The 2014 Maastricht Business Days Committee
Business professionals and recruiters – many of them SBE alumni – joined once again the Maastricht Business Days at Kasteel Vaeshartelt on 11 and 12 March 2014
This year, Maastricht’s largest recruitment event provided 45 companies and more than 500 students with the perfect platform to network and get to know each other.
The two-day career event gives companies the opportunity to formally conduct personal interviews with potential new employees, hold presentations to introduce their businesses, interact with students during the general company fair and challenge their knowledge in demanding workshops. However, there is also a casual side, when companies invite students for lunch, dinner, and network drinks in order to connect with them in a more informal atmosphere.
I decided to take a look behind the scenes and discover why the Maastricht Business Days continue to be so successful and interesting for both companies and students?
1. Organisation – By students for students
A fact many people tend to overlook is that the Maastricht Business Days are organizsd by the study associations SCOPE|3MA and SCOPE|FOCUS. As such, they are entirely in the hands of fellow students. Every year the two study associations recruit a new committee consisting of six talented and motivated students, who next to their studies, organise a new edition of the Business Days. The team starts contacting companies already months prior to the event, selects a location, develops a promotion plan, manages the day-to-day operations of the event, and makes sure that the event will be successful and run smoothly for both students and companies. The great thing about students organising this event is that they are aware of the students’ desires and interest in companies.
2. Location – Kasteel Vaeshartelt
Whereas many career fairs take place in rather clinical-style exhibition halls, Kasteel Vaeshartelt brings a unique flair to the event. The registration desks are located in the impressive entrance hall, lunch is served in the modern annex, and the workshops are held in business-like conference rooms. This year the warm weather even enabled all participants to enjoy the first sun rays of spring in the beautiful park surrounding the castle.
3. SBE contributes to career planning
This year SBE introduced “career workshops” to give students the opportunity to develop their soft skills in different areas. The SBE Academic Counseling offered a workshop on how to construct a personal and career profile to prepare for the labour market. Furthermore, the Service Science Factory held a workshop on to develop one’s personal vision and start working proactively on one’s career. This guidance to the first steps of students’ careers plays a pivotal part of the Maastricht Business Days and the general education at the School of Business and Economics.
4. Companies – from startups to global players
Every year new companies decide to join the Maastricht Business Days. This year’s edition featured a wide range of participating firms in terms of size, origin, and field of expertise. Smaller companies present at this year’s Business Days were for example the IT startup Dropbox, which was recruiting for its new Dublin office, and Alpha Sights, a knowledge broker firm with headquarters in London. Then again there are companies with their headquarters close-by. DSM, a multinational company with it headquarters regionally located in Heerlen, as well as the strategy consultants of SMP AG from Düsseldorf sent their talent scouts to Maastricht. In addition, large multinational corporations such as Shell, AbInBev, Unilever, and Henkel participated in the event with interesting jobs and traineeships offers. Last but not least, several management consultancies, banks, and Big Four accounting firms promote their companies during the two days in Maastricht.
What trend can we observe now? Companies with different sizes, coming from various locations, and operating in different sectors are present at the Maastricht Business Days to meet and recruit SBE students.
5. Students – Employability of Maastricht University students
The main reason why every year companies line up again to join this career event, is because of the students themselves. The feedback we receive from company representatives and recruiters, shows there are some specific qualifications that make Maastricht students particularly attractive in the labor market. First, the maturity projected by the participants at the Business Days. Companies say they admire how professionally and considerately the students interact with them. Second, companies value the teamwork and presentation skills that students acquired during numerous PBL tutorials and make them ready to jump right into the professional world. Third, it is the entrepreneurial spirit, the willingness to discover their opportunities, and the desire to take their career in their own hands, which place Maastricht University students in high demand.
6. Interaction opportunities between students and companies
The variety of interaction opportunities during the two -day event is special. The mixture of formal and informal interaction gives companies the unique opportunity to get to know their potential future colleagues in different kinds of settings, so that they can be sure that the students are the right fit for their team.
If you or your company want to convince yourself of the uniqueness of the Maastricht Business Days, we can only extend the invitation to alumni, students and potential recruiters: Come and try it out next year!
By Paul Nuscheler
Paul Nuscheler is a third year BSc International Business – Finance student at Maastricht University School of Business and Economics