RSM’s IBA students have seen many changes this year. Many courses were replaced, or even taken away from the original curriculum. A new course this year is Technology for Managers, in which RSM and Delft University of Technology work together.

This unique course focuses on the collaboration between business and engineering students. The students, 520 in all, must write a strategic plan for one of nine chosen companies in Nanotechnology. The course involves much planning and there are high expectations, according to the course coordinators Prof. dr. Jan. Dul and Dr. Erik van Raaij “It is indeed a new course in the RSM curriculum, and we are very excited to see the real outcomes of this project. It involves the learning of the students towards the challenge of finding common ground between the management and technology “cultures”. Because many of today’s businesses are faced with one of the biggest managerial challenges: the so called ‘management of diversity’”, the two professors explain.

Yet- as with many other things in life- nothing is perfect. Students have already raised issues, such as the mandatory workshop sessions, and a certain lack of synchrony between schedules for Delft and RSM students. Arvind Dwarkasing, one of the Delft cooperating students commented: “There is room for improvement in the scheduling aspect of the course, but I must admit that it could have been much worse given the dimensions of the course”. IBA students found the mandatory sessions found the most challenging part, due to the busy period they are all experiencing. The coordinators of the course replied saying that everything in the course has been carefully planned, including staffing, schedules, the companies involved, the information that needed to be available, as well as training of each one of the tutors of this course. The only real requirement were these few sessions which benefit the students themselves. “We understand that it can be challenging sometimes to be present in all the meetings”, the profs say. “But this was done in order to ensure that one of the most significant aspects of the course would not be lost: the sharing of knowledge.”

 

The students are facing a new challenge, as do the staff teaching and organizing the course. The newness of the program, the high expectations, and times of uncertainty contribute to the increase in the margin of error of this task. Nevertheless, it is a promising course which will help bridging the gap between management and technology. GS