Bachelor International Business Administration – Erasmus University Rotterdam (Rotterdam School of Management)

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Reviewed by NVAO

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Erasmus University Rotterdam

Executive summary

In this executive summary, the panel presents the main considerations which have led to the assessment of the quality of the Bachelor in International Business Administration programme of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam with regard to the NVAO Framework for the Assessment of Internationalisation (14 November 2011).

As the programme’s vision on internationalisation is good but somewhat implicit, the panel encourages to make this vision more specific. Although the programme management discusses the internationalisation vision with a number of stakeholder groups, the panel advises to bring internationalisation issues forward more strongly in the Programme Committee and to organise the input from the business community more systematically. The programme’s objectives are perfect operationalisations of the internationalisation vision. The panel finds the benchmark comparison with other programmes in the world relevant, but advises to elaborate this comparison. The programme management monitors the quality of the international and intercultural features of the programme quite systematically. This may be derived from the measures the programme management has listed, following up on the recommendations by the NVAO-panel in 2010. As most of the improvements are still in the planning phase, the panel advises to implement these measures. Also, the panel recommends to critically evaluate the merger of the Programme Committee of this programme with the Programme Committee of the Dutch-spoken Bachelor in Business Administration programme, to determine whether the international and intercultural aspects of this programme are given sufficient attention.

The intended learning outcomes reflect the internationalisation vision. The panel is impressed about the model which has been drafted to relate the intended learning outcomes to the course contents. Any changes in the courses are, carefully, monitored to ensure the course contents remaining in line with the programme’s learning outcomes. The assessment methods for the international and intercultural learning goals are good. This applies to the written examinations for the assessment of the, mostly, knowledge-oriented international learning goals and the assignments and self-reflection reports for the assessment of the, mostly, skills-oriented intercultural learning goals. As a further improvement, the programme management is doing research to find an assessment tool to measure the intercultural learning effect more accurately. The targets which have been set, to measure the extent to which the graduates have achieved the intended international and intercultural learning outcomes, are relevant and ambitious. Although information about the careers of the graduates is available, the panel welcomes the plans of the programme management to conduct a survey among the alumni.

The curriculum comprises a fair number of courses addressing international and intercultural contents. As a further improvement, the panel recommends to look once again into the requirements for the thesis, including the reflection on the international and intercultural component of the research. The students are given the opportunity to spend a substantial part of the third year of the programme abroad, either in an international internship or in an international exchange programme. This greatly contributes to the students’ international and intercultural knowledge and skills. The teaching methods selected for the courses match the courses’ international and intercultural learning goals. Although the number of students in the programme is relatively large, the students often meet in small groups, allowing them to discuss international topics in detail, to work on international assignments and to be effectively trained in intercultural skills.

The panel recommends to maintain teaching in small groups. In order to maintain the international and intercultural balance of the programme, the panel advises to prevent the student body from increasing substantially, to keep the proportion of Dutch students at a maximum of 40% and continue the policy to avoid dominant student groups of one particular nationality of entering the programme. The teaching staff, clearly, provide an international and intercultural perspective for the students. In the mentor programme, the students are guided in groups, composed of students with different backgrounds and from different countries.

The teaching staff composition meets the international and intercultural features of the programme, as different nationalities are present and the proportion of non-Dutch lecturers (42%) is substantial. The selection criteria for the staff ensure the lecturers to meet the international and intercultural requirements. Most of the lecturers have relevant international experience in teaching and their command of the English language is good. Although the staff-to-student ratio is rather unfavourable, this does not really prevent the lecturers from teaching the international and intercultural aspects effectively. The services offered to the lecturers are up to standard.

The students gain international and intercultural experience, as is evident from the course contents, the topics addressed in the classes and the skills the students are trained in. Nevertheless, the panel advises to make mandatory for the students to gain substantial international experience abroad, preferably in an international internship or an international exchange. The entry requirements for the programme are effective, allowing only the students in who have a fair chance to complete the programme. The international composition of the student population is very balanced. As has been indicated above, the panel recommends to maintain a strict admission procedure, to keep the proportion of Dutch students at the current level and to prevent the influx of students of increasing. Also, the panel recommends to enhance the efforts to increase the number of students from Africa and the Middle East. In the opinion of the panel, these measures are required to safeguard the present outstanding international and intercultural character of the programme. The services for the students are excellent, including the assistance for students coming from abroad and the study guidance, especially the first-year mentor programme. The panel recommends to facilitate and encourage the students to take more extra-curricular language courses than the present scheduled 5 EC course, including a stronger focus on Dutch language training for international students.

The panel advises NVAO to award the distinctive quality feature Internationalisation to the Bachelor in International Business Administration programme of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, assessing this programme to be excellent with regard to the NVAO-requirements. As a consequence, the panel advises NVAO to propose to the European Consortium of Accreditation in higher education (ECA) to award this programme the corresponding European Certificate of Internationalisation.