International Business Administration

Your pathway to international business success

International Business Administration (IBA) at VU Amsterdam is a unique Bachelor of Science programme studying the world of business from a human perspective. With its demanding, wide-ranging curriculum, this is a programme for the global high-flyers of the future: ambitious, cosmopolitan professionals who look beyond traditional borders and boundaries.

IBA is about enabling you to bring success to businesses anywhere, and so build a great international career.

Develop an integrated perspective

We take a truly integrated approach to today’s global marketplace. IBA combines a comprehensive study of all the essential business disciplines in a genuinely international context with a strong focus on people. You will learn to understand and manage cross-cultural challenges on the world business stage. Alongside a thorough understanding of professional theory and practice, you will develop strong academic and research skills as well as the personal qualities required of a modern global citizen.

IBA is a three-year programme taught entirely in English. Upon enrolment, you will join a multicultural community of students, tutors and researchers drawn from every continent. As you learn to solve international corporate and societal challenges, you gain a rigorous grounding in business theory and in the practical subjects at the heart of business administration, including strategy, marketing, finance, accounting, organization, human resources, logistics and technology. You will also develop your social and quantitative abilities, an important part of the personal skill set essential for success in today’s business environment.

The international dimension of IBA is further reflected through keynote courses on such topics as global economics, cross-cultural marketing, emerging economies and global supply chain management. The programme features a mandatory semester of study abroad, at one of our many partner universities all over the world. And a wide choice of elective and specialization modules gives you plenty of freedom to shape your own learning pathway to success.

Want to know more? Come to a Taster Day

Are you ambitious? Internationally oriented? Can you have fun and challenge yourself and others with new, out-of-the-box ideas? Do you want to enhance your business acumen and build your international network? Are you prepared to cross boundaries and borders?

Come and meet us at a Taster Day!

Upon successful completion of this programme, you are awarded the title Bachelor of Science (BSc) in International Business Administration. With this prestigious degree to your name, you have a wide range of options to continue your studies in our faculty. Or at other academic institutions throughout the world.

If you decide to go straight into the job market, you will have an exciting range of choices. The broad range of training you have received is the perfect basis to start building a career in any aspect of business with an international dimension: strategy, marketing, finance, organization, HRM, supply chain management, technology and so on. Our graduates find great jobs with all kinds of employers, from leading multinationals to ambitious start-ups, and in just about every sector: manufacturing, distribution, financial or business services, media, non-profit and many others.

This programme also provides an ideal springboard for budding entrepreneurs inspired to launch their own international businesses.

This information is for international applicants. If you are applying with a Dutch pre-university degree, please visit the Dutch IBA webpage.

Admission criteria for international applicants
Applicants with a non-Dutch pre-university qualification must meet a number of requirements.

  1. A qualification equivalent to the Dutch VWO pre-university diploma
  2. Proof of sufficient proficiency in Mathematics
  3. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English


You do not need to meet these requirements in full when starting the application procedure; however you must meet the requirements in full by the time you enrol on the programme.

Proficiency in mathematics
Sufficient proficiency in Mathematics is an important prerequisite for admission to IBA. Examples of qualifications that demonstrate this proficiency are the following.

  • International Baccalaureate: Mathematics Standard Level
  • UK: Mathematics A levels
  • Germany: Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife, including Mathematics as Abiturfach and/or Leistungsfach.


After you apply to the programme and upload the required documents in our VUnet student portal, the Admissions Officer will review your transcripts to determine whether your level of mathematics is sufficient. If it is not, you must pass a separate entry exam in mathematics.

Mathematics exams in the Netherlands


Both Boswell-Bèta and CCVX offer the Mathematics A entry examination. The Boswell-Bèta Institute offers summer courses in June and July.

Mathematics exams abroad: Cambridge International A-levels
Another option is to take an A-level Mathematics examination at a registered Cambridge school.

Online Summer Prep-Campus
Even if you meet the mathematics requirements, some students find it difficult to know what is expected of them once they begin the IBA programme. To address this, we have developed the Online Summer Prep-Campus. A university jury unanimously voted this course as the most innovative educational project in 2017, and it will ensure that you are more than ready to begin your studies!

Take a sneak peek on the Online Summer Prep-Campus website. You will always take part in the diagnostic test during the IBA matching process. The test helps determine your own maths level and gives you advice on how to proceed. If you need some additional help, take courses through the online summer prep-campus and freshen up your mathematics - and meet your new fellow students early! If your level is up to par, you can still get a head start on the topics that will be discussed during the mathematics course!

