Business Administration: Management Consulting

Combine consultant skills with an academic mindset

The MC programme gives you the consultant experiences, skills and theories that prepare them for a head start in their consulting career.

Area of interest

New technologies, internationalization and connected markets have sparked a wave of transformation in the world of organizations. Many organizations are looking for answers on big questions. What strategy should we follow? Which organizational form fits best in the new environment? How do we ensure our change efforts pay off? Consultants play a crucial role in helping organizations to find answers to those often fussy questions, and they guide them during implementation, when solutions have been defined.

The MC programme challenges you to gain the knowledge, mindset and skills a 21st century consultant needs. In the courses you experience open questions, you study the bigger professional challenges consultants face, apply inductive and abductive approaches to find answers, and you are trained in methods to present their answers convincingly. Creative problem solving and rhetoric are a key in the programme, as consultants have to be convincing. That is the only power they can exploit in interaction with their clients, when acquiring assignments, when developing solutions and during implementation.

Abductive problem solving

By confronting you with open questions you are trained in abductive problem solving. It is solving practical problems with the aid of some theory, but it is mainly based on inductive research methods like interviews and case studies that are qualitative and explorative. Theory is used to make sense of findings, and to approach a question as informed as you can, but without believing your tentative hypothesis will equal the answer. To get familiar with abductive consultant approaches you do many interviews and you study complex and real-life cases in almost every course.

Admission and application details

The Management Consulting programme has the following learning goals.

Have the advanced and original academic and research skills to contribute to the body of knowledge
Students have to apply and develop theory about consultants as well as carry out empirical research to solve client problems. The Research Seminar provides a methodological background, the other courses a theoretical background.

Have thorough knowledge of relevant theory and methods
The theoretical learning line in the programme provides students with theories about consulting relating to career issues, consultant roles, change, thought leadership, professional service firms, consulting business modelling and the key skills, norms and values of consultants. We offer six consulting courses. To deepen their knowledge, students can additionally choose from several electives that each are strongly based on fostering student’s ability to act in response to strategic and organizational challenges. To broaden your horizon beyond the core of strategy and organization, you can also choose electives from other programmes such as International Management, Leadership & Change Management, Strategy & Organization, and Human Resource Management. Several interdisciplinary electives offer an additional opportunity to deepen your knowledge of a topical issue in business and management beyond the boundaries of the Management Consulting programme.

Have an academic approach to solving complex [business/economics] problems
Each course offers unstructured assignments, just like actual clients could give them. Students have to solve them based on research and theory by applying abductive methods. Assignments include reviewing a consultancy report and developing a new business model for a real consultancy. A consultancy project will be carried out in period 3 and there are possibilities for doing an internship.

Have the professional social skills to interact with other professionals
The learning line on skills includes groupwork and presentation skills, exercises on solving unstructured problems, evaluation skills, and creative skills necessary to develop advice.

Have a horizon beyond the professional area
Students are sent out into the world and will experience the tensions between theory and practice, plans and implementation, reflection and action, what is good for a client company vs what is good for society. They will be challenged to define their own position in this.

Are self-reflective professionals
Students experience many peer-feedback moments and obligatory self-reflections after each course. Team feedback (360 degrees or similar) in the consulting project also challenges students to better self-reflect. All self and peer-reflections will be integrated in a portfolio.

Download the Business Administration: Management Consulting curriculum

Business Administration: Management Consulting courses in study guide.

Aspirational job (far future)
For many participants in the program their consultant career will aim at becoming: partner, principal or senior consultant in a consultancy firm, senior consultant in internal consulting departments or large firms, policy analyst, or independent consultant

However, consultant can also be only your first job. Based on your experience as consultant you find out much about other sectors, firms and professions. It often happens that consultants move over to their clients in a management role in order to become more actively involved. Or the seek a more reflexive profession and the become researcher. Or they discover their entrepreneurial talents. As orientation on your future career being consultant is the best first job you can have.

