iEMFC students join new learning episode in Maastricht

Last November, the students of the international Executive Master of Finance and Control (iEMFC) programme visited Maastricht for an intensive and vibrant period of courses, sharing experiences, and… exams. The model of six two-week seminars per two years is an attractive setup for busy professionals; it enables them to better balance work and study, especially for those who are based abroad. This adds to the international character of the iEMFC student population.

The November seminar was extra special, because a group of new students was welcomed. The periodic influx of new students ensures a healthy dynamic in the group and the programme, and extends the network of the students. It also offers potential participants the opportunity to join for a couple of sessions to see if the programme really suits them. The busy schedule included a company visit, guest lectures and social occasions and concluded with exams on Saturday.

We talked to Prof. dr. Harold Hassink RA, iEMFC Managing Director, about what makes this programme stand out, and we met with some of the new students to find out how they experienced the programme. Harold Hassink:

“The iEMFC programme draws an above average level of ambitious and talented participants. Often they already have a Master’s degree, plus a healthy amount of working experience. The quality of the students is mirrored in the quality of the lecturers and teachers, for whom the quality of the group is an attraction and a stimulating challenge. Some of the teachers are connected to Maastricht University, others are recruited externally. What they all have in common is that they are as well versed in the theory as the practice of their field, for example as partner, consultant or legal advisor. The expert speakers are often former student, who have proven themselves in their fields. They contribute not only content, but also share their personal career and learning journey. Including during the more informal and private settings of dinners and other social activities. The third element that completes the mix of talented students and top-teachers, is our smart didactic model: case driven, peer-to-peer learning, small groups, and lots of interaction. When these ingredients combine, things start to happen; self-reinforcing mechanisms occur, that take the learning experience to the next level. That is what makes the international Executive Master of Finance and Control programme very special!”


What the students say…

Thus far, I find the programme very enriching, interactive and doable without an academic background in Finance. Classes are taught by a variety of leaders from both academia and business. There are plenty of discussions during the seminar between students and those experts, which I find very valuable. The interactive seminars help you reflect upon your own experiences and practices you’ve encountered. In this way, the classes help to broaden my frame of reference by providing practical insights and showcasing best practices. As a result, the programme provides a holistic and pragmatic view of the Finance function, that is valuable today and in future roles.

Maastricht University’s two-week seminars, rather than weekly classes, work really well for me, as it enables me to study in the Netherlands whilst working abroad.

FLORA OUDEBOONiEMFC student cohort 2018 | Unilever

I have a background in accounting and auditing with 20 years of experience in business finance and applied finance. I consider the content of the course less important than the opportunity to learn from my fellow students. That is where the real added value lies for me: the exchange with experienced professionals and not just the academic knowledge.

What attracted me to the iEMFC is the flexibility of the programme; the two-week seminars make it easy to fit in with my work. The international aspect and the great diversity of the students was also very appealing. The whole group consists of about thirty people and the working groups of about five fellow students. So you get to work together closely with most of your fellow students.

The group has a very good mix of different expertise, ages, countries and background; this helps a lot. There is also a good balance in personalities in the group. The group is small enough so everybody can participate and have a say, without a small number of people dominating the discussions.

I have already come across several practical ideas that can be implemented in my company. Which is good, because my boss expects clear benefits when I come back, ha-ha! But I have also learned more general lessons about how other people and companies approach and deal with certain business issues.

TRUNG LE QUOCiEMFC student cohort 2018 | FrieslandCampina

My background is a master in Finance at the Erasmus University and I work in Chicago for Nouryon (formerly known as AkzoNobel Chemicals). I wanted an RC qualification and chose UMIO because I heard good stories from colleagues about the programme and the schedules with clustered weeks fit better than i.e. weekly lessons. I was also drawn by the international aspect and experience of the course.

The group experience is very interactive, with lots of mutual exchange and a high level of participation from everybody. This group interaction is very motivational as is the practical aspect of the classes. Everybody has a reasonable amount of working experience and is able to contribute. The teachers make a point of linking theory with corporate life. This practical approach is very appealing.

The programme so far certainly meets my expectations: especially regarding the applicability: theory is matched with very recognisable situations. On the one hand, the knowledge is quite detailed and deep, but you also learn to ask the right questions to a variety of stakeholders. The expert speakers were super interesting as was the company visit to ASML where they showed us how they actually improved and innovated.

The evenings are very social and the exchange continues on a personal and a professional level. This makes for a very nice mix.

WILLEKE ENSINKiEMFC student cohort 2018 | Nouryon

My background is in accountancy, I am not really a financial. A friend recommended the iEMFC programme, especially because of the way it facilitates the exchange of experiences between different businesses and backgrounds.

