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!”
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?