Keuzegids 2018 Best Masters |

Business administration

In this article the following studies are discussed

  • Business administration
  • Research master's
  • Industrial Engineering
  • International Business

Since Brexit, more and more large companies have been relocating from London to Amsterdam, which means there are plenty of opportunities to work at a large corporate organisation in the Netherlands. It’s an international world for big corporate players. You’ll notice that soon enough during your studies. All master’s degrees in business administration are in English and attract students of all nationalities. 


Job market

Each year, a considerable number of students graduate from business administration courses. The job market is very saturated; as a graduate from a research university, you will have competition from graduates from universities of applied science as well as graduates with MBAs. However, in practice, it seems to work out and most business administrators manage to find a position. And even if this is not always at the level of a research university, they still earn a very respectable salary. In future, there will be more space in the corporate world and it will be even easier to find work with this degree.

The masters

click to view full version
The masters: overview and ratings
Facts Student ratings Expert
Business administration
Number of students
Course type
Scientific training
Practice-based approach
Assessment and final level
Business administration
 Breukelen Nyenrode Management 126 ft, pt en + ++ + + +++ + + o o o 80 ++
Open Universiteit Management 1830 pt Dutch + + o + o + o + o o 70 +
Groningen RUG Business Administration 389 ft en o o o + - + + + + o 68 +
Amsterdam UvA Business Administration 789 ft en o o o + o o o o o o+ 63 o
Enschede UT Business Administration 368 ft en - o o + - o o + o o 60 o

With very small student numbers, the rating from several years is merged. More information about sources and methods, see (in dutch)

The symbols (+, - and o) show how the programme scores in relation to the national average.
- - - = weakest, - - = weak, - = lower than average, o = average, + = above average, ++ = strong, +++ = strongest. (o- and o+ = see explanation assessment and final level)
The total score and our rating combines all scores. The best programmes get two or three times +.

Business administration

Important elements of business administration courses in terms of content are organisation, strategy and business management. Almost everywhere offers a wide range of tracks so that you can choose to specialise in a specific field: financial management, human resource management and supply chain management are common options. Sometimes, entire master’s degrees are dedicated to these topics. Those degrees are mentioned in other articles in the Dutch version of the Keuzegids.

Current social topics are also reflected in the range of tracks on offer: in Nijmegen, you can specialise in inclusion, which deals with how to make corporate culture accessible to minorities. The creative industry is a topic at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), partly because this economic sector has grown considerably in the Dutch capital over the past years. Some topics are large enough for their own master’s programme; you will find them under the thematic masters or under marketing or international. In Rotterdam, you can follow an extended master’s programme that lasts 18 months.

For people who really want to go further in academia or who wish to obtain a research position within a company, there are a range of research master’s. The programme that’s set up as a joint degree by VU University Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) deals with the impact of corporate life on society.

The quality scores of the nine general master’s in business administration vary drastically, but on closer inspection, the differences are less significant. Scientific training is (more than) acceptable everywhere. The programme offered by the private university of Nyenrode is head and shoulders above the rest. In terms of content, the programme is challenging and it also excels in terms of attention for practice. It’s precisely that point where the other master’s disappoint.

The Open University is praised for the level of the course material and, just like the master’s in Groningen, is praised for its feasible programme and facilities. For the four middling degree programmes, compliments are scare, but there is not much criticism either, except that the material could be more challenging in Twente. And in Rotterdam, there are lots of complaints about self-study areas.

The master’s at VU University Amsterdam receives mild criticism in terms of course material and lecturers. This criticism is more intense with regard to the joint study programme with the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

Industrial Engineering

The master’s in industrial engineering deal with production processes and how these can be better and more efficient. Various sectors are on offer, such as engineering, healthcare or logistics. The master’s in Groningen and Enschede mainly focus on improving processes in technical and organisational terms. At VU University Amsterdam, the health sector and the biomedical industry are key and at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), you learn all about the opportunities and threats of innovation. The industrial engineering Master’s last two years. You can take part in one of these courses if you have a technical bachelor’s degree, or sometimes if you’ve studied management.

Enschede stands out strongly in the quality comparison, with crystal-clear assessment criteria and a feasible and practical programme with excellent support. Eindhoven is also satisfactory in terms of assessment and practice-based approach, but students complain about the facilities.