Proficiency in English
International applicants must take an English language proficiency test and submit their scores before 31 August 2018. Applicants who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia are exempt from this requirement, as are those who have obtained an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate qualificatoin taught in English.

We accept the following tests and minimum scores.

  • IELTS: 6.5
  • TOEFL paper-based test: 580
  • TOEFL internet-based test: 92
  • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): A, B or C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B or C


If you are already in the Netherlands, you can register for a TOEFL test at VU Taalloket. Please note that this test is only valid at VU Amsterdam.

In all cases, we only accept language tests completed within the past two years, counted from the date you start the IBA programme.

Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students 
Chinese students who wish to enrol on a programme taught in English at a Dutch higher education institution are required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate. More information on the Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students

Start in September 2018?
Do you want to start the IBA programme in September 2018? If so, make sure you apply before the deadline of 1 May 2018! You are able to apply from 1 October 2017, via www.studielink.nl. After that, you will receive a VUnetID account and password (in two separate emails). Be sure to complete your application in our VUnet student portal by uploading all the necessary documents.

The VU Matching programme enables you to check whether you have chosen the right degree programme. It consists of two steps: a digital questionnaire on VUnet, which is part of the application process, and an online matching activity to test your suitability for your chosen programme.

More information on VU Matching for IBA

International admission and application procedure, and other practical matters

Ester de Koning
Ester de Koning
E bachelors.sbe@vu.nl
T +31 20 5982508

Study programme, courses, and other programme-specific matters
Contact the programme coordinators

Mirella Kleijnen
Mirella Kleijnen (Director.IBA.SBE@vu.nl)

Amanda Porter
Amanda Porter (Coordinator.IBA.SBE@vu.nl)

Taster Days
A Taster Day will be organised on Thursday 22 February 2018. Register online >

A student's perspective
Contact a VU Ambassador for their first-hand experiences as a student at VU Amsterdam!

How will you spend your time?

IBA is a full-time programme, taught in English, and takes three years to complete. With a 40-hour study week and your active participation expected at all times, as a student you need to be highly motivated, determined and disciplined. Your progress is reviewed at the end of each academic year and you are only allowed to remain in the programme if this is satisfactory.

The academic year is divided into six teaching periods. During most periods, you work intensively on two courses simultaneously. Outside the classroom, you work on assignments in student teams. The curriculum combines in-depth study of business subjects with the acquisition of academic skills, learning research methods and personal development, all with an international orientation. At the end of the programme you will write a bachelor thesis on an international business topic.

To further build your international experience and cross-cultural awareness, IBA includes a mandatory semester (three teaching periods) of study at a VU Amsterdam partner university outside the Netherlands. Most students participate in this international exchange at the beginning of their third year. You have a wide choice of destinations and subjects you can study during your time abroad.

Throughout the programme, the core themes and values of IBA are embodied in our keynote courses. Here are some examples of first-year keynote courses.

People in Business and Society
Engage with different cultures and understand people working in international organizations. Looking beyond borders, you acquire a cross-cultural outlook and learn how to apply this to manage people effectively. Challenge yourself to view professional development in an international context, to work as a group to create your own IBA culture and to reflect critically on business cases from a cross-cultural perspective.

Cross-cultural Marketing
This course provides fundamental knowledge of marketing at the same time as it builds your intercultural sensitivity. Whilst cultural differences may seem obvious, they are not easy to analyse, describe or categorize. Approaching this challenge from a people perspective, you gain a basic understanding not only of international marketing strategy and tactics but also of what to be aware of when applying them across cultural boundaries.

Business Mathematics
Mathematics is a challenging but highly relevant topic for any international business student. To do business, you need vision, but also getting the numbers right. The business literature features mathematical models for scheduling, finance, and investments. Such models require a basic understanding of mathematical principles related to multi-variable calculus, optimization and expectation. Simple business calculations also require basic skills in setting up and handling spreadsheets and typesetting formulas. This course therefore also addresses such general skills.

Organization Theory
Start unpacking the theoretical tools with which you can understand what an organization is, how organizations function, and how different organizational structures and actions influence various outcomes. We will discuss various examples of organizations - factories in 19th century industrial England, contemporary prisons in the US, the creative companies of the 21st century - to put flesh on the bones of organization theories. Though our focus is on general organization theories that can be applied across different organizational and national contexts, we explicitly discuss international business-related issues, such as how managerial ideas spread across national contexts.

