IT & Operations

Participants blog: what I have learned anyway

September 25, 2014

Participant Hugo Ouwehand almost finished the Executive Master of Operations and Supply Chain Excellence. What did he learn?

After my last blog I was overwhelmed with reactions. A number of people took the trouble to tell me what they thought, and both of them said the same thing: “TIAS is a serious institute, not to be compared with an 80’s puppet show”.

They are right, both of them.

When I signed up for my Executive Master of Operations and Supply Chain Excellence I was a 44 years old Bachelor of Business Administration, graduated from an institute not even offering the studies anymore, and it had been over twenty years that I had been challenged in an educational manner.  I remember that first introduction dinner, thinking that I would never be able to keep up to speed with that sharp, young, eager and advanced group of students I suddenly was a part of.

But then classes started.

And I found myself in a challenging environment, with people sharing their experiences, their thoughts and their knowledge. A setting in which you are encouraged to think, to participate, to contribute and to share what you think you know. Professors offering insight in state-of-the-art practices. Fellow students working in companies where these practices had already been applied.

So what is the one thing I learned most from my studies at TIAS?

Now that’s not an easy question to answer. I could argue and say it is the academic content of the lectures. Or I could emphasize the practical use of the assignments I conducted as the study advanced. Maybe I would highlight the impact of the various theses on the respective companies. Or the economies realised by implementing suggestions for improvement deriving from research initiated as a result of the studies.

All arguments mentioned are true. But for me, two things have proven to be invaluable. First, the dynamics of a group of students, where I have learned about S&OP in a high-volume/low margin environment, about the importance of marketing for the number one beer brewery in The Netherlands (and beyond), about OEE and the effect on profits in a chemical plant, about on site logistics, about spare parts management, 3D printing, sustainable design, and so on…

But most of all, TIAS has taught me to find the strategic purpose, to wonder why, to keep my eyes open, to look beyond the obvious, to NEVER STOP ASKING….

Thanks for that.

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