On Friday, the 25th of September, a group of nine MBA students were expected on the campus for the very last time. Pia Camardese, their MBA Programme Coordinator, was waiting for them to help them try on their gown and cap for the graduation ceremony. Nine professionals, each with a background of their own, followed the MBA programme in different timetables, depending on their availability and work schedule. But on this day, they’re all together. Their families and friends have already gathered in the Auditorium in the main building across the yard. After having had their pictures taken, with the group as well as individually, the nine graduates move forward to the highlight of this day. It’s a proud moment for all involved, entailing closure of a phase in life that will no doubt open doors to new avenues, to new possibilities in their chosen career path as professionals.
In the Auditorium, MBA Director Dr. Boris Blumberg and Prof. Dr. Mariëlle Heijltjes, Associate Dean of the School of Business and Economics and Director of Postgraduate Education, address the graduates and their family in what is also a joyful occasion for the business school in its own right. With every new graduate finishing their programme, a new incentive is given to the professional world, a message that investing in personal development results in highly capable people who have been given the chance to fully explore their potential and talents, in all their humanity.
We asked our new alumni if they would share some of their experiences with us. After a brief group consultation, they all agreed Frank Cremers (45) and Joeri Blauw (46) were the best men for the job. Frank and Joeri reminisced about their years as MBA students. Joeri, involving Frank: “You started a module before me, right, in South Africa?” Frank swiftly agrees.
Joeri had already followed a one-year module that prepared him for the MBA, so when his former employer invited him to join the MaastrichtMBA programme, he happily accepted. Frank worked for a major organisation where the MBA was part of its staff trajectory, but changed his work environment in the course of the programme. “I went from a real big company to a small one, and for me this MBA feels like a crowning achievement to twenty years of work experience, to translate it in a theoretical framework, so to speak.”
What they think stands out at the MaastrichtMBA programme, is the combination of theory and work experience, and how the students are encouraged to share and implement their work experience throughout the modules, in group and individual assignments. Frank: “The diversity of students and the difference in age was also very inspiring, because we were confronted with different approaches to a problem or situation, and so we learned from one another as well.”
Joeri agrees:” Especially the part where we shared different solutions to a problem, that’s what I value a lot in this program!”
“There’s also the challenge we’re offered, in regard to how we apply theory into practical action,” Frank explains, “we can use what we’re taught directly in our work.” Joeri finishes the sentence: “Otherwise it would just be theory. But this way, education becomes tangible and real.”
Their expectations of the programme were exceeded beyond surprise, in a more than pleasant way. “We thought the emphasis would be on the “hard” learning material, such as the administrative side, but instead we were challenged to be involved from a personal perspective,” says Joeri while Frank nods agreeingly.
It changes your perspective as a professional if you’re encouraged and allowed to be human, and to implement this as a valuable asset all throughout your work. This affects everything in a positive way. For certain a rewarding approach.