Actual placement (near future)
The actual placement of students depends critically on the bachelor programme students have followed. A bachelor in business administration prepares for general consulting, a bachelor in IT, HR or strategy prepares for more specialized consulting jobs.

The programme and VU Amsterdam have the following characteristics:

Academic
There is no other programme at the nexus of practice and academia that teaches students to structure and analyze fuzzy problems. Moreover, in academia the field of consultant studies is quite nascent. That creates ample opportunities for students to contribute to academic research on consultants with their masters’ thesis. Some of these studies have been published in top journals, and alumni also combine their consultant career with academic research, a combination valued by many consultants.

Professional
The MC programme prepares students for a perfect first job. Being consultant gives you the opportunity to discover the not-for-profit and business world while working for different clients. The program provides students with the research mindset that will enable them to become a thought leader in their field, and it develops their critical and analytical skills.

Citizen
We believe consultants can make a difference by co-creating with their clients, by helping organizations become more responsible, and by contributing to innovative business strategies and public policies. In the program professional ethics is an important theme that runs through several courses, as consultants are quite active in defining the norms to evaluate organizations or to benchmark them. What they suggest as relevant performance indicators will affect our society for many years.

Challenges to distinguish

  • Honours programme in MC. Students follow two extra courses in a related specialization and participate in an additional consulting project, which adds 24 ects to their study.
  • Consulting assignment. During the programme students have to carry out a real life consulting project. In this assignment you will be challenged to work on complex problems, under time pressure, with limited information and a client you need to convince your solution is the right one.
  • Internships. The programme offers the possibility to do an internship, where students can further develop their consulting skills.
  • Article contest: Each year students interview a consultant and write an article about that. The best article gets published in the Management en Consulting, the leading industry magazine in the Netherlands.
  • Industry articles: Based on their master theses or projects students have contributed to white papers and industry articles, leading to exposure in the business world.
  • Early thesis writing. Students with academic ambitions next to their consultancy interests can participate in an early thesis writing trajectory, aiming at publication or preparation for a part-time PhD project.
  • Academic articles: In the past several students have published high level academic articles with department staff based on the work in their Master thesis. This has led to exposure in the academic field.

The target group for the Management Consulting programme is as broad as the world of management consulting itself. Consultants focus on giving advice on such diverse areas as technology, human resource, organization design, strategy, IT, finance, quality management etc. Therefore the programme is open to students with a BSc degree in all these areas. In the past students with backgrounds like the following have entered our programme: Business administration, Economics, Public management, Psychology, Sociology, Engineering. More important than the background is that students have to be ambitious and that they are willing and able to work with unstructured problems, and that they can imagine there might be different futures possible.

Community
The Management Consulting programme offers many ways to network. Our alumni are member of our LinkedIn group and are always open to talk to students and to help them further in their assignments. The programme also offers various opportunities to meet informally over drinks, during poster presentations or in extra-curricular activities. During the programme students will be exposed to practitioners, enabling them to learn and to network with consultancy organizations. Guest speakers from very diverse consultancies will help you to determine which type of consulting fits best for you.


In-depth research methods
In many courses you will be expected to conduct interviews with consultants. This is the best way to gain a real understanding of what consultants do, how they have built their careers, where they work and the kinds of projects they are involved in. In the first course we will work with the journal Management & Consulting. Each student must write an article for submission to the journal. Generally, the best article will be published. This is a real incentive for you to polish your writing skills: you will need them as a consultant.

A key programme element is learning how to write an advisory report. During the course on policy evaluation and advice, you will be asked to write a second opinion on an actual public report that you may choose yourself. You will be expected to evaluate the argumentation in the report using rhetorical and economic insights. You will present your own advice as consultants do, emphasizing your own conclusions and recommendations.

You will also learn what tools and methods consultants use in their work. During the course on organizational development and change, you will focus on change processes themselves. Once you have passed all the components of the Master’s programme, you will be awarded the title of Master of Science in Business Administration. This degree is recognized internationally.

