Prepped to make a difference in the world

Fourteen proud graduates. The auditorium filled with maybe even prouder life-partners and parents. Crowing babies and young children watching their father or mother take to the stage to receive the MBA certificate for which they worked so hard. Big smiles everywhere.


What a journey the MBA graduates have made the past two or so years. Not only in the sense of the demanding curriculum and personal growth, but also in complex and extraordinary circumstances. As Mariëlle Heijltjes, Executive Director UMIO pointed out: “Extraordinary times require extraordinary people. The graduates that are here today have proven to themselves and others that they are able to navigate successfully in today’s complexity. They have developed a better understanding of themselves, have been testing their own assumptions and meanwhile have acquired leadership skills.” The MBA graduates are ready to go on to lead and inspire their colleagues and organisations, drive forward sustainable change and make a difference in the world.”

Step out of the ivory tower

The MBA Graduation ceremony took place on September 24, at the end of the Corporate Finance and Accounting educational week of the On-Campus track. Current MBA students could follow the ceremony via a life-stream. The keynote speech was delivered by Juliette Koning, Professor of Business in Society and Head of the Organisation, Strategy & Entrepreneurship Department of Maastricht University. She stated that business schools are increasingly addressing their role in the major challenges of our time; climate, gender inequality, digitalisation and poverty, to name a few. She called on the students to step into the world, out of the ivory tower, to collaborate with people in other disciplines, companies and the academic world. In other words: stay curious, use your eyes and ears and make no assumptions, observe and listen, have an open mind and be creative.

Certificate and congrats

After the inspiring lecture of Juliette Koning came the moment everyone was waiting for. One by one the graduates were called on stage to receive their MBA certificate and statue from Marielle Heijltjes and MBA Captain, Boris Blumberg. All received a short congratulatory message from their tutor. But not before they had moved the tassel on their mortarboard from the right to the left side of their head. Cameras clicked and every graduate – now alumnus – was loudly applauded. This year Torsten Sämel was called to the stage and received the honour of 2021 student of the year. His average GPA was 8.2. An outstanding achievements!


A big thank you

MBA Graduates Gabrielė Genytė, Anargyros Kiourkos and Rob Vervoort were then invited for a short speech. After thanking the professors and MaastrichtMBA staff they expressed a big thank you to their life-partners, family and friends. They acknowledged that without the huge moral and personal support of their loved ones this MBA journey wouldn’t have been possible.

Embrace the change

The ceremony continued with the alumni speech from Diana Stan, student of the year 2020 and currently working as Digital Transformation Manager at Heras. She spoke from the heart about personal change. After the sudden and unexpected passing of her father, she embarked on a journey of radical transformation. Her advice to the audience: accept that some changes are unexpected and can’t be avoided, reframe your thinking and embrace the change. And, no matter the direction, change or journey, approach it with an open mind and open heart. Remove fear from your vocabulary. Don’t wait for change to happen, but be the change!

Party time!

The official ceremony ended with the traditional group portrait and the throwing in the air of the mortarboards. Party time! The MBA graduates and their families enjoyed a sparkling graduation dinner at Ipanema. On behalf of all UMIO and MBA staff, we would like to express huge congratulations to the MBA graduates and we wish you all the very best in the next part of your journey.



This article presents a recap of the 2021 MaastrichtMBA Graduation Day. MaastrichtMBA is an executive modular part-time MBA programme and exist of two tracks: an on-campus and online track.  The programme has a Triple Crown accreditation and is aimed for professionals with at least 5 years of working experience.

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