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How This European Business School Is Preparing MBAs, Managers For The Digital Age

Maastricht School of Management is leading the way in transnational innovation management

Fri Jul 1 2016

The needs of MBA employers are constantly changing. In such a dynamic business environment, companies need tech-savvy professionals ready to think out of the box.

Maastricht School of Management (MSM) is famed for its innovative approach. In 2014, it was selected as an AMBA innovation award of the year finalist for its historic efforts in bringing the MBA degree to emerging economies.

From September 2017, the school will offer an MBA specialization in managing the digital economy, including courses in cyber security, big data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT). Plans are also afoot to introduce a compulsory course in digital transformation.

“MSM recognizes the growing need, in virtually all labor markets, for workers and managers who can thrive in a global economy that is now on a technological cusp,” says the school’s dean Wim Naudé.

MSM is constantly updating its quadruple-accredited MBA degree; staying relevant, and preparing managers for a rapidly evolving digital era. Its latest venture: a cutting-edge innovation management program offered in collaboration with Germany’s RWTH Aachen University.

“[The program] is like a perfect cocktail,” says Trinidadian MBA student and class representative Beverly Best. “The program has helped me to awaken undiscovered ideas for exploring new and creative business opportunities through technological innovation.”

Over a week in Germany this May, MSM’s MBA students enjoyed exclusive insight into the latest - theoretical and practical - developments in the innovation management field, access to a network of industry experts, and a behind-the-scenes company visit to Ford.

Beverly wants to advance research in technological innovation with a view to promoting female entrepreneurship. For her, the program was a perfect career launch-pad, heightening the value of her MBA.

“The high quality of the course’s content, the teaching material, and the professionalism of all the lecturers redound to challenging my mindset about my future career plans,” she says.

MBA students gain a German executive education certificate upon the program’s completion. Moreover, they’re given the opportunity to experience real-life product development, and to hone their skills in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The program has definitely given me more confidence in the process of starting up my own business,” says Zimbabwean MBA student Yvonne Mapika, who’s starting an on-demand trucking service connecting the road freight industry in Southern Africa.

Adopting the lean startup method learnt on the innovation management program, she’s developing her app quickly, to take a viable prototype to the market as soon as possible, and measure its potential for future success.

“In an age where competitiveness is critical for business success, such a program is a necessity,” she says. “It has given me a competitive advantage over other start-ups, [and] we can already see the results of the program in our project.”

For Yvonne, entrepreneurship is the key to bolstering industry and alleviating poverty in Southern Africa.

“The program has empowered me to be in a position to give back,” she says. “I want to go to incubators and start-up labs within my country to share the knowledge I have gained and help improve the survival rate of other start-ups.”

Why did she choose MSM for her MBA? “When I discovered that MSM not only had the entrepreneurship program I wanted, but went one step further to focus on emerging economies, I was immediately sold,” she says.

Beverly agrees: “MSM provides me with a unique opportunity to learn and grow within a diverse, multicultural environment with people from over 23 countries,” she says.

MSM’s MBA is truly transnational, with strong links to companies and universities around the world. For less experienced applicants, the school also offers a full-time Master in Management.

Wim is happy with what MSM's partnerships with universities such as RWTH Aachen have to offer. Besides the module on Technology and Innovation Management, MSM and RWTH Aachen University also offer four M.Sc. in Management and Engineering programs respectively in Production Systems Engineering, Electrical Power Systems, Computer Aided Manufacturing Engineering and Water Engineering and Management. Jointly, they also offer a DBA program in Managing Innovation, Technology and Corporate Change.

“Students profit from being in a top innovative region in Europe, immersed in management at one of the oldest, most international and innovative business schools in the Netherlands, and with a direct link to the leading engineering and technology universities in Germany,” he says.