My name is Youshuo Yan. I come from Yichang, China. Before I came to the University of Twente, I was studying English translation and interpretation at a Chinese university in Xi’an. Now I am studying Business Administration with specialisations in Supply Management and Business-to-Business Marketing at the University of Twente.
I really came to the University of Twente by coincidence. Having received a few offers from different Dutch universities, I started to compare their programmes and the UT was the best match. So I decided to come and study at the UT. So far, I’m really glad I made that decision. The UT is not very well-known among Chinese students for its business programmes; most people only know about its excellent technical programmes.
Studying at the UT is challenging. My programme is very intensive and you have to do a lot more than merely attending lectures. I have many group assignments, in which good communication skills are a basic requirement. It is also great that even in the first year you have guest lectures by managers of companies; it gives you a good understanding of how real business works. The professors are very strict, but on the other hand they are easy to approach: most questions can be raised during lectures. Of course, you can also have a private conversation with a professor during office hours, if you make an appointment.
Another strong point is the design of the programmes here at the UT. The programme I’m doing is unique compared to those offered by other universities and it has a clear focus. In the first year, you take courses covering a wide range of business activities. By the end of that stage, you will know where your interest lies. In the second year, you’re allowed to choose specialisations and you focus on a specific field of business. You also have the chance of doing an internship, which, nowadays, is a really important preparation for your career.
Apart from studying, living here is enjoyable, too. Enschede is not a big city but it has a lot to offer. The environment is quiet, but there’s always a lot going on. The UT campus is absolutely fantastic, with great landscapes and nice buildings. Running in the forest on campus with my room mates used to be my favourite activity. I also go to the gym sometimes, or play badminton with friends at the sports centre.
HOW DID YOU FIRST LEARN ABOUT THE UT?
I wanted to study in the Netherlands after graduating from secondary school, but at the age of 15 I was too insecure to take that step. So I started a course in Germany and quit after a year, simply because I didn’t like the formal atmosphere and the course’s lack of practical relevance. This apparent failure turned out to be a great experience in the end, as it encouraged me to do what I wanted to do in the first place: study in the Netherlands.
Why I decided to apply to the UT? Actually, it was a friend who told me about the UT. She was a total sports addict and, well, to be honest, I’m more a lazy type of person. However, she got so excited every time she spoke about this university, that back home I decided to find out more about the UT. I really liked the huge campus; my former university was just one big solid block of concrete. I also enjoyed reading up on my study of choice. Finally, it was the UT’s international flair that convinced me to apply. Thus far I’m loving it. It’s like studying at Center Parcs.
HOW HAVE YOUR STUDYING AND LIVING EXPERIENCES BEEN SO FAR?
So far, I’ve learned so much that I’m sometimes impressed of myself. To be honest, I never considered myself as a particularly keen student. But by participating in group assignments or preparing presentations, you learn a lot more than you think you’re learning.
I’m currently living in a Dutch/German shared flat. We often watch movies together, or go bowling. We try to cook together every evening, but of course we all have busy lives, so it’s never a problem if someone opts out. It’s great to end the evening by having some chitchat or by having someone ask you how your day was. It just makes you feel appreciated.
Sometimes in my free time I meet up with friends. We go out, play games or visit the ‘Vestingbar’, a students’ café. I have had so many great evenings on campus. I especially love the fancy-dress theme parties organised by students living in shared flats. The fun really makes up for any difficult patches in your studies.
WHAT FEATURES OF THE UT DO YOU PARTICULARLY LIKE?
I really like the way in which the UT tries to make technology attractive and accessible to everyone. I’ll never forget the lecture held by Adam Savage, one of the Mythbusters, on physics and how it applies to our everyday lives. I was euphoric by the end of it, it really made an impact on me.
WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THE UT TO OTHER PEOPLE?
Oh, that’s easy. As I’m studying international business administration, it is a great experience to study abroad in another language and to be surrounded by international cultures. Of course, the UT is not the only university offering these things. What makes the UT unique is its close ties with so many market leaders. For instance, we had lectures by the marketing director of Grolsch beer company.
We worked on the concept of a website and its impact on revenues. I gained so much insight in just one year, that by the end I had a broad and detailed understanding of what economy is all about. I also like the way in which the courses during each quarter are interconnected. It helps you realise why you have to understand a certain topic – and that makes even bare statistics more doable.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR INTERNATIONAL PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS?
Especially if you’re going to do an English-language programme, I would recommend doing a Dutch language course on the side. There is a simple course you can do in the first quarter that is cheap and fun. You get to meet other people outside your programme. And being able to order tea at a café in Dutch all by yourself makes you feel so much more comfortable and satisfied.
WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE YOU INVOLVED IN BESIDES STUDYING?
As I’m a fairly lazy girl, sports are not my cup of tea. So I mostly meet up with friends, drink coffee at the theatre café, study in groups at the library or just hang out with other people and play games. I also go shopping in the city and I love the huge market there on Sundays. Sometimes I go there just to watch the hustle and bustle of it all. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the bike rides we sometimes do. The Netherlands is a perfect country for cycling.
CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES REGARDING THE CAMPUS?
I have this thing that during my exam phase, when I study long hours, I love cycling around the campus. You always get to see something, like a late-night football match on a floodlit field. One summer, my friends and I did a treasure hunt on campus, it was so much fun. You get to see parts of the campus you’ve never noticed before. Ah, and of course the cultural celebrations are great. Once a year, there is a food festival, where everyone can come and try out traditional food from different countries for free. At the end, you get to vote on the best food.
WHAT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE? WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM?
One day, I hope to work as a procurement officer for a global corporation. That would definitely be my biggest dream. I would also like to be part of the change going on in purchasing. I mean, just look at Amazon – it revolutionised the way in which customers buy books. There is so much unused potential in the market and I’d love to support a company interested in adapting new ways of reaching customers.
LAURA LISA HELLWIG
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION?
Study abroad, internatonal environment
My decision to study International Business Administration (IBA) was determined by several factors. I wanted to participate in an English programme at a university abroad. Also, I have always been interested in other cultures and been eager to work in an international environment. This is why the international aspect of the IBA bachelor programme was so appealing.
There are plenty of programmes leading on to careers abroad, but I chose the International Business Administration bachelor because of its business context. The fact that it delves into many different fields is useful, as it means I can discover which fields I’m most interested in and possibly go onto do a master’s programme in one of these fields. Finally, the programme involves a lot of interaction with companies. That provides me with a chance to see how the theory works in practice. The opportunity to go abroad for a semester is also very valuable to me.
CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR CHOICE FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE?
I knew I wanted to study in the Netherlands, so naturally I visited some universities around the country. One of the reasons I chose the UT was the overwhelming first impression it made on me during my first visit and during chats with some of the lecturers and students. The huge campus with places to relax after lectures and a lot of small ponds, has a very special atmosphere. The whole campus is a lot like a small city in a big park. Even after two years at the UT, when I cycle across the campus to my flat, I'm still impressed by the atmosphere and the beautiful environment.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR STUDYING EXPERIENCES?
I just finished the second year of the bachelor’s programme and I am still totally convinced I made the right choice in coming here. It is not just the programme itself; the professors and teachers also make this course unique. Whenever I have questions or do not understand certain aspects of what I am being taught, my teachers are happy to help and to put extra time into clarifying things. Basically, you never feel you’re on your own. Even when the many assignments, tests and exams seem like a lot of work, I can always go to my study advisor for help.
WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE WEEK LOOK LIKE?
Normally, I have lectures about four days a week, but they don't take up the whole of the day. As we have a lot of group assignments, I often meet with my assignment groups after lectures. Sometimes, I do a lot of reading at home to prepare for upcoming lectures. Even though my university work is sometimes very time-consuming, I still have time to take my horse out and go riding every day.
On my free days, I work for an online marketing company. At around 6 pm, I get together with my flatmates and we have dinner. Evenings vary; we sometimes watch a movie together or play board games. As exam time draws near, me and some friends often form study groups. We go to the university library and rent a room to study there together. It is far more motivating to study together and it helps a lot to talk about things that are likely to come up in the exams.
To meet all the deadlines, I study a lot during weekends, too. Approximately once a month I go home to see my parents. I think it’s important to balance studying with the fun side of student life. It can be quite difficult, because of the pressure on assignments, tests and exams. Often my friends and I end up making plans for the great things we’re going to be doing when the exams are over, but when another quarter has ended and the new courses have started again, we find ourselves once again facing too many deadlines to do a lot of fun stuff. But there are more relaxed times, too, when we go out partying, or meet up for other fun stuff.
HOW’S STUDENT LIFE IN ENSCHEDE?
On top of my studying, I have a lot of opportunities to participate in sports and cultural clubs as well as student associations. I am in an international committee. We do cocktail evenings and get together for fun. Enschede is nice for going out. The city centre has a lot of pubs and a few dance clubs. As everything is within easy reach, can easily switch from one club to the next. Most of the students live in shared flats. I live in a flat on campus with 5 other students. We cook together every evening and organise flat activities. In my opinion, living in a Dutch flat is the best way to get to know the culture and to learn the language.
