The MBA journey, a new beginning

Starting this MBA course is, for many students, like being the new kid on the block again. Of course, everyone has done their time at University, whether it’s a bachelor’s, masters or PhD programme. Since that time of formal learning, these students will have gained years of work experience and may have become, or are on their way to becoming, an expert and leader in their field. They may have become used to a certain position and standing in their professional life. So coming back to the classroom and being in the role of a student again, can feel a bit daunting and perhaps make some of us feel a little outside of our comfort zone. That is where the MaastrichtMBA Introduction programme comes in!

Tailored to real-life

The MBA Introduction programme offers students the chance to meet and get to know each other in an informal and friendly setting. It creates the space for students to begin adjusting to the new environment and perspective, without the pressure of a full-on academic week of learning and deadlines.


Whilst chatting in the sunny courtyard after one of the sessions, Ankie Hamaekers and Gaston Vondenhoff both agreed that whilst it was all still new to them, they were feeling very positive about the next step of their MBA learning journey. The timing of the Introduction programme itself and the structure of the MBA course overall meant that it was relatively easy for them to organise the course into their working lives as well as their family lives. This was a big plus for Ankie, who was thankful that she could still see her children in the evenings, whilst she was on the course.


The topics covered in the three days, are all tailored to the specific needs of this MBA group. They include work-life balance, the leadership trajectory and effective learning. The programme enables students to get into the right leadership mindset to be an efficient learner and to make the right preparations for the creative, inspiring, learning journey that lies ahead.

A perfect petri dish of talent

The 15-strong cohort of students attending the Introduction Programme on 27 June, was made up of an almost 50/50 split of men and women. To be precise, 8 men and 7 women, who between them represented 11 nationalities spanning no less than 5 continents. This diversity, and the wealth of experience they bring with them from a range of industries including the science, manufacturing, finance, telecoms and health sectors, serves to reinforce the valuable concept of learning from each other and of developing talent together. It is from this rich ecosystem that new perspectives, mindsets and innovative thinking, can begin to take root and flourish.

“It is amazing what this interaction does to your personal and professional development. So, it’s not only about the theory that you get, but also the people that I’m interacting with.” According to our Mexican MBA student Fernanda Montiel.


Leadership starts with you

Sharing perspectives was a key theme in Sonja Zaar’s session, ”Leaders adopt a learning mindset”. The group were asked to reflect on three questions; What is leadership? Who is a leader and, Are you a leader? The group were able to see their answers in a word cloud on the screen. The bigger the words appeared on the word cloud, the more people had chosen that same word. Inspiration, responsibility, vision, motivating, were among some of the more popular replies to the what is leadership question.


There was much discussion about these perspectives, and the question of whether a computer could be a leader, for example. As Sonja outlined the research behind these questions and touched on the dark side of leadership, as well as her experiences in the positive field of leadership. It became clear how important the cognitive element is in leadership and how the ability to see different perspectives is one of the most powerful aspects of effective leadership.


Seeing, hearing and understanding different perspectives, is something which the Introduction programme allows students to embrace from the very beginning. It is, ultimately, what brings the students together and what makes the MBA learning journey such a success.


Do you want to know more about the introduction programme? Click on this link to read more.

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