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.
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.
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.
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!