 52

History: Set up after the Second World War to help rebuild the Dutch economy, it was the first business school in the Netherlands. Behind its birth were four big companies - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Unilever, Shell and Philips.

Address: Twenty minutes' drive from Amsterdam in the middle of a 140- acre park.

Ambience: Divine location between the River Vecht and the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, it comprises a 13th century castle and a bucolic setting, rich with wildlife and woods. The nearest town is Breuklen, which is the village that gave Brooklyn in New York its name. Only this Breuklen is seriously salubrious. Students get comfy accommodation and lots of recreation. There's a fitness centre, a sports hall, jogging course and rowing on the river.

Vital statistics: The only private university in Holland, it runs a number of MBAs and a host of executive programmes. The international MBA runs for 13 months and is essentially practical. Students are expected to have brains but also to show they can apply what they know. There is a big emphasis on the soft skills - you learn how to lead, communicate and co- operate. Other MBAs are the modular programme, the financial and insurance services MBA and the Rochester-Nijenrode executive programme.

Added value: You get an instant Rolodex. There are 8,000 alumni worldwide employed in all kinds of industries. Good for career counselling, job searches, industry research and mentors.

Easy to get into? No. You need a minimum of two years' work experience, a good degree, thorough command of English, GMAT and TOEFL (for non-native English speakers).

Association of MBA's accreditation: Yes

Glittering alumni: Wim Kok, prime minister of the Netherlands; Dr Albert Heijn, former president and CEO of Royal Ahold NV; Lodewijk de Vink, president and CEO of Warner Lambert; Henjo Hielkema, vice chairman and executive board member of Fortis-Amez; Johan de Wit, director of Libertel.

International connections: Current MBA students come from 16 nationalities. Students from abroad represent 68 per cent of the total. The university has links with, for example, Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in the USA; the University of Rochester, also in the US; the University of Ghent in Belgium; and the University of St Gallen in Switzerland.

Gurus: Rene Tissen, value-based knowledge management expert; Edward Bomhoff, founder of a research institute on social and economic issues.

Student profile: Average age on full-time International MBA is 27.5; on executive MBA 37. Modular MBA which starts this January is targeted at people aged 26 to 30. Financial MBA, which also starts in January, targeted at executives with 10 to 15 years' work experience.

Cost: Full-time MBA costs around pounds 16,000. On top of that you have to pay for your meals and accommodation.

Return on investment: Loads of "soft skills" and emotional intelligence.

Who's the boss? Mrs Neelie Kroes, university president, former minister of transport, telecommunications and public works in Holland. She is married to Bram Peper, the former mayor of Rotterdam and now minister of internal affairs.

Next week: NIMBAS Graduate School of Management