Meet MSM's faculty members: introducing Oliver W. Olson


Research is an integral part of the mission of Maastricht School of Management (MSM). We provide scientific knowledge to allow managers and entrepreneurs to make evidence-based decisions. To achieve our mission we encourage and support the research of our faculty members in a broad range of areas. MSM’s faculty members are passionate about what they do and tenacious in finding solutions to the toughest business challenges. Each month MSM will highlight one of its faculty members and this month the spotlight is on Oliver W. Olson.

Let me introduce myself…
I’m Oliver Olson, I’m from the USA, and I am senior lecturer of Marketing and Strategy and special Advisor to the Dean a.i. at MSM. I hold an undergraduate Degree in International Business (emphasis German) from California State University, Fullerton and an MBA from the University of Texas, Dallas. Beside this, I also spent a year on exchange in Lund, Sweden at Lund University during my undergraduate degree, where I learned to speak my first language, Swedish.

Before joining MSM, my first job out of college was as a Jr. Product Manager for Salamander Shoes in Germany… well, actually in their shoe care products subsidiary. After working in Germany for two years, I returned to the USA where I worked 12 years in banking. More specifically in Commercial Real Estate Lending, Credit Card Operations, and IT Infrastructure. 14 years ago I successfully escaped banking and have specialized in higher education management, public speaking, customer management, strategy, marketing, advertising, IT and management education.

The research I am currently working on…
I am starting to research the influence that Big Data has on decision making in Marketing. Decision making of both the companies as well as how customers make decisions. Mass segmentation is also a very interesting topic which has currently been given a bad rap based on the Cambridge Analytica scandal. I believe that such ‘mass segmentation’ can contribute to sustainable business by reducing waste by only informing the correct target customers products or services that they would be likely to want to purchase. I will also be researching Big Data’s role in innovation through the use of online platforms for crowd-sourced innovation (aka Open Innovation).

I consider it a great responsibility to ensure students conclude they have invested wisely and receive a return on that investment…
One of my greatest joys working at MSM is being with students coming from all parts of the world and hoping that I inspire them to think about the subject that I am teaching in a new and memorable way. The students invest with me a few hours of their precious time and I consider it a great responsibility to ensure that the students feel that they have invested wisely and have received a good return on that investment.

MSM’s international environment is the only type of environment in which I would be able to work. I have lived outside of the United States for most of my adult life. Even though my family still lives in the USA, my wife is Indonesian and I have lived in Hungary, Romania, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. I could not imagine ever again working in an environment which does not constantly challenge stereotypes and expose me to new people and experiences every day.

" I never get tired of visiting new places and I have MSM to thank for enabling me to fulfil this dream."

When I was starting to consider career options out of college, I did not really know in which direction I wanted to move, but I DID know that I wanted to make a difference somehow in the developing economies of the world.  This dream comes true every time that I am in the classroom.  I have students from dozens of countries with whom I feel I have contributed to making a difference in their lives.

My dream has also been to travel to interesting parts of the world, especially places that are not commonly visited (this is one reason that I chose Sweden for my university exchange). As I fly back from Azerbaijan while writing this, I am planning my next two trips to Suriname and Vietnam. I never get tired of visiting new places and I have MSM to thank for enabling me to fulfil this dream.

In my spare time you can often find me..
I am not sure if this is an interesting spare time hobby, but I am mostly obsessed with news and current events. I spend at least 1-2 hours each day reading articles about global politics, marketing innovations, technology developments, nature reports, geography facts and everything in between.  Of course, I also keep up with pop culture too… the latest movies, TV shows, celebrities and music.  I feel that this contributes greatly to my ability to bring my classroom sessions to life and relate my teaching to real-world events outside the classroom in real time.  If you ever put together a trivia contest, it might be a good idea to have me on your team!  I love trivia!

One of the persons that I admire in life is…
Bono (of U2)! This feels a bit weird to write about now as a 50-year-old Marketing and Strategy lecturer. However, in him I see a model of someone who has been able to have a successful career in an area that they have natural talent.  But he did not sit on that success, as he very well could have.  Instead, he has relentlessly pursued a passion to make the world a better place.

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