After a bruising couple of months of my own, there are probably lots of ways to do it better — but is this really a good one? Who’s surprised that this sort of exercise into “marketizing” a process is being tried out at a business school? Bidding for a ‘Free Ride’ to Business School
In an effort to raise its profile and attract more foreign students, Nyenrode Business Universiteit, a relatively well-ranked but very tuition-dependent business school in the Netherlands, auctioned off full scholarships last week to a pair of eager bidders – one in China, one in the United States.
Now, one could hardly be blamed for wondering whether paying tens of thousands of dollars for a “free ride” to business school defeats the whole purpose, sort of like buying coupons. But Mr. Raap says he has done the math.
[…] Of course, there is one small hitch: Mr. Raap still has to get into the school. In fact, he says he has not even applied for admission yet, and herein lies his ulterior motive.
“To some extent I would get a leg up this way,” said Mr. Raap, a gardening supply company executive from Vermont who wants to study abroad and is confident about his chances for admission but keenly aware that “it’s still not a done deal.” By winning the auction, Mr. Raap reasons that he will at least get noticed by the university’s admissions office, and perhaps even stand out for his entrepreneurial spirit.
Should Mr. Raap fail to make the grade, Nyenrode says it will simply give the scholarship to the next highest bidder, probably in the mid-$30,000 range, and still consider it a pretty good haul. By comparison, the Chinese auction fetched $8,500.
“If someone bid over the price of tuition, we’d accept it, of course,” said Karel J. Samsom, professor of entrepreneurship at Nyenrode. “But then we might have to give him a lesson in economics once he got here.”