The last week of May provided us with a summery backdrop for the MaastrichtMBA week which was focused on the subjects of the international and digital environment in which companies operate.
For the organising team too, it’s always a very rewarding experience to experience the upbeat mood, enthusiasm and special vibe that’s generated by the students when they meet for a whole week of intensive interactive learning and exchange. Not to forget social activities such as dinners together with a delegation of the MaastrichtMBA crew and a thirsty Thursday which was devoted to the election of two new student representatives.
A good opportunity to talk to some of the students about their experiences with the MaastrichtMBA so far, more especially their biggest learning moments and practical results in their daily work and life.
THE COURSE WEEK
But first some background on this weeks’ course which uses a diverse range of perspectives to explore the theme “The International Environment of Business”. The financial crisis of 2007-2008 culminating in a recession and euro crisis illustrate how interrelated and unbalanced the world-economy is nowadays, and how quickly economic problems can spread around the world. Other examples are president’s Trump trade policy and the Brexit vote. They all have their influence on the (strategic) policy of private or public organisations. In addition, increasing globalisation forces many organisations to take note of global economic developments. This raises the question how to analyse these international factors from an economic perspective? And, what macroeconomic relations exist between the various economies in the world? Such questions were discussed in this course. The related assignments aim at understanding the economic environment and to relate economic developments to the strategic policy of organisations.
The digital context is covered from three perspectives: the implications of digitization on markets, business models and operations, power and limitations of state-of-the-art analytics tools from statistics and AI, and cyber-security & privacy.
Talking to the students about their course experiences so far, the shared enthusiasm is striking. Let’s hear some voices from a mix of backgrounds and course durations who share their thoughts on their learning moment of the week (or the course so far) and how these insights help them in their daily work.
“Through the MaastrichtMBA I arrive at insights for which there is not always room in the daily work routine. You really learn to approach things from a variety of perspectives. On a very practical level it has also helped me to have more efficient meetings.
A real eye-opener for me was that the course provided me with the theoretical background for former intuitive practices and insights. That’s not only a very rewarding conformation, but it also provides meaningful deeper insights.”
“My biggest take away so far is that solutions aren’t binary. What I mean by this is that there are always multiple vantage points and perspectives to get to a result.
In my daily work I have become more inquisitive and my attitude has become more explorative. When evaluating a result I’ve learnt not to just focus on the outcome, but to review the process and underlying assumptions as well.”
“The course environment is very supportive and has a very energetic feel. A unique environment with lots of mutual support.
My biggest learning point is: being an authentic leader. Be in the moment. Much of this comes from the introduction to meditation in the earlier module “Leading Strategic Change” and which has become part of my daily life. Leading strategic is about how to translate the ambition of oneself and the organisation into action, how one (always) co-shapes the outcome of interaction and what one can do to increase the chances for successful change.
This week I’ve become convinced that regarding sustainability, the rate of change is not fast enough. I’ve become more aware of my carbon footprint and am investigating ideas that could really make a difference, such as a carbon tax.
For me the program has been very inspiring on a personal level, that’s the biggest effect for the moment, and for that reason alone it has been a great investment.”
“Leadership development has been most insightful. Learning to listen, pose open questions, look behind the problem, find out what drives the other person and looking differently at a problem.”
“For me the personal development aspect stands out, I have become more adjustable and have grown in confidence. You’re OK with the fact that you don’t know everything because you learn to use different perspectives and to focus on the key points to find your way out of the box.”
“My biggest personal insight has been understanding myself better. Professionally this has enabled me to change my leadership style: being authentic and showing my complete self. WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) and be happy with that.
The course also helped me to develop a true helicopter view and to look at things from all perspectives.”
“I’m from a Technical and R&D background, and would like to expand my horizon and grow to be able to fulfill a management role. The direct working benefits for my current job are a bit further away, but the course fits the bill in that it expands my way of thinking with its mix of soft skills, finance and strategy.”