I want to send my application form to apply for a Master's programme before the first of April. I expect to graduate before the end of this academic year. Is it possible to apply without having my Bachelor's diploma yet?
Yes, that is possible. Your eligibility can be assessed without the actual diploma. After (conditional) admission to one of our MSc programmes, we will contact you and ask for the original and official documents for registration at the university. One of these documents is the official diploma (or certified copy of it).

I have graduated from a Dutch HBO. Is it possible for me to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?
Unfortunately, if you hold a HBO BSc diploma you cannot get direct admission to one of our Master's programmes. We have a specific Premaster’s programme for some of our Master’s programmes. The Premaster’s programmes are entirely Dutch taught, you need a NT2-2 certificate to get admission and your GMAT score has to be at least 550. Some Master’s programmes have other entry requirements if you hold a Dutch HBO. Please check ‘admission and application’ on the Master’s page to see if there is a specific Premaster’s programme available.

Is it possible to study one of the Master's programmes part-time?
All Master's programmes open to international students are full time programmes, which means that you are expected to spend at least 4 days a week at the university. There are two part-time Master's programmes both taught in Dutch.

Can I apply for a MSc programme starting in February?
No, all our Master's programmes start in September.

Can I apply online?
International students can apply online. See the webpage "Admission and application" of your respective master's programme for more information.

Application deadline
International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may hold for other category students). Dutch degree students: Application in Studielink before 1 June.

Do you require work experience to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?
No, we do not require work experience. Sometimes it might help to have some work experience to get admission if your Bachelor's diploma does not cover all the academic requirements (see admission requirements in the left menu).

Do you require GMAT or GRE to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?       
In some cases we might require a GRE or GMAT. For the Master’s programmes in Economics and Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics a GRE might be required. The admission board will let you know if a GRE is required. At other Master’s programmes a GMAT or GRE is not required. This does not mean that we do not pay any attention to your grades. If you have obtained a good GMAT or GRE score it is recommended to mention this in your application and to enclose a copy of the results. 
 
Please note: To be admitted to one of our specific Dutch taught pre-master's programmes you have to score at least 550 on the GMAT. 

Is it possible to pay the tuition fee in installments?
Yes, that is possible. The registration period is in August after your arrival in the Netherlands. You can pay the tuition fee either at once before 1 September or you can choose to sign a contract that you will pay it in installments during the academic year.

Dr. Onno Bouwmeester

Coordinator specialization Management Consulting

BA_ManCons_Onno Bouwmeester.jpg

"The specialization in Management Consulting encourages students to learn how theories and methods from different social science disciplines can be brought together to support the formulation of normative advice. This is advice that is generally given when interests are at odds."

Overview Business Administration: Management Consulting

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION

1 April for international degree holders (different deadlines may hold for other category students);
1 June for Dutch degree holders

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

Specialization in Business Administration

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law

Marina Pol

Student

BA_ManCons_Marina Pol.jpg 

"The reason why I choose for the MC specialization is that this specialization is offering you the most practical experiences from a consulting perspective."

Admission with a Dutch Degree

We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious students who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, (International) Business Administration, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and other related disciplines. Typically, successful students in this programme have at least a 7 average grade (or an equivalent GPA score for international students) in the third year of their Bachelor’s programme, or a GMAT score of 600. Prior relevant work experience and experience with volunteering or other citizenship behaviours are encouraged and also taken into account.

Admission requirements
With a Bachelor's degree in (International) Business Administration, Economics or Econometrics and Operations Research from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you are admissible provided you successfully meet the requirements in this document. Furthermore, we take into account your motivation, prior relevant work experiences, and any relevant volunteering experiences and/or citizenship behaviors.

Application procedure
To enroll in the programme submit your enrolment application via Studielink. Please note: in Studielink you can apply for the Master in Business Administration and in VUnet you can select your specialization.