WHAT KIND OF ACTIVITIES ARE YOU INVOLVED IN BESIDES STUDYING?
I am in one of the committees of our student association. We organise academic and fun events for students from all over Europe, which makes my student experience even more multicultural. Also, I do horse riding and running. I love to meet friends and enjoy student life by going to parties in the city centre or doing relaxing stuff together. In order to finance my studies, I work for an online marketing company. On top of bringing in some money, it allows me to gain work experience related to the courses I’m taking at university. Whenever my schedule allows me to skip a few days, I love to travel through Europe with a student network that organises different kinds of events, such as company visits, meeting people from different countries and fun activities.
Looking back on my three years of studying to get a bachelor´s degree in International Business Administration (IBA), I can say that I gained a lot of valuable experience that has really contributed to my personal growth.
By the end of the first year, I had a clear view of how companies are structured and the various disciplines they are engaged in. Human Resource Management and Marketing turned out to be the most attractive fields to me, so I took them as specialisation tracks in my second year, hoping to gain deeper insight in those areas.
By taking the risk of accepting a student job with a Dutch company, I was able to apply the knowledge I had acquired and to get in touch with business life. What I liked most about the third year is that we worked closely with some start-up firms, combining theory with practice to advise them on how to enter the market successfully. In the final phase of the programme, during which I had to write my bachelor thesis, I did research on customers and companies coming together to develop products and services collaboratively.
Hard work pays off – after graduating, I was invited to the “International Conference on Strategic Innovative Marketing” in Prague to present my bachelor paper there. This provided me with an opportunity to connect with international professors and PhD students from all over the world, to attend inspiring lectures and to engage in lively discussions about innovative marketing.
After finishing high school in Germany, Julia Diekmann had a clear idea of what she wanted: to continue her focus on economics, both in her studies and in her future career. However, she found that in Germany there were a lot restrictions on entering Bachelor degree courses, while only a few universities offered the kind of programme she was looking for.
For Julia, the structure, content and even the location of the UT's International Business Administration course have provided her with the perfect solution. “To me, this Bachelor programme is unique, because of its international character and the broad possibilities it offers with respect to my later professional life.”
Another key factor, in Julia’s view, is the UT’s division of each semester into quarters. “In Germany, you have to study for six months, followed by exams on lots of different subjects. Here, the programme structure results in a more varied study load, which means there are less intense periods once in a while.
The University of Twente was also near where I lived and offered a Bachelor’s degree with a specialisation in Supply Chain Management – the field I would like to have a career in. So the choice was obvious. I’m living on campus now. That’s really a unique part of this university: it offers studying and living facilities in the same place. Everything is nearby and you don’t waste time travelling.”
“So far, the best project in my studies was the one I did for the 'Innovation and Entrepreneurship' course in my first year. The assignment we were given was to think about an original, innovative product that would offer something new to the market. We discovered that from December to April each year, one pair of skis is stolen every thirty minutes. This fact inspired us to develop our product idea: a ski lock with an integrated GPS function with which you can locate the skis if they get stolen. Our pitch earned us a really good grade.”
Looking to the future, Julia would like to follow an internship programme that will enable her to build on her specialisation in Supply Chain Management. “The international part of my course will be a big advantage to achieving this ambition.”
Hi, my name is Jennifer Weingarten. I’m from Cologne, in Germany, and currently living in Enschede, where I am studying International Business Administration at the University of Twente. During high school, I spent one year in Florida, where I realised the importance of doing a business study in English. At a fair in Cologne, I received flyers from different universities in the Netherlands and I got excited about studying here. I heard about the International Business Administration programme offered by the University of Twente and decided to check it out. The Open Day was extremely well organised; I had all my questions answered and got to tour the campus as well as the city of Enschede. By the end, I knew this course was exactly what I was looking for.
LIVING AND STUDYING IN ENSCHEDE
I moved to Enschede straight after high school and was fortunate to find a room quickly. I currently live in a student house on campus with 12 Dutch and one other German student. We have dinner together every evening and do a lot of nice things, like bowling. Back in Germany, I was involved in volleyball and jazz dance, so I´ve joined associations for those two sports here as well. I play volleyball in a mixed team, which is great fun. It’s a very sociable group; we do a lot of other activities together besides playing volleyball. Socialising like that is also a fun way for me to improve my Dutch.
I have also joined the IBA promotion team. We inform parents and potential students about the IBA programme during Open Days and visit schools to give presentations on the course. I enjoy this work, because I’m eager to share my experiences with others.
