Business Research Tools – Executive MBA courses from a student perspective


In this blog Raul Heijs, Executive MBA student at MSM, shares his experiences from the recent Executive MBA courses Research Methods and Decision Making Tools.

“After nearly 15 months, the Executive MBA students were allowed to visit the MSM campus for the first time again after the closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While we were only allowed to visit the campus for two days during the Business Research Tools module, it was a relieve to finally visit and explore the MSM campus in Maastricht itself!

The week started with the Research Methods course. In four days, Dr. Caren Crowley laid down the foundation for our research proposal and final thesis project. From conducting an appropriate literature review, properly defining our research question/objectives, and applying quantitative and qualitative research methods. What I really like about the EMBA program at MSM is the option to write a business plan as your final thesis project. This course was especially good to exchange ideas and opinions with other participants for writing this business plan.

After spending the previous module behind computer screens and microphones, it was a blast to finally meet some fellow students face to face in Maastricht! While part of the students still joined us from home, I was able to commute to Maastricht with ease as there were no travel restrictions within The Netherlands itself. And because all the class rooms are equipped with live stream functionality, there was practically no difference between the online or physical lessons. The only down-side to physical classes compared to the online classes; break-out rooms are realized much faster online than in real life.

But what cannot be replaced by zoom are all the interactions and social conversations during breaks and lunch. It was not a surprise of course that the lunch break was way too short to catch-up with everyone. Luckily, the first day of the next course (Decision-Making Tools) was physically at Maastricht as well.

The four-day course Decision-Making Tools, lectured by Dr. Vincent Feltkamp, taught us the use of statistical tools for business decisions. What sounded to me as a daunting course in the beginning, was actually a very practical and exciting business application. Especially how to analyze and interpret correlations from survey answers, and how to apply it to an actual business case. The first day of this course was physically in Maastricht again, but did not go exactly as expected. As the water levels rose to an all-time high due to the amount of rainfall in the last few days, our professor had to leave earlier to literally save his house from flooding. Not a very convenient situation for our professor, but it gave us the opportunity to head into the city of Maastricht a bit earlier, and have a beer and some more quality conversations with the other students.

The next day online from home again, it became clear that our professor would not be able to continue the lessons online due to the flooding. Therefore, Dr. Khaled Wahba took over the course and continued our lectures from Canada. For the professor this meant starting his lectures at 2.00 AM local time in the night, for three nights in a row! A big thanks to especially professor Wahba for taking over the classes in such short notice, but also professor Feltkamp and Dolores McIntyre for arranging this back-up scenario so quickly in the middle of the course. Despite these challenges, the course was an absolute blast!

This study week was only my second module of the Executive MBA program, but I am already looking forward to the next days to come. It is very interesting to learn new knowledge, and be able to directly apply it to my current position as Supply Chain Manager in the LED lighting industry. This theoretical and practical part of the EMBA program makes me hungry for more. And with the proven flexibility from MSM, I am confident the next months will be a blast as well. Despite of any possible Covid-19 restrictions still ahead."

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