Step 1:
Apply for the MSc programme Business Administration via Studielinkbefore 1 June. You can apply for the specialization in VUnet (see step 2)

Step 2:
Please complete your application in VUnet by answering additional questions and affirming  your choice for the specialization. Furthermore you need to upload:

  • a transcript of your bachelor grades. (You can create a pdf of your grades via the application results on VUnet yourself.)
  • a motivation letter in which you explain why you want to pursue a Master’s programme in BA, Management Consulting, at VU Amsterdam, and also explicitly elaborate on your vision about the role of BA graduates in society.
  • a recent resume.

Please note: we can only process your application when your choice of specialization is clear and your documents are uploaded.

More information regarding registration WO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).

Services for international (IBA) students / Residence permit:
If you are planning to continue your studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam after your IBA, please contact the Central Admission’s Support Team of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for further information and specific questions about the offered services for international students like extending your residence permit. You will need to apply for extension of your residence permit if you continue your studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious students who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, (International) Business Administration, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and other related disciplines. Typically, successful students in this programme have at least a 7 average grade (or an equivalent GPA score for international students) in the third year of their Bachelor’s programme, or a GMAT score of 600. Prior relevant work experience and experience with volunteering or other citizenship behaviours are encouraged and also taken into account.

Admission requirements
The masterprogramma Business Administration, specialization Management Consulting is open to students with a university Bachelor's degree that provides a thorough knowledge in:
Business Administration. Also, we take into account your motivation, prior relevant work experiences, and any relevant volunteering experiences and/or citizenship behaviors. Furthermore you need to have successfully completed courses and studied literature related to the core of this programme, consisting of (or equivalents of):

Strategy:
•    De Wit, B., Meyer, R. (2010) Strategy: Process, Content, Context. An International Perspective. 4th edition, London: Thomson

Organization Theory and Change:
•    Jones, G.R. (2012) Organizational Theory, Design and Change. 7th edition, Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall
and
•    O’Mahoney and Mangham (2013) Management Consultancy 2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Research Methods:
•    Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill (2012). Research Methods for Business Students, 6th Edition. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited/Prentice Hall

Concerning the specialization Management Consulting, approval is in most cases given to students who hold an academic Bachelor’s degree in
o    (International) Business Administration,
o    Psychology (provided that  they have a sufficiently matching profile),
o    Sociology (provided that  they have a sufficiently matching profile),
o    Economics

Applicants with at least a (VU) Bachelor's degree in other specializations that are not strongly related to Management Consulting / Business Administration can be admitted in the Master, but depending on their degree they will be required to take extra courses in business administration to reach a minimum of 30 credits, and/or in research methods courses. In that case their programme will take longer than one year.

Application procedure
To enroll in the programme submit your enrolment application via Studielink. Please note: in Studielink you can apply for the Master in Business Administration and in VUnet you can select your specialization.

Step 1:
Apply for the MSc programme Business Administration via Studielink before 1 June. You can apply for the specialization in VUnet (see step 2)

Step 2:
After applying for the programme in studielink you will receive a VUnet-ID and password. Please complete your application in VUnet by answering additional questions and affirming  your choice for the specialization. Furthermore you need to upload:
-    a formal transcript of your bachelor grades,
-    a motivation letter in which you explain why you want to pursue a Master’s programme in BA, Management Consulting, at VU Amsterdam, and also explicitly elaborate on your vision about the role of BA graduates in society,
-    a recent resume.
Please note: we can only process your application when your choice of specialization is clear and your documents are uploaded. 

Step 3:
The admission committee will assess your application and decide whether you are admissible. You will be informed about this decision via email.

More information regarding registration WO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).
We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious students who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, (International) Business Administration, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and other related disciplines. Typically, successful students in this programme have at least a 7 average grade (or an equivalent GPA score for international students) in the third year of their Bachelor’s programme, or a GMAT score of 600 (please note: the admissible GMAT score for the premaster is 550). Prior relevant work experience and experience with volunteering or other citizenship behaviours are encouraged and also taken into account.

If you have a Dutch higher vocational (HBO) degree you need to enroll in a pre-master’s programme, which is designed to bridge the gap between higher vocational education and university-level education. Beside a HBO degree you also need to score at least 550 on the GMAT test. Please note: the pre-master's programme is taught in Dutch only.