COMBINATION OF THEORY AND PRACTICE
The programme at the University of Twente offers the best elements of its German and Dutch counterparts, with a combination of theory and practice. At first, I was worried this might be very different to what I was used to at school, but the small groups and personal supervision have, in fact, proven to be a great source of support.
For example, for the classes on Business English & Communication Skills, I´m in a group of 8 students; we all get the attention and help we need. Besides attending lectures, I also have to read and study a lot on my own. This is called self-study and I usually go to the library for this, as there are no distractions there. A lot of IBA students study there, which is very motivating.
Regarding the coming years, I know for sure that I’d like to study or do my internship abroad. So it’s great that our curriculum accommodates for this. I’m not entirely sure where I’d like to go yet, although I’d be really interested in Sweden or Finland. Australia would also be very interesting!
United Kingdom & Pakistan
Usman Salim was particularly interested in the balance between theory and practice that the IBA programme offers. He likes the mix of essential theoretical knowledge while focusing on the practical implications of the theoretical concepts.
“IBA is a truly unique programme. When scouting my possibilities for studying “Supply Chain Management” as a specialization, I learned that the University of Twente is among the top institutions in Europe offering this specialization at the Bachelor’s level. It was a straightforward choice.
Stuying in the Netherlands
For me, studying in the Netherlands is a unique experience. Self-study is a key aspect here. Students are to a certain extent expected to teach themselves, with the lecturers providing assistance and guidance. This is an important aspect which contributes to the personal development of the students and enhances their capabilities.
This university is constantly trying to improve its standards and assistance is always provided to students when it’s required. The teaching staff is very helpful and accessible, which makes it easier for students when a problem occurs.
Living and studying on the campus
Life and studying on campus is quite peaceful and can be a lot of fun. The atmosphere is relaxed yet stimulating. It allows students to remain focused on their respective study programmes, yet allows them to pursue other interests at the same time. Additionally, the city of Enschede may seem like a small city, but actually, it has a lot to offer students. The city grows on you and with time, it even begins to feel like home.”
Article: MARCEL LANDEWEERD PRESENTS GRADUATION PAPER IN INDIA
Marcel Landeweerd, a master’s student of Business Administration, was invited to present his graduation paper on e-commerce at the IFIP WG8.6 conference in India. In this article, Marcel shares some of his experiences during the master’s programme and in India.
BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION MASTER
After getting a bachelor’s degree in Business and IT, I decided to study Business Administration, with a focus on Information Management. I opted for this course in order to deepen my knowledge in this area and because the programme allowed me to combine studying with entrepreneurship. The Business Administration programme was very interesting. Despite only being a 1-year programme, it really gave me the tools I needed to solve key business challenges. The programme combines academic literature with practice in weekly, case-based sessions.
RESEARCHING THE SUCCESS OF AN E-COMMERCE SERVICE
During my graduation project, I focussed on e-commerce success factors. With the Internet pervading all aspects of our society, Internet companies like Google and Facebook have become a part of our daily lives. Many of them grew from small start-up firms to multinational corporations in a matter of years. But for every Internet success story there are countless tales of failure; even within the same firm, some projects achieve tremendous success, while others fail miserably. The focus in my research was on Google – mainly because this company has had a huge number of successful projects as well as many failures. This meant I could compare those projects and explore key success factors for e-commerce.
PRESENTING MY PAPER AT THE IFIP WG8.6 CONFERENCE IN INDIA
When Dr. Ton Spil suggested I write my master thesis in the form of a paper and submit it to the IFIP WG8.6 conference, I was eager to take the opportunity. I wrote the paper together with Dr. Ton Spil and Dr. Rich Klein. When it was accepted, I was both surprised and happy.
The IFIP WG8.6 conference centred on the success and failure of IT – a perfect match with the topic of my paper. It was held in Bangalore, the IT capital of India. Our Director of Business Administration (Dr. Tanya Bondarouk) made it possible for me to attend the conference by providing compensation for my travel expenses and my stay in India.
MY EXPERIENCES IN INDIA
My stay in India made a big impression on me, both academically and personally. On arriving in India, the first adventure was getting from the airport to my hotel. The traffic in India was chaotic with people blowing their horns everywhere. I was struck by the differences between rich and poor. I saw skyscrapers being built right next to slums and the hotel interior seemed a different world compared to the streets outside.
The University of Bangalore is located in the centre of Bangalore with walls separating the campus from the city streets. The conference started with a reception, drinks and an opportunity for participants to meet. I met interesting people from many different backgrounds and cultures. The conference programme was interesting, with different researchers explaining and defending their published research. Topics ranged from very practical to very theoretical ones. My own research, which I presented with the help of Dr. Ton Spil, was very well received.
