Wittenborg MBA and MBM Students Helping Companies Solve Operational Challenges
With the goal of getting hands-on experience and developing various professional skills and competencies, 52 Wittenborg MBA and MBM students are participating in the Master Challenge Project Week – Block 3. The activity is coordinated by Wittenborg's Head of School of Business Rauf Abdul, with the assistance of Education Support Administrator Hanna Abdelwahab.
During the project’s kick-off meeting, which took place on 1 December at the Spoorstraat building, participants were divided into nine teams, each one composed of five or six members and managed by a leader. Over a period of seven weeks, until 21 January, students will be required to act as digital marketing and communication consultants for real-life companies, presenting solutions for their operational challenges.
According to Abdul, the activity comes in response to feedback from students from both MBA and MBM programmes, who expressed the desire for more practical assignments in their curricula. He adds that the Master Challenge project week is a pilot project by Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences and it has been welcomed by the students. “From the responses we received so far, they are thrilled with the proposed consultancy projects from various Dutch and international companies. This also enables our students to immerse themselves in real-life business issues, under the supervision of experienced academics and in close cooperation with an experienced business professional in the field. This provides a great opportunity for students to gain practical work experience with a real business. It is a win-win project for students and companies, as companies can benefit by implementing findings of these investigations conducted by Wittenborg students.”
Consisting of approximately 200 hours of work, the project requires participants to deliver a complete consultancy report, a management presentation and an individual report. The challenges the groups are working on include tasks such as improving websites and the use of social media channels, creating the best shopping experience for online and offline customers, developing a strategy to create awareness about hygiene products and making an online platform more interactive through the use of gamification mechanics. By participating in this activity, students have the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge to real-life situations, gain consultancy experience, grow their network in the business industry, improve their communication skills and boost problem-solving, critical-thinking and creative-thinking skills, among other benefits.
Ana Maria Ramirez, an MBM student from Colombia, said that she is excited about the project because it provides students with the opportunity to put the theory learned during previous modules into practice. “I, personally, would like to develop team building and leadership skills through this project. As master's students, we should learn how to effectively interact with our work teams as well as understand the dynamic and involvement of each member in the group. This project will help us strengthen our innovation and creative skills. We will need to think outside of the box to build up an effective strategy that solves the company’s challenge.”
Seyedhamidreza Hashemi, an Iranian student who is pursuing an MBA degree, stressed that the challenge gives participants the chance to interact and network with real-life companies. “By cooperating with our teammates and successfully solving the problem assigned to us, we increase the chance that the company will trust us and offer opportunities for part-time and eventually full-time work.”
Benson Ogboru, an MBA student from Nigeria, expects that, by taking part in the activity, he will be able to develop his communication and team work competencies. “I am looking forward to improving my communication skills, because this will help me communicate better with experts in the real business world. I also want to learn more about the fields of administration and management, as well as improve my critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”
by Ulisses Sawczuk