MBA in International Business

The MBA in International Business develops ambitious participants into future leaders who embrace the opportunities, master the challenges, and shape a successful and responsible future in an increasingly diverse and connected international business environment. The part-time MBA program allows participants to stay on their career trajectory and receive their MBA within 18 months. Typical participants have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized research university, at least three years of post-graduate work experience, and English language proficiency. The program welcomes participants with diverse backgrounds.


The world’s level of connectedness is on a record high with the Netherlands being the most globally connected country (Global Connectedness Index, 2018). Globalization renders domestic ‘recipes’ useless, as it changes how and where firms compete, how they are organized, and how they engage with internal and external stakeholders. These fundamental changes require a new type of manager with a holistic view of (international) business without restriction to isolated functional areas.

To profit from international opportunities, business owners and managers also need to be proactive, risk-taking, and innovative. Thus, internationalization intensifies the trend that leaders need to be more entrepreneurial to improve their firms’ competitiveness and to advance their personal careers.

But not only markets and customers become more international, greater international connectedness leads to more cultural diversity also within firms. This requires leaders to have strong cross-cultural leadership competencies.

The MBA in International Business is tailored to empower participants to profit from the opportunities and to overcome the challenges of a highly connected international business environment.


• Obtain a holistic understanding of international business beyond functional boundaries.
• Develop entrepreneurial thinking and acting.
• Grow into a responsible leader and understand the cross-cultural impact of your actions.
• Profit from teaching based on state-of-the-art evidence presented in ‘hands-on’ fashion to ensure relevance and practical applicability.
• Working with young scale-up firms in an Amsterdam-based incubator fosters your entrepreneurial attitude.
• Apply knowledge in an interactive software-based business simulation.
• Participate in international field trips and experiential learning activities such as an outdoor leadership training.
• Guest lecturers and speakers from renowned firms and startups as well as “real life” case studies foster close ties between the program and industry demands.

Beyond the core curriculum, the program offers various opportunities to deepen and broaden professional skills (e.g., intercultural communication or negotiation) and to profit from professional career services such as workshops to develop an own brand or individual career coaching.


The curriculum features highly accomplished VU and selected external professors as well as activating teaching methods. The program follows an evidence-based teaching approach: the courses draw on state-of-the-art (research and contextual) evidence otherwise unavailable to managers. The core belief is that teaching international business should be based on the latest and best knowledge of what actually works.

The program offers traditional (teacher-centered) and interactive ‘flip-the-classroom’-based elements such as software-based business simulations, international field trips, incubator visits, tutorials, presentations, discussions, case studies with fictional and real firms, teamwork, guest lecturers and speakers from renowned firms and startups to foster close ties between the program and the industry. This broad approach facilitates effective, active, and especially relevant learning.


Florian Zapkau
Florian Zapkau
Dr. Florian Zapkau is the program director of the MBA in International Business. He is an Assistant Professor of International Business with the School of Business and Economics of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In 2019, he worked as a visiting research fellow at King’s College London, UK. Before joining the VU, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Düsseldorf, Germany. Florian obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Giessen, Germany. Prior to becoming a researcher, he co-founded a university startup firm. Florian has teaching experience on the undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and PhD level as well as in executive education. His main research interests are International Business, Entrepreneurship, and International Entrepreneurship. Florian’s research appears in academic journals such as Journal of Management Studies (JMS), Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS), or Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice (ET&P). He is an editorial review board member of Journal of World Business (JWB) and Management Review Quarterly (MRQ). Florian is currently also involved in an interdisciplinary project on stress prevention in small firms funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.