TEXT: MYRIAM DIJCK | PHOTOS © BEECKESTIJN BUSINESS SCHOOL
The world of business commerce has completely changed due to the global impact and rapid development of the internet. Online shopping, social media and smartphone use have drastically altered the way in which businesses reach out and interact with clients: not only for consumers but also in business-to-business. For professionals and companies, it is more essential than ever before to con-tinuously update their knowledge.
This is what Beeckestijn Business School aims to provide, by offering courses that allow experienced professionals to keep up with the latest developments in their field. Because, just having work experience is no longer enough to stay ahead, says director Hans Molenaar: “In the past, you could graduate from a decent college or university and have all the knowledge you need to reach your pension. Experi-ence was enough and that is no longer the case. Current knowledge is becoming more valuable than experience, you have to stay up to date with the latest developments.”
Beeckestijn has a unique approach to teaching, which they call ‘action learning’. They help students implement their knowledge by assisting them with creating a comprehensive plan of action that can be executed when the course is over, or even before. He continues: “We don’t believe in exams. Instead, we want students to leave the course with a completed business plan, including a vision, plan of execution and an overview of the costs involved.”
The classroom sessions are typically held once a week, and are usually in groups of around 14 people. Outside of those, students can request one-on-one feedback from teachers and get access to online tools to further their learning. “We allow students to study the theory in their own time and then the classes are all about unlocking that knowledge. We focus on the practical application by using cases or people’s own situations,” Molenaar says. “In order to ensure the best guidance, all of our teachers are top professionals who work in the field, and only teach part-time.”
Director Hans Molenaar.
Dozens of courses offered
The business school was founded in 2000, alongside the rise of the internet, as it had such an unprecedented impact on jobs in the commercial industries. “We started by offering one-off workshops, but it turned out there was a big demand among commercial professionals to brush up on their marketing knowledge.”
The name, ‘Beeckestijn’, relates to the estate where the first classes were held, just west of Amsterdam. By now, educating around a thousand professionals and managers a year, the Beeckestijn Business School offers their 60 different programmes at locations throughout the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Leusden Zwolle and Eindhoven.
Adapted to professionals
Aside from providing valuable knowledge and teaching practical skills, Beeckestijn Business School also makes sure the courses are doable alongside a full-time job. Molenaar explains: “We intend not to make our courses too long. Most of them take around ten sessions over a three-month period to complete. We found that if they last longer, they can start to impact business performance, people’s personal lives or even their day-to-day wellbeing.”
With the practical nature of the courses, Beeckestijn Business School attracts a mixture of students. “The majority are employed and want to increase their performance at work. But we also get entrepreneurs who are working on a new startup, people who are in-between jobs and want to become relevant to the job market again, or people who are simply interested in the subjects,” he says.
Reaching clients and managing expectations
As people spend more and more time online, it is essential to understand the digital landscape. With a trend towards bespoke, individualised services, customers have also become more demanding. Mo-lenaar: “In this day and age, if you lack this knowledge, you just won’t be able to reach your customers anymore.”
Three popular courses offered are digital marketing, customer experience management and customer data management. Molenaar adds: “There is much more data available, including data on customers. It is important to know how to organise this, create value with it and how to store it safely.”
Beeckestijn Business School offers various types of training with different durations in the fields of online marketing and communication, customer management and customer data. The courses are offered at three different levels: operational (working with tools), tactical (creating business plans) and strategic.
International in-company courses
Aside from their regular courses, Beeckestijn also offers bespoke incompany training for (international) companies. One example is a course they developed for marketing professionals from the Dutch animalfeed producer De Heus who wanted to streamline the marketing at their 15 international divisions and boost their digital transformation. For this, Beeckestijn developed ‘De Heus Marketing Academy’. Hans Molenaar: “It included e-learning modules, then a week of group workshops in the Netherlands, and a follow-up of online sessions to work with tools.”