International Business Administration

Your pathway to international business success

International Business Administration


Studying Business Administration?

Are you curious about other cultures? Looking to create a platform for your future business success? At the heart of business is people. So by studying International Business Administration (IBA) at VU Amsterdam, you’ll combine a comprehensive study of all the essential business disciplines in a genuinely international context with a strong focus on people in a cross-cultural environment. Not only the businesses you’ll study are international, but also the faculty staff and your fellow students are from a wide variety of backgrounds. 

The programme is multi-disciplinary, which means you’ll study everything from management and organisation to cross-cultural marketing, and from information technology to international strategy. And you’ll get to work with real businesses – in IBA, companies meet classrooms to give you practical experience that will set you up for a career in international business.

The first half of the IBA programme allows you to explore a broad range of business disciplines, while the second half is about making choices and deciding what your future holds. Along the way, you’ll acquire research and analytical skills, as well as learning to deal with real-world business problems. 

Year 1
VU Amsterdam is the only university in the Netherlands to offer a course that takes a holistic approach to businesses and the people who run them. The international dimension of IBA is reflected through key courses on topics like global economics, cross-cultural marketing and global supply chain management. For more information on the first year, see our study guide

Year 2
In the first semester, you’ll continue your core education with courses like International Strategy: a globally operating company will present a business problem to you at the start of the course, which you’ll need to solve by using SWOT analyses, proposing your strategy, and working with their feedback. In the second semester, you can choose from electives that suit your preferences – the first step in selecting a specialisation. For more information on the second year, see our study guide

Year 3
The first half of the year you’ll spend on an international exchange with any one of our partner universities across the globe. When you return, you’ll specialise in business discipline of your choice and write your Bachelor’s thesis – this is your chance to tailor your studies to your future field of work, or to prepare yourself for a Master’s programme in your chosen specialisation. For more information on the third year, see our study guide.

Annual schedule 2019-2020

  • Unlike traditional Business Administration, IBA will give you a truly international training – our courses are customised for the international market. 
  • VU Amsterdam organises Business Experience Days, during which companies are invited to give presentations, workshops and masterclasses (and to recruit their new hires!) 
  • The university’s top-class career services offer events, internships, workshops and career coaching. 
  • Not only do you benefit from an exchange abroad; you’ll also work in real cross-cultural teams with students from all over the world. 
  • VU Amsterdam offers you the opportunity to make your own decisions and choices. 
  • VU Amsterdam is a campus university, which means students actively participate and spend time together – both during the programme and in their free time.
  • You’re curious about different people and cultures, and how they interact and work. 
  • You have the ability to reflect on yourself and your own behaviour having learnt about other cultures . 
  • You want to be challenged, and you thrive on critical thinking. 
  • You have an affinity for numbers, data and analytics. 
  • You have a high level of English (the programme is taught in English only). 
  • You’re keen to grow and create a platform for your future career.

Does this sound like you? Then join us at one of our Open Days where you can find out more and try out the programme for yourself! If you’re keen to apply and meet the entry requirements (see below), then take a look at our application procedure and deadlines.

Master’s programmes
Whatever you choose to specialise in during your third year is likely to translate into a Master’s programme. IBA graduates have gone on to get Master’s degrees in many business disciplines, including Digital Business & Innovation, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, International Management, Leadership & Change Management, Management Consulting, Strategy & Organisation, Transport & Supply Chain Management, Marketing, Finance, Accounting and Control, as well as related fields such as International Journalism, Creative Advertising, International Development Studies, and Sustainability. What’s more, all these Master’s programmes are open to you at universities abroad. 

Job opportunities
Many IBA graduates end up at international corporations or even go on to become entrepreneurs and run their own start-ups. Lots of our students find work abroad, for obvious reasons, and fields include business analytics, supply chain management, marketing, financial management and policymaking. A Bachelor’s degree in IBA will give you any number of employable qualities, including critical thinking, research skills, self-awareness, social/professional skills, and the ability to make the link between theory and practice. 

Do you have questions?

  • You can call us on +31 20 5985000 (on working days from 10.00 till 16.00).
  • Or email us at
  • Furthermore, you can also send us a text message on Whatsapp on +31 6 825 48 367.

Do you have a question about admission? 

Students with a Dutch degree: 

  • Please contact the Student Desk on +31 20 5985020 from 10.30 – 12.30 or 14.00 – 17.00).
  • Or email them at

Students with an international degree: 

Contact a Student Ambassador
Would you like to hear from an international VU student about their student journey, what it is like to study at VU, the programme that they are doing and/or their student life in Amsterdam? Contact our student ambassadors! Our Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and would be happy to answer all your questions. Feel free to contact the board members of Aureus at They will be more than willing to put you in touch with a student who is currently participating in this programme 

VU Bachelor's day
Come join our Open Day on Saturday 9 February, and see for yourself what it’s like to study International Business Administration at VU Amsterdam! Register here.

Taster day
Come to a Taster day at the VU campus in Amsterdam's Zuidas district and experience what it is like to be a student at VU Amsterdam. Please sign up for the Taster Day!

Admission criteria and application

If you have obtained or will obtain a Dutch diploma, please check the criteria on our Dutch webpage.

Admission criteria for international applicants
Applicants holding a pre-university diploma from another country must meet a number of requirements. If you do not yet meet the requirements but expect to do so in the future (such as obtaining your diploma), you can already apply. We will evaluate your application and inform you of our admission decision. All outstanding requirements need to be met in full by the time you enrol for the programme. Admission to the programme will remain conditional until your diploma is awarded and your admission becomes unconditional.

