IT & Operations

Writing your thesis? Diversity works.

January 21, 2015
Image: © Nationale Beeldbank

One achieves a master's degree through one's own efforts, yet not entirely alone. One of the components of the study program is to write and present a thesis. In the Master of Information Management (MIM), this is done in a team of three or four participants.

This took some getting used to for Remco Smeets, Johan Zoete and Fabian Nordkamp. They graduated in 2014 as Masters of Information Management (MIM). The three particpants worked in different capacities at very different organizations. Fortunately, the chemistry among them was good and differences of opinion ultimately resulted in better results. Remco: "You sometimes read about the added value of diversity in teams. Well, it really works. I am no longer afraid of it. I have experienced how combining ideas can result in something very new."

From leader to team member

Remco works at DSM at the intersection of business and IT. At the start of the program, the business economist had been working as a business process expert for exactly 18 months. "I spent the first four months of my studies googling IT jargon. I really had to learn an entirely new language."

The well-read Fabian Nordkamp had been working in IT for fifteen years already, in architecture rather than processes. As a Delivery Manager for Capgemini, he directs multiple projects at a large Dutch bank, with teams in the Netherlands and India. "Co-writing a document was not a learning objective for me."

Techie Johan de Zoete is accustomed to managing people, originally as an IT team leader and project manager for the Lower House of the Dutch parliament. He currently is an information manager at the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. "At work, I am the one who makes the decisions: we go left or right. But when working on this thesis, all three of us were equals." It took some time to determine who had what role within the team. The key turned out to be accepting that everyone thought and looked differently and finding out how they complemented each other. Introvert and extrovert, big picture and details, thinking and acting.

Daily inspiration 

In their day-to-day work, the three masters still encounter aspects covered in the Masteres program. Fabian: "In the field of enterprise architecture and portfolio management particularly. And I now know which ideas belong to which writers." To read during his summer holidays, he bought the book The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen, a discussion topic in the study program. Johan and Remco were especially intrigued by Business Research. Johan: "It taught us how to research, how to investigate and how to incorporate all that information logical in document. I found it very useful to be able to understand papers from my field of expertise. I am now much better at expressing my own ideas." Remco: "I now organize information differently."

The Executive Master in Information Management provides participants with broad insights and practical skills in order to be able to lead and succeed in this dynamic new field. The English-language program offers the expertise for analyzing, designing, and implementing organizational processes through strategically structured IT processes. Read more. 

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