At the start of the Euro*MBA programme, all new students attend the introduction seminar from Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon. This introduction seminar takes place twice a year, during the intakes in September and January. Soon to be Euro*MBA student, Emmanuel Streel, describes here his expectations, his reasons why he chose the Euro*MBA programme and the challenges ahead.
The seminar allows participants to:
1. Get to know their fellow students.
2. Get their group consultancy project off to a good start
3. Get to know the Euro*MBA staff and the Euro*MBA programme and procedures.
4. Acquire skills needed to perform well in the Euro*MBA programme:
- Writing and presentation skills
- Teamwork and intercultural communication
- Virtual learning environment Lotus Notes
- Teambuilding activities
- Kick off session for the online courses
The schedule of the introductory seminar is a very compact one. Participants fly in on Friday morning with the programme starting after lunch. Sessions will continue until Monday late afternoon.
On Sunday afternoon participants will get to know the senior students who are already in the programme and Monday morning is dedicated to the preparation of the team work for the first online courses, together with their fellow team members. On Monday afternoon participants work on the IT Infrastructure.
Build the framework for communication
All courses in the programme require that students submit both individual and group assignments. Furthermore, a Master Thesis is required.
This raises two problems: what to write and how to write it. What and how to write can be a major problem since executives who have been away from the educational system for long might have forgotten just what is expected of them. So in the writing skills session we will be exploring the issues of how to ask the right question, how to argue your point, how to structure your answer, how to support your answer and how to present all this information clearly and concisely.
Teamwork and Presentation Skills
During the Euro*MBA programme, students will be asked to work on numerous team assignments. These teams (of between 4-6 people) will be of at least 3 different language groups, ensuring a high cultural mix. Students will not only face business problems regarding the content of the assignment, they are also faced with an organisational problem and relational challenge towards the team and team members.
Therefore team processes are discussed and experienced in real life during the introduction programme. Herewith, we also strengthen the relationship between participants fellow starting students, which will be a source of support for them during the programme.
Not only participants work in teams where different levels of seniority in the programme are represented, but they will also work with representatives of at least three different national cultures. We will spend some time on recognising the essence of the so-called attribution mistakes as well as the different communication styles.
Virtual courses: IBM Notes
The whole infrastructure of the Euro*MBA relies heavily on the use of Lotus Notes. In order to get the best out of this system, it is important that students get some experience using the software before the courses start. For this reason we organise an introduction session for all new students to get used to the Lotus Notes system and to acquire understanding of how team activities can be performed in an asynchronous and synchronous electronic environment.
It is of vital importance to know the team members while students are working in virtual teams for four months. For this reason Sunday afternoons are reserved for team building activities.
Kick off sessions courses
On Monday morning participants meet their course tutor(s), who will present an overview of the course and its goals. Furthermore, students have a team kick-off session with their team to discuss how they will work together on the team assignments. The result of this kick-off session is a so-called team contract. At the end of the 4 months semester, students discuss their team performance evaluating how well the team performed with regard the team contract.