My last education trajectory dates from more than 10 years ago, so this takes a bit of getting used to again. In the first week, I have already heard and seen many things from a management perspective that we could do better. It has been very insightful. For me the big pros are the sharing of experiences and the international aspect. Hearing different views and opinions about cases serves me very well to broaden my knowledge!

FABIO CIDRALiEMFC student cohort 2018 | Eurobrakes

The Faces Behind the MaastrichtMBA: Introducing Pia Camardese


At the MaastrichtMBA we are proud of all the people that are committed and eager to fulfill our mission in high-quality education, advice and research to individuals and organizations from all over the world. To become even more acquainted with the MaastrichtMBA and to show you how it feels for them working for or at the MaastrichtMBA, we will each month highlight one of its driving forces. This month the spotlight will be on: Pia Camardese.


How long have you been working with us?

I have been working with the MaastrichtMBA since 2005.


Can you tell us a bit about your kids?

I have two girls aged 15 and almost 12 years old. Right now they want to become a doctor and an artist – so unfortunately nothing in the MBA world!


Which book is laying on your bedside table?

Currently I have two books laying on my bedside table, but I haven’t decided with which one I will start with! There is All the Light I Cannot See and The Labyrinth of the Spirits.


What career did you dream of when you were a child?

I wanted to become a professional photographer. It is still a hobby I am very passionate about.


If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?

An elephant, for sure! I don’t know why… They’re really intelligent, social animals, protective of their children… It’s just an impressive and beautiful animal! When you look in their eyes, there is so much wisdom in there.


What was the last gift you gave someone?

An espresso machine as a birthday present for my husband. Luckily I get to enjoy it too!


What is your favourite place in the world?

I love to travel so this is a hard one… I would have to say Nepal because I did a Himalaya trek there that impacted me.

The Faces Behind the MaastrichtMBA: Introducing Jolene Damoiseaux

At the MaastrichtMBA we are proud of all the people that are committed and eager to fulfill our mission in high-quality education, advice and research to individuals and organizations from all over the world. To become even more acquainted with the MaastrichtMBA and to show you how it feels for those working for or at the MaastrichtMBA, we will highlight one of its driving forces each month. This month the spotlight will be on: Jolene Damoiseaux.


What do you study?

I study midwifery at the Academie Verloskunde in Maastricht. What am I doing at the School of Business and Economics? Well, I suppose in 3 years I will be in the “baby business”!


How long have you been working with us?

It will be 2 years in January. Time flies when you’re having fun! I will then say goodbye to the MBA family and continue in the world of midwifery. If any alumni or students get pregnant, let me know!


What do you do in your spare time?

I love spending time with friends and family, taking latin/ballroom dancing and body combat classes, and exploring Europe.


Which book is lying on your bedside table?

Rick Steves’ Iceland Travel Guide. I will be traveling to Reykjavik in November with a group of midwives through a project called Twinning Up North.


What career did you dream of when you were a child?

I wanted to be a marine biologist. I swam with beluga whales at SeaWorld and was fascinated ever since!


What was the last gift you gave someone?

Olive oil from my summer in Tuscany.


What is your favourite place in the world?

“Pride rock” on the Nyakach Plateau in Kenya. I started a project there 5 years ago called Mothers On the Move. We transport women to health centers for safer deliveries and have helped over 1,000 women so far!

BCP Defense Jaroslav Vlček

On Monday, June 25, Jaroslav Vlček completed the MBA successfully by defending his BCP. The BCP topic of Jaroslav was “How to become a Customer of Choice through Creative Procurement”. His assessors were Boris Blumberg, Nadine Kiratli and Frank Rozemeijer.
We would like to congratulate Jaroslav again and wish him all the best for a magnificent future! But why did he choose for the MaastrichtMBA in the first place? And what advice does he have for anyone considering an executive MBA at MaastrichtMBA? 

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

At that time (2015) I realized that I needed to get more insights in the theoretical frameworks of economics and business as I was assigned with a long term international project of establishing a new subsidiary of my company in Bulgaria.

Why did you decide to pursue an executive MBA at the MaastrichtMBA?

Modularity! My life at that point required a lot of travelling so I needed to have a fixed schedule of the educational weeks upfront.

How have you profited?

I have met many experienced people with different educational, industrial and cultural backgrounds, who were all willing to share their thoughts and ideas with me.

What advice do you have for anyone considering an executive MBA at the MaastrichtMBA?

Do not hesitate at all and start it! You can only gain from it!

What should applicants think about when deciding to do an MBA?

They should be aware of the fact that besides time, it will need a lot of energy, discipline and consistency so that it will become a part of their daily life.

How do employers benefit from employees with an MBA degree?

