Marly van de Griendt

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when choosing your master!
Marly van de Griendt
Alumnus International Public Management & Policy (IMP), Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2012

What was important in making up your mind?
Most importantly, after IBCoM, I really wanted to continue studying in an international setting. For me, this meant not only that it had to be an English-spoken master, but also that there would be students coming from different countries and backgrounds. Also, rather than specializing in communication and/or media, I wanted to try to apply my knowledge from IBCoM and combine it with knowledge from an entirely new field. The difficulty with this was that most masters then ask you to do a premaster, and I really preferred not to, so I was also trying to find a program that would not require me to do one.

What made you decide to choose for this master?
I had a really hard time choosing the “new field” I wanted to study in. During IBCoM, I took a lot of courses with a corporate focus, courses from RSM, and did my internship in a very corporately-oriented company, which actually made me realize that I wasn’t so sure about working in the private sector. I chose to do my thesis on business model innovation in the public sector and found it really interesting. Therefore, I started looking for masters with a public sector focus and found out that the department of public administration at EUR is one of the largest in Europe. Their international track master had all the characteristics I was looking for, and because of the fact that I studied at EUR already and they knew the courses we had on methods and statistics, I also did not have to do a premaster. The deciding factor then was that it’s a very small-scaled and personal program. As I got used to very engaged teachers during IBCoM, I really liked the idea of this.

How would you describe the connection between IBCoM and your master?
In my opinion, communication and media are applicable to basically every field and sector. In that sense, you have the ability to create the connection yourself and I think this goes for every master in a different field. Through the certain degree of freedom in choosing topics for assignments, you can combine the knowledge from IBCoM with the new things you learn in your master, and that was exactly what I was looking for. For example, when we were asked to write a research proposal, I wrote about social media as a public diplomacy tool for the United Nations, involving concepts from both studies.

How would you describe your master?
I’ve really noticed that a master is more demanding than a bachelor, which is of course the idea behind doing one. However, the teachers are very engaged and make an effort to link theory to the outside world with a lot of examples and case studies, which has really helped me get into the topics, since they were all new to me. 
Also important is the fact that, because we’re such a small group, everybody knows each other and not a week goes by without someone (or the staff, sometimes) organizing something fun. It’s a very diverse group, with people with backgrounds in law, economics, politics, history, etc. This makes the social aspect of studying very interesting!

In hindsight, what would you have liked to have known before, what you know now?
I never realized that, when you start your master, you basically already have to start thinking about a new thesis topic. It’s such a short period of time between finishing your bachelor thesis and starting your master thesis (in March!). It’s probably useful to start thinking about this in time, if you want to finish your master within one year.

What kind of job would you be interested in after this master?
I’d like to work in diplomacy, or for example in consultancy but then for the public sector. Another option would be to work within the government on developing public sector innovations.

Any other points you would like to add?
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when choosing your master! It’s not set in stone that you need to finish your master in the way and time that university proposes. Take your time, try to find the best suitable master and if it doesn’t work, make it suit you by doing another internship or more elective courses, even if this causes you some delay. The “Langstudeerboete” is gone for now, so benefit from that if you have the possibility.