The YouTube Scholarship

Posted by: Alison Damast on December 2, 2009

Applying for a business school scholarship all of a sudden got a lot easier for tech-savvy students looking to flex their creativity. Students can now use YouTube to apply for scholarships at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands, a program that the school says is believed to be the first of its kind for a business school. To be considered for the school’s new YouTube Scholarship, applicants must create a two-minute video explaining why they believe they should be awarded the scholarship for the school’s masters in management program, valued at around $15,000.

It’s a departure for the Dutch business school, which in years past has asked students seeking scholarships to fill out a lengthy five-page application form, complete with details on previous achievements, grades and income. That process “made it difficult for us as selectors to get a feel for what a person is really like,” says Professor Eric Melse, the school’s program director. That’s where YouTube came into the picture, he says.

“We felt it was very important to find something that would allow us to better assess personality and it has had the added bonus of allowing us to form an immediate bond with the students from the outset,” Melse says.

The YouTube experiment has so far proved to be a success at Nyenrode, which awarded five students a full scholarship this fall. “The standard of the videos has been truly surprising,” says Melse. In fact, the school was so impressed with the entries that they decided to offer an additional group of smaller scholarships, worth about $1,500, to five other students, he says. The winning entries all shared one thing in common, he says.

“The most successful videos were the ones that gave a personal interpretation of what Nyenrode can offer them and an awareness of how this course specifically can help them to achieve their life goal,” Melse says, who says the school plans to offer the scholarship contest again this January.

One of the students to win a full YouTube scholarship this fall was Igor Barbashin, a Russian student who did an avant-garde black-and-white YouTube video that described his experience as a sales manager and why he thought Nyenrode would be a good fit for him.

“To get my message across in two minutes was a challenge, but it was an excellent way for me to focus myself on the very specific reasons why I wanted to study the course,” says Barbashin. “And it was fun!”

To watch Barbashin’s video, click here. Other YouTube winners from the school can be found here.

Readers, do you think this is a good way for business schools to evaluate students for scholarships? What do you think are some of the pros and cons of a YouTube scholarship program?

Reader Comments


December 10, 2009 4:11 PM

Great way to publicize the school! Almost each video praises the candidate as the best in the world, and the same for the school!


February 8, 2010 8:04 AM

Good idea to move away from lengthy forms. EXCEPT that I think it further widens the gap between the haves (those with computers and video equipment and time to come up with an entry) and the have-nots (those working two jobs, perhaps, to make ends meet). I'll be interested to see the videos (when I have time).


February 25, 2010 8:09 PM

This is very helpful in times that students are even more desperate for help in paying for school. I work for and the mess that lands on our doorstep is crazy bad. We have the most read home foreclosure story on the web and plenty of job hunting stories

Post a comment



Read daily reports from BusinessWeek editors and reporters Louis Lavelle, Geoff Gloeckler, Alison Damast and Francesca Di Meglio and boost your chances of getting into your best-fit B-school.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!