Teacher at the Department of Management
"What I would like to say to my students is: Use the full potential of your four years at university, seize that opportunity for deeper learning."
What are the courses about? What is the common theme?
I teach three courses: Operations Management, Sustainable Entrepreneurship, and Research Skills. What links these three courses is: How can you interpret business processes? What sources do you need? What theories can help you analyse them? How do you collect relevant data?
In all the courses I teach, students need to do assignments. For Operations Management, students need to concentrate on a particular company, for example, in the area of volume and variety. Or identify the competition. For Sustainable Entrepreneurship, students themselves need to find a company, preferably within their own network, and enter into a dialog. Based on that case, they must make an in-depth analysis of the business process and write a case study. In addition, we invite interesting guest lecturers who work in sustainable businesses, for instance, a company that invests in venture capital or a company that approaches the coffee process from a totally different, more sustainable perspective.
Teaching a class is one thing, but an important part of the work is preparation, both substantive and administrative. I also supervise students writing their Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis.
What is important to you in teaching? What do you want your students to remember?
Students are often focused on how to pass an exam. I would like to inspire them to go one step further, that they seek more in-depth knowledge on subjects that they find interesting. What I would like to say to my students is: Use the full potential of your four years at university, seize that opportunity for deeper learning.
What strikes me furthermore is that students keep theory and practical experience firmly separate whereas, in the courses taught by me, linking the two seems the obvious thing to do. Many students have a job on the side. They could ask themselves: what are the business processes like at my employer’s? Usually they have no idea. I try to make students more aware of the connection between theory and practice. It would be wonderful if, during the four years that they are here, we could inspire students to engage in more self-reflection.
What motivates you?
My most important motivation is the interaction with people, specifically with young people. I always say: I have the best job in the world!
Who was your mentor?
I do not have one mentor but several: the group of teachers which I am part of. You learn to teach in practice, but also by consulting with other teachers, giving and receiving feedback, by coordinating. You learn a lot as part of a team. I would like to be able to also do this in a larger group, for example, at a School level. I think that we as teachers would profit if we could share best practices at this level.
Expert & Expertise Marjan Groen