Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration

Published by Adri Meijdam op Tuesday 10 January
© 2019

For the IBA Bachelor programme, RSM has tried to specify more general learning outcomes of the programme and more general international objectives by identifying international (content) and intercultural (process) learning outcomes and to match these with programme courses in a matrix. As a first step, a matrix has been constructed with (general) learning outcomes in the field of content (5), skills (4) and attitude (3) on the horizontal axis and the courses of the programme on the vertical axis. As a next step, the learning outcomes have been narrowed down to International Learning Outcomes (ILO's), again put on the horizontal axis and the international elements of the programme's courses on the vertical axis. In this way, the matrix shows which ILO's are realized within which international elements in the various courses.


The main advantage of the matrix approach is a more detailed insight in where exactly the programme shows its international dimension. It goes beyond a more general statement 'the programme is international because it deals with international business' or 'the programme is international because it has many international students'. The distinction between international and intercultural allows for a closer observation of the specific international component of any given course. Straightforward business courses can be educationally 'tackled' in a very intercultural way and the other way around, courses taken by students when on an international exchange do not necessarily have an international content, nor need they to be taught in an intercultural way. Some course have neither of them, other courses have both and can thus be considered to be at the very heart of an international programme. Moreover, the matrix immediately identifies where which international educational activity is taking place. If courses disappear from the programme, and with them certain ILO's, it is easy to see what kind of courses and what kind of ILO's need to reappear - either on the place of the former course or in another course. From there it is only a small step to a portfolio approach of ILO's.

Favourable and demonstrable effect on the quality of education

The risk of the matrix approach is that it may become too mechanistic and also that it favours a course by course approach, and pays less attention to the international dimension of the programme as a whole.
A favourable effect is that a next step towards checking of the realization of the ILO's gets easier. Checking very general international competences can be difficult, but specified ILO's - for instance: in the field of project management, a student is able to also fruitfully contribute when the group is composed of people with various cultural backgrounds - can be better checked afterwards. If necessary, already within the programme, but possibly also afterwards. For RSM this process is only at a beginning stage.
At this moment we tend to see the ILO's achieved if:
- IBA graduates applying at other reputed (business) schools abroad are able to gain high acceptance rates;
- IBA graduates applying for the Rotterdam School of Management MSc International Management-CEMS are able to gain high acceptance rates;
- IBA graduates applying for jobs after their bachelor are able to secure predominantly international placements.
The first indicator is measured by keeping track of IBA graduates accepted at Master programmes abroad. The list of schools encompasses LSE, LBS, Oxford, Cambridge, UC Dublin, ESSEC, HEC, ESADE, IE, Bocconi, Mannheim, St. Gallen, SSE, CBS, Macquarie, Johns Hopkins - hence is of good quality. However, the programme may be less aware of unsuccessful applications.
Over 90% of IBA graduates applying for the MSc International Management-CEMS receive an offer (although not all accept the offer), and currently, IBA graduates make up for 20% of the programme, the other students being recruited from other universities.
The large majority of IBA graduates immediately continue for a Master degree, a small percentage enters the labour market directly after the bachelor. For those continuing with a master, the chosen master will also influence the labour market perspective. Keeping that in mind, of IBA graduates, 45% has a job abroad, outside the Netherlands. Still, Dutch graduates tend to a larger extent to stay in the Netherlands, albeit in predominantly internationally operating firms.

Constraints or limitations and unique features

The features of this good practice are not unique as RSM has worked with a matrix of learning objectives for a while already. Still, the step from LO to ILO had not been made yet to the full extent.
The distinction between 'international' and 'intercultural' seems to be quite unique and helps to clearly distinguish between international objectives on content and international (=intercultural) objectives by ways of working in the courses. For the latter, it says that the learning process in culturally diverse groups is the focal point, and that the learning outcomes are heavily influenced or even determined by how the group proceeds through the process.

Exchange characteristics & opportunities

Anyone can do this! The only thing required is the identification of general learning outcomes per course as a first step, and then narrow down to ILO's. The type of the programme does not matter, although programmes with a general international objective like international business will have it easier to identify international learning outcomes on content.

Links and supporting documents

10 JAN


Level: Bachelor
Orientation: Academic

Standard: Learning Outcomes
Assessment Result: Excellent

Type: Distinctive Feature Internationalisation

Contact information

Contact: Adri Meijdam
Contact e-mail: ameijdam(plaats the 'at' sign hier)
Institution: Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
Country: The Netherlands


Self assessment BSc in International Business Administration for NVAO pilot: Programme accreditation and internationalisation - a distinctive (quality) feature for internationalisation; Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, 5 August 2010.

Report of the Peer Review Team for BSc in International Business Administration for NVAO pilot: Programme accreditation and internationalisation - a distinctive (quality) feature for internationalisation Pilot, NVAO website