- Overly focused on group work while not regulating the group mix: Every single course required you to team up with others to build a group. The group assignment was the biggest part of your final course grade so you wanted to make sure you're in a group with people who are on the same level in terms of motivation, knowledge, skills and work ethic. Unfortunately, I personally havent been that lucky so my overall GPA suffered a lot from people's inability to level up their game. (While considering that it often times was me and one or two other people who did all of the work in the end and the lazy part of the group never received any kind of punishment for their behaviour and only benefitted from others' hard work, I would definitely chose a uni that allows for everyone to shine who wants to shine and the other way around.) I'm usually a fan of working in teams but this experienced has turned me over. Anyhow, the course leaders were not able to mix up groups with easy free-to-get tools available online (not even after asking them repeatedly) so that best performer groups would team up again and again from course to course, leaving no chance for other motivated people to join/improve their performance. On top, professors didnt even react when some people were still left at the end of group-choosing-phase even though they were asked to jump in because no group was willing to take them on.
- Overall level too low: Unfortunately, the VU lets in people who arent even close to being qualified for the Masters I took -- some people had studied psychology, engineering and all other kinds of fields before aspiring to obtain a Master in Business Administration. Consequently, the overall level was diminished a lot by the lack of knowledge of those students (which, again, heavily influences your own performance considering everything happens in group work). Additionally, there were a lot of students who werent even close to the actual English level the VU required you to have. Some apparently worked with agencies to "pass" certain English tests whereas others were let in without even having to prove their competency. (For instance, when a professor once asked us to prepare "(…) a couple of slides (…)" a student in my group understood we were to prep two (!) slides. Some other students literally werent even able to properly communicate in English and always only hung out with people from their own country. People's language skills of course then also affected the group work again (research, preparation of the actual pitch and presenting).) Bottom line is you get the impression they let in everyone and anyone while they present themselves in a different way online!
- I have graduated in summer 2020, however I still havent received an official diploma until this day (end of March 2021); the VU is making excuses with refering that they really really really would like to have a graduation ceremony while the major part of students have accepted that we're not gonna go back to big events any time soon and would be more than fine (a survey was even conducted!) with receiving their diploma via mail. (Also considering that like half of the class have already moved back to their home countries at this point!) Very disappointed about how they deal with this considering every other university somehow manages.
- The buildings are old, grey and not at all inspiring you to dream… however, the location was nice as you can reach it super well with public transportation services (while also considering it was at the very edge of town).
- Overall, the VU follows a very ambitious goal in regards to that every work you submit must be written and structured strictly according to common research rules which I thought was really nice.
- A lot of really promising student activities were reserved for Dutch-speakers only (e.g. consultancy projects abroad, cultural exchanges abroad; all these kinds of things). On top, it still got communicated to all of the students (about 70% internationals in my class I think) in English, making us getting our hopes up high just so we could find out we werent even eligible to apply later on. The question is: Why would you not make this accessible to everyone? (Every Dutch person I met had at least good English skills, it's not like they couldnt switch languages very easily.)
Overall, I probably wouldnt apply there again but I have to say I appreciated the experience nevertheless and got a Master's degree within 10 months after all!
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Great researchers that teach you, big part of students is international, located great city