The degree at Groningen does really well, but doesn’t excel. At VU University Amsterdam, the opinions of the enthusiastic experts about the master’s course differ from those of the students, who express strong criticism about the competence of the lecturers and the support they offer.

The students of the only assessed research master’s in Tilburg are very enthusiastic about all aspects of the degree programme. The lecturers are given a standing ovation and the scientific training is of an extremely high standard. 

International business

A number of master’s programmes focus entirely on the international corporate world. Maastricht University is a large-scale course, which offers lots of options from which to choose. Sustainability is one of the topics, but you can also go to Rotterdam or Tilburg for that. In Groningen, the care sector and the energy industry are on offer and you can spend an extra half year studying in England or China. If you decide to do so, you obtain two diplomas. The course in Rotterdam also lasts one and a half years, with a considerable amount of time spent abroad. The private master’s course at Tias (cost: 22,000 euros tuition fees per year) focuses on managing investments, among other things. 

In return for that sum of money, you get a high-quality course. The students are wildly enthusiastic about Tias. If you have less to invest, the International Management master’s courses at Rotterdam and Tilburg are very highly regarded programmes. The experts’ favourite is Rotterdam. Maastricht and Groningen also fare well, although Groningen is the only one to score poorly in terms of practice-based approach. Global Business at Rotterdam really needs to improve its facilities.


The master’s in marketing deal with how to market brand names and products, consumer behaviour and the communication strategy of companies. There is often scope to focus on a specific area: the University of Amsterdam (UvA) offers cross-cultural marketing. In addition to the broad marketing master’s programme at Tilburg, it also has a small-scale master’s programme that focuses on data research. With Marketing Intelligence, Groningen also has a data research degree that comes with the option of spending an additional year studying at one of Groningen’s partner universities.

The quality comparison reveals that marketing lecturers  everywhere deserve a pat on their backs. Furthermore, the degree programme at VU University Amsterdam is highly recommended, earning considerable compliments from students in almost all quality aspects. The degree programme in Groningen also receives nothing but praise. The three remaining marketing master’s are by no means bad and also only receive praise, but they lag a bit behind.  Both degree programmes in Tilburg receive mild criticism in terms of facilities; there is slightly more dissatisfaction in Rotterdam.

Thematic masters

The two-year degree programme in Wageningen is a bit of a one-off. This master’s course combines topics such as economics, sustainable development, nature and living environment, logistics and administration and policy. The university master’s at Hanze University of Applied Sciences is about switching to sustainable energy.  After a year, you choose to spend the next half year specialising in process optimisation or in the wider management of sustainable energy. You study for this specialisation in Zaragoza, Spain.

The quality of the very practice-oriented master’s in Tilburg is rated highest by the students. In terms of content and organisation, everything is great there. This applies less so to Wageningen. The various programmes in Rotterdam also receive a lot of praise from the experts in terms of ambition. The contents, assessments and lecturers are somewhat disappointing in the degree programme at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, as well as in the entrepreneur’s master’s course in Rotterdam.

For professionals

The part-time master’s programmes are aimed at professionals who, in addition to their work, want to study in order to further develop or expand their skills. The government does not fund these master’s courses and they are therefore subject to considerable fees. In addition to wider programmes, specific master’s about subjects such as risk management, information management or determining the value of a company are also available.

Two of the Tias degree programmes are in the highest category in terms of quality. These are well-organised and heavily practice-based master’s with strong lecturers in terms of content and teaching. The facilities are excellent. Business Administration at VU University Amsterdam has excellent study support. Study support and contact with the lecturers on the Information Management degree at Tias are somewhat weaker points.

Related masters

  • Public administration (research university [wo]) 
  • Economics (research university [wo]) 
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • industrial engineering (university of applied sciences)
  • Science & policy (research university [wo]) 

Our advice

Few subjects have such an extensive range of master’s courses as business administration. As such, it’s not always easy to make a decision. In each category of degree programmes, you will find one or more top courses in terms of quality, so it’s advisable to take that aspect into account. Furthermore, the range of specialisations is important. Of course, the cost can be the decisive factor too.

Keuzegids 2018 Best Masters |