The main lesson I learned from attending the conference is that an event like this is a great opportunity for meeting new people and expanding your own network – as well as catching a glimpse of the Indian culture. It was a great trip, which I will never forget.
ENTREPRENEUR IN E-COMMERCE
The topic of e-commerce success is close to my heart. I’m currently working on several of my own e-commerce projects. My focus is on supplying web shop owners with the tools they need to improve their web shop. One of these tools is www.pricemotion.nl, which allows web shop owners to benchmark their prices with competitors, so that they can offer their customers the best price. Another project is www.webwinkelkeur.nl. This is a non-profit foundation aimed at making online shopping safe by providing a quality mark for reliable shops. Because of these activities, the topic of my master’s thesis was very interesting and relevant to me.
Article: LEONINE BRUNINK VISITS CONFERENCE ABOUT INTERNATIONAL MARKETING
International Business Administration student Leonine Brunink was invited to the “International Conference on Strategic Innovative Marketing” to present her bachelor paper on customer co-creation. We asked Leonine to tell us all about it.
Opportunities are there to be taken! Which is precisely what I did when I received an invitation to present my bachelor paper on customer co-creation at the “International Conference on Strategic Innovative Marketing”.
As this was my first time attending an academic conference, I did not really know what to expect. But I was still looking forward to the 5-day event in Prague. In retrospect, I would describe the conference as a meeting of people from different professional backgrounds – including some PhD students and business people, but especially university professors – from all over the world to examine certain topics from different angles. Every day, two to three sessions were scheduled, each session providing room for about eight speakers to introduce their research and discuss it with participants. Joint lunches, coffee breaks and an official dinner every evening allowed us to get connected to people and to exchange ideas and insights.
As one of the first International Business Administration graduates to attend this special event, I felt honoured to be able to accompany my professor, Efthymios Constantinides. The conference broadened my horizons in several ways. First, it was a great experience to present my research findings to professors and PhD students from all over the world and to see that they really value new contributions made in the academic field. Second, I collected a lot of valuable food for thought from the other speeches given and from participating in stimulating discussions on topics related to strategic innovative marketing. Third, the conference offered me the chance to connect with people from different universities and to benefit from worldwide networking. And, last but not least, I enjoyed the cultural experience of getting to know beautiful Prague and attending the museum night, during which all of the city´s museums open their doors free of charge until midnight.
My final advice to any students offered the possibility to attend a conference like this one: Don’t think twice, it will be totally worth it!
Article: SVENJA JOHANNSEN IN THE RUNNING TO WIN AN AWARD FOR HER RESEARCH
International Business Administration student Svenja Johannsen was invited to present her bachelor research paper at the upcoming VSNU Student Research Conference 2013. She is in the running to win the Student Research Award, worth €500 euros! In this article, Svenja tells us about the whole experience. I combined writing my bachelor thesis with an internship at the Dutch Ministry of the Interior in The Hague.
My research focussed on a model that helps you assess the maturity, or professionalism, of your purchasing function or department. It’s called the MSU+ model and especially targets the public sector, which includes all organisations belonging to the government, such as ministries or municipalities. During my 10 weeks of research, I did about 10 interviews with professionals and experts in the field of public purchasing. The goal was to identify the model’s weaknesses and, ultimately, to put forward suggestions for improving it.
I started the International Business Administration Bachelor at the University of Twente in 2010 and had a very good time there. The first year provided a good introduction to all the relevant business fields. On that basis, I decided to focus on Supply Management, which later became the subject of my bachelor thesis. In the second year, I did an internship with the strategic purchasing department of a big company, which gave me a lot of practical insight. I started my third year with a semester abroad in France, where I had the possibility to travel a lot and gain many new experiences. In addition to studying at the UT,
I was also pretty active in my student association throughout the bachelor programme. We did a lot of fun activities and it really helped me to quickly feel at home when I first started out as a student in a new city. I enjoyed the bachelor courses very much; they gave me a lot of insight and I believe that if you want to do something in the business world, this programme can provide you with a solid basis. Overall, I had a great time in Enschede!
My teachers informed me about the Student Research Conference (SRC 2013), which awards good undergraduate bachelor theses written by students at universities in the Netherlands. I applied in July with a 3-page summary of my actual thesis, and was very happy to find out in September that my thesis had been selected. This means I get to present my thesis on a poster at a conference in November in Amsterdam. The audience gets to vote on the best poster presentation, which means I have a chance of winning a 500€ prize. I am really looking forward to presenting my thesis. It will be a great opportunity to see what other students did and also to practice my presentation skills.