Action Learning: learn to act, act to learn

Online Action Learning MBA

100% Online, Project-based MBA.

The Online Action Learning MBA teaches you a different way of management thinking and problem-solving through Action Learning. All our MBA projects and assignments are based on actual problems and opportunities in your organisation.

The Online Action Learning MBA is the right programme for you if you value a practical approach grounded in the reality of your organisation. The Action Learning approach values action and implementation above book knowledge and case studies about unrelated organisations.

The programme is 100% online over 24 months, with optional MBA conferences at our campus in Buren, The Netherlands. It is also triple accredited by reputable international accreditation institutions such as ACBSP, ATHEA, and NVAO.

Please see the table below for Features, Eligibility, Methodology, Programme and Fees.

Business School Netherlands partial scholarships of up to 50% are currently available to all applicants from Africa and the Caribbean

Register before 31 December 2020 for the 24 February 2021 intake to qualify for the 10% Early Bird discount. 

Features of the Online Action Learning MBA (CROHO-register 70053) at BSN
  • Weekly online interactive sessions
  • 24 months
  • 3 phases
  • 5 real projects, implemented in your own organisation
  • Taught in English
  • Action Learning Method
  • 100% online with a flexible timetable
  • No conventional examinations
  • Optional conference weeks at the BSN campus in the Netherlands
Accreditation and Industry Recognition 
Why Choose BSN?
  • One of the most recognised business schools in The Netherlands
  • Active for more than 30 years in developing and offering MBA programmes
  • Programmes that actually change your management thinking
  • Join a global network of dynamic alumni
  • Learn from experienced coaches and tutors from various industries and backgrounds
The applicant:

    1. holds a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or higher,
    2. is a manager, management trainee, supervisor or team leader
    3. has a minimum of 2 years appropriate and relevant post graduate work experience,
    4. has approval from his/her organisation to do research and practical projects within their work environment,
    5. has internet and e-mail access and
    6. should the applicant’s mother tongue not be English he/she will require a TOEFL or IELTS language test. The minimum pass mark for TOEFL is 550 (paper); 213 (computer) or 79/80 (internet based) and IELTS 6. Applicants who have completed their Bachelor’s degrees in English are exempt from this requirement.


  1. In addition to a: Mature and experienced applicants who do not hold such a degree, may also be considered. The guideline here is a minimum of 7 years demonstrable, appropriate and relevant postgraduate work experience.
  2. In addition to b: Applicants who are not in a formal management position but to whose professional development the learning programme will significantly contribute, may also be considered. This would apply to professionals who operate at post graduate level but are not necessarily (continuously) involved in management of people or a department. For instance; policy officers, accountants, consultants etc.
  3. Based on a thorough verification of submitted documents in respect to the above and, if deemed necessary, a personal interview, BSN will determine the applicant’s aptitude to participate in an Action Learning MBA programme.
Interactive Online Zoom meetings

Online Classes. In the first and second phase of this programme you will have a weekly interactive online Zoom meeting. In these meetings you will meet your module instructor and peer group (12-16 students). The module instructors are subject experts and experienced managers and entrepreneurs. The online classes consist of different working methods; presentations, discussions, small assignments, work in break out rooms, questions and answers. The students in your group are all experienced managers with different backgrounds and nationalities, providing you with interesting points of view and a high quality network.

Subset meetings. During the programme you will have 12 subset meetings. A subset is a group of 6-8 students which will be guided by an Action Learning Coach. The coach and the group will help you with your Action Learning Projects.

Themed online workshops. BSN organises 4 themed online workshops per year, 8 in two years. These online webinars cover new trends such as block chain, design thinking, digital transition of your organisation, but also leading with impact. This is an opportunity to meet students from other groups

Action Learning – Project Based

As an Online Action Learning MBA student, you will focus 100% on topics relevant to you and your organisation. Through research and discussion, you will discover methods to resolve issues and implement new plans; applying change through action.

You will complete 4 in-house assignments; Action Learning Projects (ALPs) focused on departmental level issues. The MBA dissertation will tackle a strategic organisational issue where various research methodologies will need to be used in order to develop appropriate and effective solutions.

