"If you want to study a practice-oriented business program in a multicultural environment in the heart of Europe, MSM is the right choice!"
At MSM we welcome talented students from many different countries around the world to strengthen their management knowledge and skills, and to show them the benefit of studying in Holland. In this, Nuffic, the Dutch organization for internationalization in Education, is an important partner in providing various forms of support, including the Orange Tulip Scholarship program to attract students from abroad. Also this year MSM was proud to have so many international talented students in our programs. One of them is Mariia Kirichenko who followed the Master in Management program at MSM.
Why did you choose to study in the Netherlands?
I was planning to do a Masters in Italy until I went there on a trip with a stopover in Amsterdam. It was my first time in the Netherlands and I fell in love with the country! Upon my return to Moscow, I attended a few Nuffic Neso Russia events and cultural evenings to learn more about education in the Netherlands and Dutch culture. After evaluating all the options, I chose the Netherlands for the following reasons: its practice-oriented education, multicultural environment, safety, English-speaking population and the country’s position towards the highly skilled immigrants with its orientation year (zoekjaar) permit that allows to look for a job after finishing studies.
Why did you choose MSM?
MSM is one of the most international Dutch institutions, and it was the main reason why I chose it. It is great to study with people from different countries and backgrounds: not only you learn how to work in a culturally diverse environment, but you also start appreciating the differences and uniqueness of each other, you expand your vision of the world. Working on projects in such a diverse group was not simple, I have to admit, but we managed to get good results.
The second reason is the practical orientation of MSM business programs. Having analyzed the curriculum and academic staff, I found MSM to be a great match for the academic goals I set for my postgraduate study.
Looking back at the academic year at MSM, I can say that I am happy with my choice. I am particularly grateful to the coordinators of the programme and the professors that have been motivating us throughout the course. They were eager to share their knowledge and experience, stimulated discussions in class and invited guests from local companies. There were many interesting conversations during coffee breaks and, of course, some great jokes – I became a fan of Dutch humor.
What was you first reaction when you heard you were one of the talented students who were accepted for the Orange Tulip Scholarship Program?
I was so happy! I opened the e-mail and after “jumping on my chair” for a while I called my family saying “Guess what? I am going to the Netherlands!”
What do you think about the program?
I found it practical and challenging. During each course, we applied theory to practice through case studies, presentations, company visits and two consultancy projects that we did for the German and Dutch companies.
Due to MSM’s “open door policy”, everyone is always available for consultations – which made me feel welcome at any time I had a question or a problem to resolve.
I enjoyed the Personal Development Program with useful workshops including Improvisation skills, Time management and Conflict resolution among others which helped me develop my soft skills. Lastly, I found the workshops and support of Career Services at MSM of a great help for my job search.
How do you experience your life as an international student in Maastricht so far?
To me, Maastricht is one of the best cities to study and the longer I live here, the more I think that it is one of the best cities for international students. There are so many things to do and so friendly people to meet! It is a cultural pot that I’ve never experienced before although I lived in the USA, Spain and Argentina.
Due to its great location at the heart of Europe, it is convenient to make day trips to the nearby cities. Despite the full-time study load, I managed to visit Delft, Eindhoven, The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Brussels, Paris, Cologne, Bruges, Leuven, Monschau, beautiful places of the Ardennes and many small towns in the border countries.
How do you spend your free time in Holland/Maastricht?
Balancing social life and studies can be quite a challenge, I have to admit, as there are many “temptations”…but isn’t it a great opportunity to master the time management skill?
It’s impossible to be bored in Maastricht as there is always something to choose from the agenda of activities! I enjoyed the Holland Expat Center events, particularly Let’s Catch Up, which are great for meeting new people. Live music evenings and Vrijthof theatre performances were my favorite cultural activities.
For my personal development and well-being, I’ve joined Toastmasters to practice my public speaking skills, attended open lectures, went to improvisational theatre evenings and did yoga.
What are the main cultural differences between Holland and Russia?
I think our countries have many similarities and I adapted in the Netherlands quite fast. The main difference which also happens to be one of the things I love the Netherlands for is its cycling culture: regardless of the weather people cycle everywhere here, even with little kids! My family and friends from Russia still were very surprised that I cycled to MSM even when it was cold and raining. Frankly speaking, cycling for a 9:00 lecture wakes you up and boosts up your mood better than coffee (although in combination they work perfectly together)! Second difference would be a straight-forwardness of the Dutch people: I find them much more direct – something that I think I almost got used to. Lastly, coming from Moscow, the third main difference for me is business operating hours: most of the shops in Maastricht close at 5 or 6 pm, except for Thursday, while in Russia they work until 10 pm or even 24/7. The kitchen in most restaurants also closes at 10 pm the latest, and that’s the time when I am usually up for a dinner.
What advice would you give to readers?
Getting a Master’s or MBA degree abroad is a great experience that challenges you to step out of the comfort zone, broaden your career horizons, grow both personally and professionally.
If you want to study a practice-oriented business program in a multicultural environment in the heart of Europe, MSM is the right choice!