Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Help...!! It is time for the Exams

For the first time this academic year the period of stress has arrived as next week’s exams are rapidly approaching. This requires formidable time management and numerous hours of studying in the library. We are not only supposed to study hard for the exams, we also have the final (combined) paper for the courses Empirical Economics and International Business Ventures due at the end of this week.
Should my social life stop until all these horrific deadlines have passed? My answer is no. I really believe that no matter how busy you are and how much work has to be done, one should always reserve time to relax and ease the mind in order to achieve good results. That is why I do not cancel my football practise on Mondays and Thursdays, because during these 1.5 hours of practise you are able to forget all the difficult econometric formulas and strategic decisions that keep us occupied at school. It also gives me an opportunity to complain about the hard parts of student life (which is obviously utter nonsense) and to get compassion from the team mates that are in exactly the same position. Apart from the training nights I have two football matches scheduled for Friday & Saturday. Should I cancel these then? My answer is no. Although the Friday match will be played near Groningen in my hometown of Bedum and therefore costs me quite some travel time, I really believe it is not harmful for me to go and play. I can spend the 4 hours (2 hours both ways) in the train to study and in the same line of reasoning as above I can ease my mind playing a football match.
The following Saturday another match is scheduled with the student football club Odysseus ’91 in Utrecht, where we will compete against another side from Utrecht: Elinkwijk. For Saturday night, after the football match, the hardest decision has to be made. My girlfriend asked me to come to a Halloween party that a friend of hers organized and I have a really hard time to decline this particular invitation as I know how much fun it is going to be. At the same time I am well aware that a party the weekend before the exam week is not going to increase the productivity of my study efforts the day after. Should I decline the invitation? My answer is no. The solution will be to go to the party and leave early, as a hangover should be avoided at all times. Then I am confident that I will succeed to pass my exams next week. In my next blog I will report how my study strategy worked out and hopefully I will score sufficient grades for my exams and have a blast at the Halloween party.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

And we're off, the first steps towards Msc

We are about half way the term as we speak, and so far it has been a really busy one.
What I have learned until now, apart from various new regression techniques and strategy case studies, is that the Master studies differ in a lot of ways from the Bachelor phase.
The level of the courses has increased, the workload seems to be a lot higher and fellow students tend to be more motivated. The courses I’m currently following are Empirical Economics, which builds upon the Econometrics course from the Bachelor phase, and International Business Ventures (or shortly, IBV). We are working on a joint project between the two courses, combining the insights from International Business Ventures with the regression techniques of Empirical Economics.

At the same time we follow a weekly tutorial and lecture for both courses. For the IBV-course, we are supposed to prepare a case study every week and hand it in to the professor. In the tutorial the prof decides randomly who is to present that week, which effectively means you have to prepare a well structured and quality PowerPoint presentation for each case as there is always a chance that your group has to present.

All in all, this is very demanding and exciting at the same time. Due to the continuous stream of assignments and deadlines you are required to plan all your work well in advance, to make sure everything is done in time and is of sufficient quality.     

Therefore, I find myself at school from 9 to 5 more often than not, as if I were already working a regular job and I am approaching the 40-hour study week more than ever, something I considered my worst nightmare during my Bachelor studies ;). But as I said, so far it has all been very exciting, for example dr. Pinna’s classes. His teaching approach is slightly different from other professors. He tries to bring in as much real world business examples as possible, which makes it easier to understand the theory. He also likes to joke around and provides us with practical tricks and tips. His best advice so far: when you are negotiating as a manager, always make sure to check your opponents mood with their personal secretary before you go into any talks. This allows you to alter your strategy if necessary.

Another thing that made me very exited is last night’s Bachelor graduation ceremony. Finally the time was there, completely dressed up in cap and gown,  to collect my Bachelor diploma.
From now on I’m at liberty to use the title Bachelor of Science (Bsc) and in the coming months I’m going to acquire my next title, Master of Science (Msc). I hope you will all follow me on my journey to reach this goal during the remainder of this year.

Best regards,

Lars Bos