Students get the chance to mingle with likeminded individuals with diverse life and work experiences behind them, and it’s no secret that many employers look at MBAs as a source of their most promising hires.
At Maastricht School of Management (MSM), the school goes above and beyond to maximize networking opportunities for its MBA cohorts.
Each year, students on MSM’s MBA and Master’s in Management courses get the chance to attend a Corporate Week, where they sit in on diverse presentations that span everything from improvised theater to industry insights.
The 2018 Corporate Week, which took place in mid-June, included presentations on interview techniques and how to sell yourself to an employer, plus talks from major companies—chief among them Johnson Controls, KPMG, and Mercedes.
For Tyas Hanjani, a current MBA student from Indonesia and the recipient of the school's Orange Tulip Scholarship, the diversity of the companies involved was an exciting surprise.
“On the career week, it’s not just companies from the Netherlands that come to the events, but also companies that are based in Luxembourg and Germany,” she says. “It gave me a really good [impression] that they are actually looking for international [applicants].”
This exposure to leading brands and organizations is in line with an MBA-wide commitment to industry networking at MSM. Company visits take place throughout the year. For example, Tyas took part in an expedition to a Nike warehouse in Belgium where students saw the principles of their supply chain management course in action.
In addition to the big names that were presenting at the Corporate Week, Tyas was also impressed by the smaller companies she hadn’t previously heard of that were doing innovative work in the region, as well as the more out-of-the ordinary activities on offer.
These included sessions teaching the principles of improvised theater, showing the students how to be spontaneous and spar off other members of a team. “It’s a very good mix of activities,” Tyas says. “The event really exceeded my expectations.”
The same was true for Karthik Subramaniam, another current MBA student at MSM. After working predominantly in sales and marketing in startups in India, Karthik decided to do an MBA to flesh out his knowledge of how a business works, and the access to information and opportunities at Maastricht School of Management has impressed him greatly.
At the Corporate Week, it was the alumni presentations in particular that really stood out for him. “You could see how the school has evolved over time from the way that they talked about their experiences at MSM and what they’re doing now,” he says.
As far as the big-name companies went, he was most impressed by the presentation given by representatives from KPMG in the Netherlands. “Both the presenters who came were from different functions, so they could give us a really rounded idea of how KPMG works,” he explains. “I’m looking to get into consulting, so for me, I gained a lot from that.”
Indeed, one student felt so strongly that the Corporate Week had been beneficial to him that he approached the organizers afterward and thanked them for it. Emmanuel Wartemberg, an MBA student from Ghana, had his eyes opened to the options available to him on the MBA.
“The talk the facilitator from the expatriate center [gave] about wanting to live in the Netherlands—what to expect, the dos and don’ts—[was my favorite part],” he says. “We also had someone from LinkedIn come to speak to us about what we need to do on LinkedIn and how to package or reformulate our profiles so that it can become richer.”
For Emmanuel, the most important thing that he got out of the experience was the recognition of the restrictions he had been placing on himself by only paying attention to one potential career path.
“It got me thinking,” he explains. “I had something in mind that I wanted to do, the direction I wanted to go in, but I think it was a bit narrow. With the Corporate Week, I had a broader horizon as to my options—what I can do to get to where I want to go.”
Combined with the diversity of the class and focus on personal development on offer at Maastricht School of Management, the annual Corporate Week certainly serves as fertile ground for career transformation.
“I would always vouch for MSM,” Emmanuel smiles. “If someone wants to come to MSM, I always recommend that they do it.”