As an IBA student, you are part of an active international community outside as well as in the classroom. Faculty student association Aureus organizes a host of extracurricular activities, some designed to complement your studies or enhance your career prospects, others purely recreational or social. You are also welcome to become involved as an event organizer or board member of a student or study association.

Highly talented and motivated students can apply for our Honours Programme, allowing you to choose additional courses to broaden your academic horizons. Other options include summer courses for extra study credits and holiday internships to bolster your credentials in the jobs market.

As you progress through the IBA programme, Career Services and Alumni Relations offers coaching and workshops to help you make the next step in your studies or career. You can utilize their network of alumni and company contacts to find internships and other personal and professional development possibilities.


Courses
Period 1
Business Mathematics I
People in Business and Society
Tutor Programme IBA
Research Participation I 
Period 2
Organization Theory
Economics for the Global Era
Tutor Programme IBA
Research Participation I 
Period 3
Academic Skills
Tutor programme IBA
Research Participation I 
Period 4
Business Statistics
Global Supply Chain Management
Tutor Programme IBA
Period 5
Accounting
Cross Cultural Marketing
Tutor Programme IBA
Period 6Business Processes

For more information, see our study guide.


Courses
Period 1Business Information Systems
Human Resources Management - Organizational Behaviour
Period 2Finance
International Business Law
Research Participation II
Period 3International Strategy
Research Participation II
Period 4
Business Research Methods I – Quantitative
Research Participation II
One of the following electives (Developed Economies)
  • Developed Economies: Digital Innovation and Virtual Organizing in a Global Setting
  • Accounting in Multinational Enterprises
  • HRM Practices: A Global Perspective
Period 5Business Research Methods II – Quantitative
One of the following electives (Emerging Economies)
  • Corporate Finance in Emerging Economies
  • Marketing in Emerging Economies
  • Supply Chain Management in Emerging Economies
Period 6Integrative Research Project

For more information, see our study guide.



Courses
Period 1Study abroad
Period 2Study abroad
Period 3Study abroad
Period 4
Ethics
Two specialization courses
Period 5Thesis
Two specialization courses
Period 6Thesis

For more information, see our study guide.


Courses
Period 1
Business Mathematics I
People in Business and Society
Tutor Programme IBA
Research Participation I 
Period 2
Organization Theory
Economics for the Global Era
Tutor Programme IBA
Research Participation I 
Period 3
Academic Skills
Tutor programme IBA
Research Participation I 
Period 4
Business Statistics
Global Supply Chain Management
Tutor Programme IBA
Period 5
Accounting
Cross Cultural Marketing
Tutor Programme IBA
Period 6Business Processes

For more information, see our study guide.


Courses
Period 1Business Information Systems
Human Resources Management - Organizational Behaviour
Period 2Finance
International Business Law
Research Participation II
Period 3International Strategy
Research Participation II
Period 4
Business Research Methods I – Quantitative
Research Participation II
One of the following electives (Developed Economies)
  • Developed Economies: Digital Innovation and Virtual Organizing in a Global Setting
  • Accounting in Multinational Enterprises
  • HRM Practices: A Global Perspective
Period 5Business Research Methods II – Quantitative
One of the following electives (Emerging Economies)
  • Corporate Finance in Emerging Economies
  • Marketing in Emerging Economies
  • Supply Chain Management in Emerging Economies
Period 6Integrative Research Project

For more information, see our study guide.



Courses
Period 1Study abroad
Period 2Study abroad
Period 3Study abroad
Period 4
Ethics
Two specialization courses
Period 5Thesis
Two specialization courses
Period 6Thesis

For more information, see our study guide.

Overview International Business Administration

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

Three years

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 May

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law

Aarony Zade/Bangladesh

Bachelor International Business Administration

When I had to pick out a course for my Bachelor’s degree, the IBA programme stood out for me. The emphasis on the international aspect of business is vital because it is helping me understand how different business cultures come together. The small tutorial classes are very helpful because it gives me a chance to work with my group as well as the lecturer more closely, which is essential for understanding the courses better. The exchange programme abroad, which I am looking forward to, promises to put our understanding of the global business world to practice.

Coming to VU Amsterdam was an easy decision. The city is exactly how I pictured it to be, beautiful, fun and bustling with life all year round. The Dutch people are open and friendly, but very direct!  The university has been excellent in helping me adjust to a culture that is nothing like mine and feel welcome. I have made friends from all over the world because VU Amsterdam as well as the city of Amsterdam hosts a massive mix of different cultures. For me, coming to the Netherlands and studying at VU Amsterdam has been a crucial step to becoming a global citizen.

International Business Administration


AACSB

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