They will benefit from all the positive energy and new motivation their employees will gain in such an international, multicultural as well as professional environment.

What stands out from your MaastrichtMBA experience?

All the tiny chocolate bars we used to get as an afternoon snack 🙂 just kidding – of course all the good people I have met and who have become my friends!

What has been the most enjoyable part of the Maastricht MBA program?

I especially liked the modules where “no one was at home” meaning that we all spent the full week together!

Coffeelovers use a pressure cooker

May 14th UMIO’s Service Science Factory held a one day Hackathon at SBE: a collective event addressing an innovation problem for Maastricht iconic coffee roaster Blanche Dael (140 years young) and it’s spin-off brand “Coffeelovers”.

105 students in 21 teams from MSc Strategic Marketing (course marketing innovation management) tackled the question of how Coffeelovers can foster brand engagement of the young target group in order to elevate ambassadorship. The target given was to realise impact and create ambassadorship for the Coffeelovers brand.

The purpose of a Hackathon is to bring a tightly focused outside-in perspective to the company involved. The objective is constrained within a budget of 5000 Euro to ensure practical and ready-to-implement solutions.

The Hackathon is an example of how SBE not just links students with national companies but also with ‘local heroes’, to strengthen the link with local entrepreneurs and the region.

For students it develops their future strategic insight and serves them with a hands-on experience of Design Thinking: the pressure cooker approach of getting to a validated client centered solution in one day. The required speed of action was not always the easiest part for the students involved.

For Christophe de Warrimont, Head of Sales and Marketing with Maison Blanche Dael & Coffeelovers it was a memorable day: We want to develop a fan base among students in Maastricht for our brands. When they leave Maastricht after a couple of years, they are potential ambassadors in other geographic regions where we plan to expand. The input of 105 academically trained students was a big boost and a unique opportunity for our company.

The Hackathon delivered loads of input, lots of positive ideas with which we can get started right away. The aim was to create maximum impact in a short time with small hands-on ideas. Especially the personalization of the coffee cups is an idea with a lot of potential impact which is relatively easy to implement.

In short: there was a lot of positive energy floating around and that was very exciting to experience.


A summery MaastrichtMBA week

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.


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.

André Hieke

“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.”

Yves Frissen

“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.”

Bogdan Mucuta

“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.”

Michael Grannetia

“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.”

Brigitte Grifgnee

“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.”

Diana Stan

“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.”

Yanchao Liu

“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.”

Free Teaser Sessions: Join our UMIO Insights Event on July 2

Right before the summer break, we invite you for a refreshing event! Take your pick from three cool and inspiring sessions.


  • Reception: 13.30–13.55
  • Kick-off: 13.55–14.25
  • Breakout Round one (3 sessions): 14.30–15.30
  • Icebreaker: 15.30–15.55
  • Breakout Round two (3 sessions): 16.00-17:00
  • Wrap-up and drinks: 17:00-18:00

Every Breakout Round contains 3 sessions from which you can choose.

Breakout sessions will be provided by Frank Rozemeijer, Thomas Post + Pieter Verhallen and Martin Lammers.

Click here for more info and registration form.

Meet the new – and not so new – faces at UMIO

With UMIO established as the new executive branch of the School of Business and Economics (SBE), there is change as well as continuity. New roles and new faces, while still treasuring the special character for which the MaastrichtMBA is known.

For those familiar with our MaastrichtMBA campus, a new face immediately stands out: Sabine Nievelstein replaces Ron Jacobs as Marketing Manager of the MaastrichtMBA. But don’t worry about Ron, he’s still with us, albeit in another position with UMIO. More about that later.


Ron and Sabine share a similar background as former students at Maastricht University (UM). After securing a Bachelor in Liberal Arts and Sciences and a Master in International Business, Sabine left the UM for a while but returned as a lecturer at the department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management (MSCM). Lately, she also started working as a Marketing Manager for the MaastrichtMBA and Project Leader and Trainer for the Service Science Factory (SSF).

Sabine’s enthusiasm in her new role as Marketing Manager of the MaastrichtMBA is infectious and her goals are clear. “To maintain our profile within the new executive branch, with our proven winning combination of education, research, science and practice.” Thanks to her own experience as a student and as a lecturer at Maastricht University, she is a true ambassador of the university and of lifelong learning. As lifelong learning becomes the expectation for today’s workforce, there will be an abundance of alternative providers. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the question shouldn’t be: Why the MaastrichtMBA? But: Why NOT the MaastrichtMBA?” She explains further: “The MaastrichtMBA stands for close interaction with professors and a small group of students, this is what we call small-scale, interactive, action-oriented and business-encompassing learning. Our policy is to keep small-scale groups, have a personal touch, an eye for social development and an approach aimed at the individual!” Add to that the beautiful location of the MaastrichtMBA and the Triple Crown accreditation – granted to only 1% of all business schools worldwide – it becomes very hard to resist the pull of this MBA.


