MSM MBA Specialization Summer School 2020 – a vivid virtual learning experience


“Excellent MBA specialization program with a thought out, strategic and consistent agenda for the two weeks that made it very easy to follow and well organized”. That’s how Mohamed Alaa summarized his experience in the MBA Summer School Entrepreneurship Specialization. From 13 to 27 June 2020, it was time again for MSM’s Summer Specialization courses. As every year, students from MSM’s Full-time MBA, Executive MBA, Online MBA and Global MBA programs came together to follow the courses of their chosen MBA Specialization. Only this year they did not gather on campus, but in MSM’s virtual learning environment.

This year MSM ran four different specializations, bringing together 96 students. Apart from the residential MBA programs, we welcomed students from SEED Hungary, MSM Kuwait, Regional Information Technology Institute (RITI) Egypt, and participants from Hochschule Reutlingen.

“Especially, besides full-time MBA classmates, I really enjoyed participating in the class and working with Executive and Online MBA students. I learned from them via the way they solve problems or ask and answer questions,” said Sang Tran, who followed the Digital Economy specialization.

Online lectures
Full-time MBA classmate Daniel Pariola, who took part in the Accounting & Finance specialization was not hindered by the fact that the courses were provided online: “I found the online lectures having the same level of impact as face-to-face.”

Executive MBA student Tom Houtgraaf agrees to a certain level: “Despite that following the lectures online via Zoom was another experience than being physically present, it worked quite well. However, the added value of face-to-face contact is still there.”

Ahmad Mustafa Ghoniem, student from the joint Executive MBA program with RITI Egypt, was first a bit skeptical about the online lectures: “But the experience went well, extremely well organized, interactive environment,” he concludes after the courses. 

RITI fellow student Mohamed Alaa is used to the online environment: “Given the fact that I do work in Dell technologies and my typical daily work is 80% virtual, I highly appreciate the virtual experience. I find it efficient, great in time management, better control of group work. It allows better collaboration, given Teams, Zoom and other technologies we used to facilitate the session.”

Apart from specializations in Accounting & Finance and The Digital Economy, courses were given in International Business & Sustainable Development and in Entrepreneurship.

A valuable learning experience
Tom Houtgraaf followed the specialization International Business & Sustainable Development, which not only helped him to deepen his insights, but also inspired him towards sustainability: “It is clear that this topic is related to each business in the connected world nowadays, but in the same time I experienced that is still a difficult topic for many businesses. I found it interesting getting more insights about sustainability to get a more holistic view on global value chains by taking into consideration how things are connected. It showed me again how the world is unevenly divided. The balance between maximizing profit and being sustainable is and will be a big challenge for many businesses in the coming future. I hope this will develop further in a positive way to make our businesses step-by-step more sustainable, together. I believe this specialization could help me to make a first step by myself.”

Executive MBA fellow student Burak Koparan was very happy about the lecturers: “I had the privilege to attend the MSM Accounting & Finance specialization courses this summer. The program is apparently designed by best-in-class lecturers to boost participants' financial intellectual combination with the state-of-the-art management practices. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire program, learned a lot, and obviously honed my financial management skills.”

Lukáš Noskovič, student of the joint Executive MBA program with SEED Hungary, chose the Entrepreneurship specialization: "Entrepreneurship is way of life and when you have an opportunity to listen, ask and discuss those topics with a specialist it is always amazing."

Inspiring guest lectures
Next to lectures the students also enjoyed guest lectures. In the International Business & Sustainable Development Specialization, the students enjoyed guest lectures of Consultant Karim Sorsa who shared his extended experience of working in different multinational companies, Martijn Ildiz, Founder & CEO at IM Efficiency, who provided a presentation on Sustainability & Innovation, and Jochem Schneemann who presented a business case for gender in flower global value chains. “The guest lectures gave us interesting insights about how the things we learned in the courses are connected to real business. It brought the theory to live,” Tom Houtgraaf said.

In the Entrepreneurship specialization, the students enjoyed guest lectures by Vince Cifani, Founder & CEO of Joyride who shared valuable lessons from his experience as entrepreneur, and by Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO of OYO Hotels & Homes. At an age of 26 years, Mr. Agarwal is one of the youngest and most successful founders in the world and has been honored at several forums, for creating a global disruptor in the form of OYO Hotels & Homes, the world’s leading chain of hotels and homes. During a lively Q&A guest lecture he provided many advices to the students based on his own impressive journey to success. “Guest speakers inspired all of us, great success stories and inputs,” according Mohamed Alaa. Ahmad Mustafa Ghoniem agrees: “One of the most adding values for this course were the guest speakers, their contribution, sharing thoughts as well as their experiences.”

Sharing knowledge in group assignments
Putting the theory into practice in group assignments formed an integral part of the specialization courses, which was highly appreciated by many, like Burak Koparan: “We have worked on several case studies through the specialization program which I think is the most valuable part of the entire program. With these cases, we have had the chance to apply our theoretical knowledge in real business cases as a group in a rather short period of time. I believe this way is the most effective way of learning, by being exposed to real-life scenarios and solving problems with a diverse group.” 

Executive MBA fellow student Thi Tran fully shares Burak's opinion: “The group discussions are constructive and dynamic thanks to the diversity of the team. I like the case studies in the group assignments. They aligned very well with the course's objectives and are very practical. It is very interesting to discuss a real and difficult case where the lecturer is an insider. That makes the lecturer's opinions/suggested solutions valid and practical.”

Also Lukáš Noskovič acknowledges the importance of group assignments: “Summer specialization is about application of knowledge and group assignments play a vital role in the process of learning. I have received a lot of important insights during group work."

“The group projects added a lot of value and experience to all of us,”
Mohamed Alaa concludes.

Valuable learning outcomes
For Tom Houtgraaf the International Business & Sustainable Development specialization was a true match: “I work at football club AFC Ajax with focus on digital marketing. Sustainability is becoming more involved within the digital and football industry as well, which makes this specialization very relevant for me. In addition, I am writing my Executive MBA thesis about Women's Football and Sponsoring, which is a hot topic currently. However, gender equality is a big issue in that industry still. There is work to be done!”

Daniel Pariola has a clear take-away from the Accounting & Finance specialization: “For my current job and as an entrepreneur, I have learned the importance of detailed analysis that can allow me to make informed decisions.”

The Accounting & Finance specialization also helped CBA Yemen MBA alumnus Fouad Al-Madhaji in his future endeavors: “As a candidate to an Internationally Certified Public Accountant (CPA), I was expecting that the specialization courses would enhance my knowledge and confidence to pursue such challenging professional accreditation and I was not disappointed in this expectation.” 

Mohamed Alaa sees an important learning outcome from the Entrepreneurship specialization for his current job at Dell technologies: “It will help me to better resolve current customers challenges using the customer centric way, understanding the market dynamics that can help us to drive better strategies to react/predict market drivers and changes.” And for a potential start-up in the future: “Hopefully in my future business, it allows for success and better managing a startup.”

Do you want to be part of the next MBA Specialization Summerschool?
Then apply for one of our MBA programs and choose the specialization that accommodates your career or fits your personal development. The MBA Specialization Summerschool 2021 will take place from 12-26 June 2021.