For more information about the pre-master's programmes see 'Master na HBO' (in Dutch).
More information regarding registration HBO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).

Students who have successfully completed the VU pre-master’s programme in Management Consulting are automatically entitled to admission to the master’s specialization Management Consulting.

Information days and activities
contact@vu.nl
Admission requests, admission requirements and admission questions
toelating.sbe@vu.nl
(can only be reached by e-mail)
Tuition fees, Studielink, VUnet
Central Student Desk
Application
Studielink
Other questions
contact@vu.nl

Visit our information day
Master's DaySaturday 10 March, 2018
Please register later

Admission with an International Degree

We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious students who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, (International) Business Administration, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and other related disciplines. Typically, successful students in this programme have at least a 7 average grade (or an equivalent GPA score for international students) in the third year of their Bachelor’s programme*, or a GMAT score of 600. Prior relevant work experience and experience with volunteering or other citizenship behaviours are encouraged and also taken into account.

Admission requirements
In order to gain admission to our Master’s programme, you need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 EC or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score, but we do take into account your motivation, prior relevant work experiences, and any relevant volunteering experiences and/or citizenship behaviors. Furthermore you need to have successfully completed courses and studied literature related to the core of this programme, consisting of (or equivalents of):

Strategy:
•    De Wit, B., Meyer, R. (2010) Strategy: Process, Content, Context. An International Perspective. 4th edition, London: Thomson

Organization Theory and Change:
•    Jones, G.R. (2012) Organizational Theory, Design and Change. 7th edition, Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall
and
•    O’Mahoney and Mangham (2013) Management Consultancy 2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Research Methods:
•    Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill (2012). Research Methods for Business Students, 6th Edition. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited/Prentice Hall

 
English language proficiency
The admission board wants to stress the intensity of the programme: reading scientific articles and writing papers will be a key part, all in a very high pace. Your English language skills, both oral and written, are extremely important in this programme. As you will have to communicate frequently with your fellow students and you will be working with and for international companies.

VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test. You can already apply online without having the test results. We do advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the programme:  

IELTS (academic):
•    Minimum general score 6,5
•    Minimum score writing 6,0

TOEFL
•    Paper based test 580
•    Internet based test 92

Cambridge English
•    Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
•    Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the TOEFL ITP English-language proficiency test. The test is offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at www.taalloket.nl

Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test.

If you have read the admission requirements and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents and arrange the payment of the application fee, a non-refundable €100 application fee applies. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

•    Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
•    Curriculum Vitae
•    A motivation letter
•    Transcript of records
•    Thesis (or another sample of academic writing)
•    A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
•    A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. In Studielink you can apply for the Master in Business Administration and in VUnet you can select your choice of specific programme. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via e-mail. Please refer to our application page to see which application deadline applies for you.

Step 2: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 3: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam!

Further information about:
Accommodation
Visa
Tuition fees

Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here on this webpage; vu.nl/ambassadors.

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries. 

Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on www.vu.nl/scholarships or www.grantfinder.nl


Visit our information days
More information about Master's programmes
Visit our information days

Central International Office
For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office:

Foto Leanne Schrijver Leanne Schrijver
Tel +31 20 59 83032
E masters.sbe@vu.nl





 Foto Paul SteemanPaul Steeman
Tel +31 20 59 88739
E masters.sbe@vu.nl

 




Shrestha_Amu_86x129Amu Shrestha
Tel +31 20 59 84296
masters.sbe@vu.nl

 




For general information about VU Amsterdam:

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00).
You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl.


Rose Atkinson

Student

Rose Atkinson 

"The master's degree in Business Administration - Management Consulting not only enhanced my theoretical knowledge in this field, but also provided relevant practical experiences. Throughout the year I improved my interviewing skills through the different course assignments and thesis interviews. This appeared to be very useful when applying for jobs: during a team case, the interviewers complimented me on my interviewing skills and that was one of the reasons I got the job! All in all, I definitely recommend this master's degree to those who aspire to be well-prepared for a career in consulting."


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