Ron is heading UMIO’s new marketing and communications team that is tasked with building and positioning the UMIO brand. In this capacity, his connection to the MaastrichtMBA will not be severed. “Far from! We will try and use our past experiences in building the MaastrichtMBA brand to help UMIO make that same move forward, but we’ll also return the favour by bringing back new marketing insights and expertise to the MaastrichtMBA. We are still one team working towards the same goal!”


Ron Jacobs used to hold Sabine’s position at the MaastrichtMBA while simultaneously working to shape the branding of UMIO. He started out as the MaastrichtMBA’s programme manager, later became responsible for leading international projects with partner schools and universities of SBE before he kicked off project work as part of the business school’s strategic renewal trajectory. During that trajectory, the need for a distinct brand gradually became clear as the best way to acknowledge the syntheses which had been achieved in pairing research, education, and professional practice.


At UMIO, the various professional development activities from Maastricht University School of Business and Economics are brought together where they ignite a chain of competence in education and research. “UMIO’s approach is built around four distinctive qualities, which are Navigating Complexity, Futurized Practice, Dynamic Connections and Personal Growth,” Ron explains. “We utilise those qualities and cater to the needs of professionals and organisations through programmes and projects that are rooted in academia and concentrated on business practice.”


Almost everyone would claim that a four-letter word starting with Maastricht University’s initials must by an acronym. “Keep on guessing!”, Ron amusingly comments, “People start thinking inside the box right away. We deliberately want them to expand their perspectives and start thinking outside that box. I suppose that is where UMIO comes in!”

The Faces Behind the MaastrichtMBA: Introducing Chantal Dortants

At the MaastrichtMBA we are proud of all the people that are committed and eager to fulfill our mission in high-quality education, advice and research to individuals and organizations from all over the world. To become even more acquainted with the MaastrichtMBA and to show you how it feels for them working for or at the MaastrichtMBA, we will each month highlight one of its driving forces. This month the spotlight will be on: Chantal Dortants.


What do you mostly do in your spare time?

Fun stuff with the children… I like cooking… And I like to crochet…!


What one food do you wish had zero calories?

Do I have to make a choice…?! Pizza from Liege! We have been going to that restaurant for 35 years now, a family restaurant! It’s a secret address so I don’t share the name of the restaurant… sorry!


Which book is laying on your bedside table?

It’s a Dutch book: Slim maar…? Translated: Smart but…?


What career did you dream of when you were a child?

Fighter pilot! Action! Flying! When that wasn’t possible though, I wanted to become a teacher for children that are hard of hearing or deaf. That study was in Utrecht though and in that time, I didn’t want to go to Utrecht, don’t ask me why…


If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?

A bird! Or… to be even more specific… A hawk! Those are the fastest animals on earth and flying would give me the feeling of freedom! If other people would associate me with an animal… I think I would be a parrot, because I talk a lot? Wait, my oldest son once made a painting of our family as animals and I think I was a mouse in that painting…


What was the last gift you gave someone?

After some thinking… Do souvenirs count as well? Then a souvenir from Mallorca: a handmade pottery dish on which you can put your ladle. We bought it at the local market in Porto Christo.


Imagine you go home, you step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning € 10 million. What would you do?

If I win € 10 million?! I would buy a farm! With some animals, a kitchen garden, grow my own vegetables and I would open a B&B! And I would read the newspaper for elderly… Or play bingo with them!


BCP Defense: Alex Hagen

On Monday February 5, Alex Hagen completed the MBA successfully by defending his BCP (“Product Life-Cycle Analysis: How to increase profitability with an improved pricing strategy in times of digital transformation”). His assessors were Boris Blumberg, Niels Holtrop and Jos Lemmink. Why did he choose for the MaastrichtMBA in the first place? And what advice do they have for anyone considering an executive MBA at MaastrichtMBA? Read about his motivations and aspirations, and learn how he looks back on a turbulent yet inspiring journey!


Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

Personal development in the first place.

Why did you decide to pursue an executive MBA at the MaastrichtMBA?

The EMBA Program of UM offers in my opinion the ideal combination of flexibility, content, and sublime reputation.

How have you profited?

Great learning experience, new friendships, and a broadened horizon.

What advice do you have for anyone considering an executive MBA at the MaastrichtMBA?

Just do it!

What should applicants think about when deciding to do an MBA?

Be intrinsically motivated and check your personal willingness to invest a lot of leisure time into this journey.

What stands out from your MaastrichtMBA experience?

Great fellow students and lecturers.