Opening Academic Year 2019-2020: Learn, improve, evolve!
Monday 30 September 2019 marked the official opening of the MSM Academic Year 2019-2020, with the MSM Conference Hall packed with all the new students of the Full-time MBA, the Master in Management, and the M.Sc. in Management and Engineering. To warm-up the students, the opening started with the video made by the MSM Class of 2019.
MSM’s Director of Education and Executive Development, Dave Cass immediately caught the attention of the new students in making them aware of the fact that next year’s video will be theirs: “So make sure you are in the video and you set the tone of what your intake stands for.”
After a warm welcome, he introduced Dr. Stuart Dixon, Director of Academics, who was happy to see all the fresh faces, full of energy and excitement. Dr. Dixon compared the Master and MBA program to climbing a mountain: “You don’t climb the Mount Everest because it’s easy, you climb the mountain because it’s difficult. And when you get on the top of the mountain, you have not only achieved your goals, but you have become a better ‘climber’, a better manager and a better person. But reaching the top is not the end of your journey, as at the top of the mountain, you will see more mountains to climb.”
MBA 2019 graduate Aneesha Singh and MM 2019 graduate Jennifer Azih shared their experiences from last year to prepare the fresh students for the challenges ahead. Aneesha indicated that the coming year will be painful sometimes: “It is going to be difficult, but it is on you how you make it and how you make a career out of it. This building is filled with opportunities, but you have to walk to each door to grab them. Talk to the faculty members, join the mentorship program and know that people are here to help you. Keep a clear mind and be open to everything! Then you will also have a lot of fun and make memories for the rest of your life.” She also gave a final recommendation to the students: “Start thinking about your thesis right now!”
Jennifer added that it would be a challenging year indeed: “But look beyond the degree, it is about friendships and relationships that can be formed. You have all left your family behind; the people in your classroom will be your new family.” Jennifer explained how MSM helped her in her personal development, from the culture shock she faced in the beginning, to improving her ability to interact with others and overcoming her stage fear. To manage the pressure and challenges awaiting the students ahead, she had a good piece of advice: “Time management is crucial! But it is also important to create balance. So make sure to engage in activities that help you to feel that you are not drowning. And always remember why you came here.”
Both graduates emphasized the importance of the ability to work in a team, something keynote speaker Wil Snijders, Vice President of International Business Services & Outsourcing at Océ, could certainly agree with.
He emphasized the importance of soft skills in the labor market: “The corporate world is not always interested in what you know about strategy, marketing and finance. They are looking for your personality, your drive, your motivation; they are looking for the set of skills to get the job done. By sharing his experiences in heading a multicultural team, he explained the importance of developing a critical skills set: how to get things done, how to get along with others, how to communicate, how to see the world and yourself, and how to manage yourself.
He praised the students for making the choice to start their Master or MBA degree as that showed their commitment to lifelong learning. As an illustration he showed his example of lifelong learning, Christiano Ronaldo, who once said: “I feel an endless need to learn, improve to evolve, not only to please the coach and the fans, but to feel satisfied with myself. It’s my conviction that there are no limits to learning, and that it can never stop, no matter what our age is.”
Mr. Snijders summarized his presentation with a motivational message for the students: “You can contribute a lot in international companies and you can contribute a lot in your country vice versa. But it will all depend on your personal competencies, your critical skills and your level of English and Dutch. If you combine your personal, business and behavioral skills, you will be successful future leaders.”
Mr. Cass concluded the opening with assuring the students that graduates from MSM are leaving MSM with the necessary skill set as indicated by Mr. Snijders. He encouraged the students to be part of the MSM family: “We are an informal family and you are now part of MSM. It is a small place. You will find us in the corridors and our doors are open. So don’t be strangers.”