Community, Campus, and Castles: Why There’s No University Quite Like Nyenrode

With on-campus accommodation, a 13th-century castle, and a tight-knit community, Nyenrode stands alone among Dutch universities. Here’s what it’s like to study at one of the most unique universities in the Netherlands.

In short

Opening the “Secret Box” of Nyenrode

Remi Bode didn’t always plan on joining the Nyenrode community. That’s despite being a resident of Breukelen, the Dutch town where Nyenrode Business University is located. Remi admits he didn’t know too much about the “secret box” near his home.

“Of course, from living in the area you know it’s a good university with a good reputation,” he tells MASTERGRADSCHOOLS. “But it was also a sort of secret box. It’s a campus, it’s a beautiful terrain over there, but from the outside, you don’t see or hear that much.” (00:46)

Remi ended up moving away to study for a degree in hotel management in Maastricht. While completing his bachelor’s degree he would meet the same two recruiters from Nyenrode. Every year, they would ask him when he was coming to study at Nyenrode. Every year, Remi would give the same answer: maybe next year.

But one year, everything changed.

He was invited to take part in the annual Nyenrode Business Game; the first quirk of this unique school. In the business game, students compete in teams for the chance to win a Nyenrode scholarship. Although Remi missed out on the original scholarship, he ended up meeting the Dean of the school’s MiM program. Their meeting led to an unexpected opportunity.

“We decided in the end that if I would do some programs in the school and if I would do a lot of extra effort for Nyenrode I would actually get the scholarship,” he explains. “So it was a bit of give and take, you could say.” (02:39)

The conversation showed Remi how much Nyenrode values its community. They want to find the right students for the school and will go to lengths to find them.

Why 1958 Was a Good Year for Remi

At Nyenrode, students tend to live on campus, a rarity in the Netherlands. Although the scholarship helped, the cost of studying still presented a significant challenge for Remi. As one of few private universities in the Netherlands, the school has higher tuition fees than average. 

When Remi started the MiM program he was living with his parents in Breukelen. But he soon realized that “if you want to have the real Nyenrode experience, you have to be on campus.” (05:12)

Fortunately, Remi’s luck was in again. He happened to meet two Nyenrode alumni from the class of 1958, who told him about their Nyenrode Scholarship Fund. The aim of the fund is to help people like Remi pay for his education at Nyenrode. (05:53)

It was an early indicator of just how close the Nyenrode community is. His campus accommodation costs were covered by the fund, with one condition. 

“I had to promise that for the rest of my life, I would make efforts to make it possible for other students to study at Nyenrode,” says Remi. “And that’s why I started to pay into the same fund as them. So it’s very nice. It’s a revolving idea. I’m paying now in the same 1958 legacy fund together with other people that also got a scholarship from those elderly gentlemen.” (06:42)

And so Remi could finally experience campus life in this secret box fully. He could better appreciate the special Nyenrode community living on campus. “That’s the nice part about campus; you live together, work together, study together,” he says. (04:31)

But the Nyenrode community doesn’t end at the walls of the school’s 13th-century castle. The school’s alumni network is global, and anywhere you go you’re likely to encounter another “Nyenrodian”. 

About the network Remi says, “On the one hand it’s easy to get in touch with the business world, but it’s also nice too on a personal level if you are traveling or you need something.” (13:10)

How the Nyenrode Community Helped Shape Remi’s Career

First, the school went above and beyond to offer Remi a scholarship. Then alumni from more than 50 years ago offered to cover accommodation costs. As he progressed through the program, Remi continued to discover the value of the Nyenrode community.

After his studies at Nyenrode, Remi found a traineeship at KLM. It was a prestigious opportunity that would give Remi the chance to climb the corporate ladder of the aviation giant. While applying for the position, he asked questions to Nyenrodians at KLM so that he could be very prepared for his interview. (07:26)

He landed the role.

However, over the course of the traineeship, he slowly started to realize that the corporate world wasn’t for him. He was thinking of turning his back on the opportunity and was hesitant about telling Nyenrode his plans.

“I was first afraid that Nyenrode would judge me for stopping with the traineeship after two years,” he admits. “It was actually very encouraging. All the people that I talked with from Nyenrode, I wrote, ‘Hey, I think I want to quit with the traineeship, I don’t feel myself there.’ And everyone was very supportive.” (15:18)

Instead of reproaching Remi, the careers team started looking at alternative career paths for him. There are no preconceived notions about what it means to be a Nyenrode alumnus. You choose the direction, and the Nyenrode community will be there to help.

Yet the freedom to choose his own path extended beyond his career. Overall, Remi thought his Nyenrode experience was so much more than a degree on a piece of paper. He compares the school to a “playground”, where you can “grow as a person” and “learn and do at the same time.” (12:14)

Remi wasn’t planning to study at Nyenrode. It was a series of serendipitous events that made it possible, and he stepped up to the challenge. His experience shows that when it comes to studying for a master’s degree, what you get out depends on what you put in.

“But maybe that’s with everything in life in the end,” he smiles. (16:55)

If you’d like to learn more about studying a master’s at Nyenrode Business School, feel free to reach out to one of our Nyenrode ambassadors.

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