Requirements that apply: 

  1. A diploma equivalent to the Dutch pre-university VWO diploma
    See the Diploma Requirement List for examples of accepted diplomas per country.
    Please note: this list is meant to give you an indication of admissibility; no rights can be derived from it.

  2. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English
    See the General Admission Requirements for the English language requirement.
    You can begin your application before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted.

  3. Proof of sufficient proficiency in Mathematics
    After you apply to the programme and upload the required documents in VUnet (Student Portal), the International Student Advisor will have a look at your transcripts to determine whether your mathematics level is sufficient.  These examples of diplomas demonstrate sufficient proficiency in mathematics:
  • International Baccalaureate: mathematics standard or higher level
  • United Kingdom/GCE A-levels: A-level in mathematics completed with a grade A, B or C
  • Germany: Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife including mathematics Grundkurs or Leistungskurs as Prüfungsfach

If you do not meet the mathematics requirement but have an otherwise strong application, you could still be accepted with a conditional offer. You would then be asked to participate in an entry test in mathematics. If participation in the exam is necessary this will be communicated to you in the offer letter. 

Mathematics Exams (available in English and accepted by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam):

  • Boswell-Bèta (English). Boswell-Bèta in Utrecht (the Netherlands) provides a mathematics course in English with exams in December, May and July.
  • CCVX (Dutch and English). CCVX offers mathematics exams equivalent to the Dutch VWO mathematics A level for Dutch-speaking and English-speaking applicants.
  • Online Mathematics Placement Test. The Online Mathematics Placement Test-A (OMPT-A ) offered by SOWISO is an online mathematics test that you can take from home by means of online proctoring.

A positive result for the mathematics examination (5,5/10 in the mathematics A exam or 65% in the OMPT-A online exam) is compulsory for admission to the programme.

Online Summer Prep-Campus
Even if you meet the mathematics requirements, some students find it difficult to know what is expected of them once they begin the IBA programme. To address this, we have developed the Online Summer Prep-Campus. A university jury unanimously voted this course as the most innovative educational project in 2017 and it will ensure that you are more than ready to begin your studies! Take a sneak peek on the Online Summer Prep-Campus website. You will always take part in the diagnostic test during the IBA matching process. The test helps determine your own maths level and gives you advice on how to proceed. If you need some additional help, take courses through the online summer prep-campus and freshen up your mathematics - and meet your new fellow students early! If your level is up to par, you can still get a head start on the topics that will be discussed during the mathematics course!

Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students
Chinese students who wish to enrol on a programme taught in English at a Dutch higher education institution are required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate. More information on the Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students.

Application process
Please check our step-by-step application guide for more information.

International applicants will be asked to submit the following documents:

  • Transcript(s) of records (e.g. High School grade list)
  • Curriculum Vitae (your personal details, previous education and any relevant work experience in approximately one A4 page)
  • Copy of valid passport
  • English language test results (if already obtained)

International students who require a student visa must apply before 1 April. Students who do not require a student visa must apply before 1 May. You will be informed about your admission within four weeks after the completion of your application (including all required documents).

Matching for students with a foreign degree

VU Amsterdam believes that it is important you fit into our programme and university. Matching offers you the opportunity to determine if the study programme corresponds to the image and expectations that you have and whether it suits you. VU Matching is part of the application procedure for all bachelor degree programmes. It consists of two parts: first you fill out a digital questionnaire on VUnet and second you participate in the matching activity of the programme. Please note participation in the Matching activity is mandatory. If you did not participate in the Matching activity, you cannot register for the programme in September.

This programme offers an online matching activity. In order for us to be able to send you an invitation it is necessary that you log in to VUnet and complete and confirm the application form (progress 100%). The start date for sending the invitations is not yet known. Keep an eye on your inbox: the invitation will be sent to the email address you entered when you registered. Check your spam folder regularly to make sure you don’t miss out on any messages from us.

If you are a student with a Dutch degree, please find your information about VU Matching for this programme here.
More information about VU Matching
If you have any questions about matching, email


Check your eligibility

Are you curious if you meet the admission requirements for the programme? Then you can fill out the online Student Self Check tool above to find out more about your chances to be admitted to the Master’s programme International Business Administration. In the tool you will be asked some questions about your previous education and background. Based on your answers you will receive a personal preliminary advice on your eligibility for admission and the next steps you can take to continue your application.

Please note: no rights can be derived from the Self Check tool results. For a definite admission decision you will have to complete the official application procedure for this programme.

Ready to apply?

Great! Click here to start your application.

Aarony Zade/Bangladesh

Bachelor International Business Administration


When I had to pick out a course for my Bachelor’s degree, the IBA programme stood out for me. The emphasis on the international aspect of business is vital because it is helping me understand how different business cultures come together. The small tutorial classes are very helpful because it gives me a chance to work with my group as well as the lecturer more closely, which is essential for understanding the courses better. The exchange programme abroad, which I am looking forward to, promises to put our understanding of the global business world to practice.

Coming to VU Amsterdam was an easy decision. The city is exactly how I pictured it to be, beautiful, fun and bustling with life all year round. The Dutch people are open and friendly, but very direct!  The university has been excellent in helping me adjust to a culture that is nothing like mine and feel welcome. I have made friends from all over the world because VU Amsterdam as well as the city of Amsterdam hosts a massive mix of different cultures. For me, coming to the Netherlands and studying at VU Amsterdam has been a crucial step to becoming a global citizen.

Overview International Business Administration




Three years


1 April (students requiring visa)/ 1 May (students who do not require visa)


1 September




A minimum of 42 credits including the course business mathematics


Economics, Business and Law