Sustainable – or future-proof – entrepreneurship is at the core of the International Business for the Future study programme, which is offered at the level of higher vocational education. In the third year, you will explore how you can render international trade sustainable for a business, and how you can engage in sustainable or circular production together with your producers and customers ‘in the chain’. Once you have completed this in-depth phase, you can gain international experience in an area or professional field of your choice and do an internship within a business in the Netherlands.

In the in-depth semester in the third year, we will elaborate on sustainability in international business. Sustainable organisation encompasses the ability to look beyond the boundaries of your company and investigate with other parties how the waste of one party can be converted into raw materials for the other party. Together with foreign students, you will learn how you can make international sales and marketing sustainable, and how you can oversee the entire chain with producers, suppliers, customers and consumers. You will look for opportunities in the market in a creative way in order to be sustainable, but not more expensive. The in-depth semester International Sustainability Management consists of case studies in International Trade and Value Chain Business Management.

In the third and fourth year, you can specialise in a field, direction or role. How? Simply by ensuring your internship, minor and graduation assignment are in line with what appeals to you most.

You will do your internship in a business abroad. Students with an international background can choose to do their internship in The Netherlands or in their home country. With regard to your internship assignment, you can opt for an internship in which you specialise in a functional area. This could be international marketing, business management or financial consultancy. You can also select an internship in a specific business or sector, for example the Asian market or the clothing industry. Alternatively, you could choose to work for a government agency or an international aid organisation. In short, there are many options.

Examples of internship assignments and internship businesses include:

  • Alternative opportunities to increase sustainability at an international toy factory
  • Development and launch of a cycle factory in Sweden
  • Investigate how sustainability contributes to brand perception in the fashion industry

During the minor semester, you can study for six months, and this can be abroad. You will choose a study subject related to the International Business for the Future study programme in which you wish to broaden or deepen your knowledge, e.g. Spanish, disaster management, energy or food safety. There are many possibilities inside and outside VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL) in terms of choosing a subject that is in line with your preferences, in accordance with People, Planet and Profit. 

During your graduation semester, you will have to show in practice that you have truly become a specialist in international business. Many students graduate abroad in leading companies where they are keen to find employment. You will complete a graduation assignment in one of the four fields of International Business: marketing & sales, financial management, organisation & people or (value) chain and operations management. Thanks to your specialisation and individual profile, you are a valuable candidate for a graduation assignment and a job in the business of your choice.

Examples of graduation assignments include:

  • 'The importance of sustainability for the purchase of chocolate goods', for a well-known chocolate brand in Germany
  • 'How can you reduce waste flows from subtropical fruit (e.g. lemons) and spices (e.g. ginger) in exports to the Netherlands?'
  • 'How can you provide private investors with more insight into the social and ecological financing structure in projects geared towards the sustainable improvement of the work and life of coffee farmers in Africa, Latin America; so-called sustainable accounting?'; for an international EU-project.