Thesis-Internship Programme (TIP) enables research to have real-world impact for local companies

SBE student Niels van den Berg (Masters candidate in International Business, Finance) is already applying his research to real-world issues as a Finance Trainee at Rabobank, where he is currently interning with the so-called Teckle Innovation Programme.

Niels van den Berg

Niels van den Berg

Van den Berg’s internship is part of a new SBE initiative, a combined thesis-internship programme (TIP) that enables SBE students to intern with regional companies and base their thesis on the experience.

A win-win for students and companies
TIP is a win-win for companies and students, says Isabella Grabner, Associate Professor in the Department of Accounting & Information Management and coordinator of TIP. The student gains professional experience, and companies get a researched solution to actual issues they are facing.

As part of the TIP programme, students will work 2-3 days a week for a local company during their studies. The main task of the internship will be to work on a research question that is related to a real challenge that the company faces. The output will be an academic master’s thesis that is both relevant for the respective company and of high academic quality for the university and an executive summary and board presentation for the company.

By bringing students into contact with potential future employers as part of the regular curriculum, TIP gives companies the chance to develop a relationship with talented young business people before they enter the labour market.

Matching research with pressing questions
Several regional businesses, including Janssen Precision Engineering (JPE) and Arion, are excited to avail of this opportunity. “Rabobank actually approached SBE looking for a student who could combine an internship with a research project,” Grabner says, “and they were very excited to hear we have this programme in place.”

And van den Berg was an ideal match for Teckle, which is an initiative by local Rabobank branches that addresses the pressing needs innovative startup companies face when searching for capital—a problem van den Berg is interested in solving.

“In today’s troubled economic environment, many innovative startups are facing serious problems in their search for capital that would enable them to continue their business,” van den Berg says. “The biggest problems arise in the transition phase from financing with small equity capital to large bank capital.”

The Teckle team

The Teckle team

Rabobank Maastricht en Omstreken focuses in particular on innovative startups in the Life Science & Health sector. According to Rob Dassen, Manager of Business Relationships at Rabobank, the bank is determined to not only help startups in their search for capital, but also give them access to Rabobank’s large network that can help them to tackle non-finance related problems.

Invaluable experience
For van den Berg, the experience has been invaluable. “TIP provides me with a unique opportunity to conduct empirical research for my thesis, and gain a massive amount of relevant working experience in the banking sector,” he says.

“From an academic perspective,” he continues, “my goal is to successfully develop, back test and implement a credit-scoring model that is specifically designed for the Life Science and Health sector. The practical implications of such a model could prove to be very beneficial for both Rabobank and the Life Science & Health sector as a whole.”

Learn more
To learn more about participating in TIP as a company or student, contact Dr. Grabner at

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