No Conventional Examinations

BSN believes in assessing real competencies and developing the skills a true leader must acquire, therefore BSN does not focus on conventional examinations, but rather on real projects completed in your work environment.

Business School Netherlands will evaluate your diagnosis of the problem, your plan of action, your field research, your evaluation of the situation, and how you implement the plan to resolve the issue. Ultimately, we will also evaluate your reflection of the situation, what you learned through the process, and what you would do differently next time. This method allows us to develop you as a business leader and allows you to strengthen your managerial and business skills.

Student Support

Student interaction is continuously encouraged with the support of our specialised coaches. Renowned module instructors and our in-house staff play a vital role in the virtual class environment.

Library Access

As a BSN student, you will have access to our massive database of online business journals, periodicals and management reviews to aid you in your studies and research projects.

Programme Overview

MBA PhasePhase IPhase IIPhase III
Duration3 Months15 Months6 Months
Type of AssignmentOrganisational Analysis and Action Learning Literature ReviewFollowing 7 core courses. Each core course will be tested with a theory test, a written assignment/Q&A.You will work on your concluding dissertation and you are asked to complete an Evaluation of Managerial Learning (EAML) report.
Skill Phase 1 (3 months)

Here we lay the theoretical foundation upon which your future study will be based; this creates a common conceptual framework for the whole set whilst you follow the Online Action Learning MBA.
The courses in this phase are:

  • Action Learning Fundamentals
  • Research Methodology

You will write an Organisational Analysis of your company as well as an Action Learning Literature Review. This is based upon your current leadership skills and competencies, and you will be encouraged throughout the programme to consider areas for development.

Practice Phase 2 (15 months):

The second phase covers the following 7 core courses:

  • Human Resource Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Operations Management
  • Financial Management
  • Information Management
  • Strategic Management
  • International Management

Each core course consists of 4 online interactive classes of 4 hours. The second phase also consists of the following modules:

  • Personal skills training
  • Research Methodology
  • Themed workshops (6-8)
  • Optional conference week(s) in the Netherlands

Each core course will be tested with a theory test, a written assignment/Q&A. Example questions you need to answer are:

  • Does my Organisation make effective use of Social Media?
  • Is our strategy approach modern or outdated?
  • Is my organisation ready for digital transition, or not?

In this phase you will be acquired to execute 4 Action Learning Projects (ALPs), including 1 Group International Management ALP. To help you with your ALPs and to learn from the other students we organise 12 online subset meetings. Each subset consists of 6-8 students and will be facilitated by an Action Learning Coach.

Graduation Phase 3 (6 months):

In the last phase you will work on your concluding dissertation and you are asked to complete an Evaluation of Managerial Learning (EAML) report. In this phase you will receive individual Dissertation Support.


When enrolling, you are able to apply for a Major. Additional costs will be charged for this. In order to qualify for the Major endorsement on the MBA degree, the following conditions apply:

The student:

  • Attended the respective Masterclass, i.e. Food Security, Water Management, etc. These Masterclasses are held in the Netherlands. If there is enough interest Business School Netherlands will also organise them online.
  • Passed the assignment ‘Personal Effectiveness Paper’ related to the respective Masterclass;
  • Incorporated the Major subject as the leading theme of ALP 1, 2, 3 as well as the Dissertation;
    If applicable, is active in the respective field of business.

24 months

Set Meetings

100% distance learning

Start dates 2020/2021
  • 16 November 2020
  • 22 February 2021
  • 26 May 2021
  • 22 September 2021
  • 24 November 2021

Maximum of 16 students per intake.

Full Course Fee 

EUR 20,000

Full Course Fee for BSN Scholarship Eligible Countries (Africa & Caribbean)

EUR 10,000*

*Conditions for the BSN Partial Scholarship apply. Scholarships can be up to a maximum of 50% off the total tuition
Fees include: ​Textbooks, group coaching, online classes, assignments and assessments
Please click here for more information on the BSN Partial Scholarships

Word of advice from Laurie: ‘The programme is demanding, daunting and incredibly challenging… but you can do it!’.
Laurie Meiring

Student, International Action Learning MBA

Share This