Meike Broenink (former MSc student Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

In June 2017 I graduated with a master’s degree in Management Consulting from the VU with the graduation subject ’employee participation’. My thesis supervisor was Oskar Bronsgeest and I would like to share with you how I experienced this collaboration.

During our collaboration we had six comprehensive 1-on-1 meetings in which I, as a student, delivered papers we discussed together. Oskar always scheduled enough time for our meetings and was always prepared to have an in-depth discussion of my work. His enthusiasm and knowledge were a great inspiration for me and made our collaboration a very pleasant experience. I would like to elaborate on this below.

As a student, you cannot always be sure about the amount of feedback and attention you will receive from your supervisor. You expect a certain amount of input to be able to continue your work yourself and to be challenged to improve your work. Oskar did arrange this very well for me. At the beginning of our collaboration, he scheduled 6 meetings in which he had 1-on-1 time to discuss my research. Having a clear schedule really worked well for me. It was my responsibility as a student to get as much out of these discussions as possible and indeed that was a very satisfying experience for me. In addition to these conversations, Oskar always took enough time to respond via e-mail to my additional questions.

Our schedule was clearly defined and certainly sufficient, but perhaps even more important is the content of the conversations you have during your graduation with your supervisor. The nice thing about the discussions we had was that it did not feel like a strict teacher-student relationship. Oskar did not point out my mistakes, but he helped me to discover where things could be improved and how we could shape this into a coherent dissertation. The conversations we had gave me more the impression that we were creating new insights as equals. I was challenged to question my own work and to constantly improve it.

The most valuable thing about the collaboration was Oskar his contagious enthusiasm about the subject of employee participation. After each conversation I returned to my desk with even more inspiration and enthusiasm to work even harder on this topic. As a student I consider it as most important that a supervisor is inspiring. I experienced there is no better way to do this than sharing your own enthusiasm.

I enjoyed graduating and this is largely due to the time, inspiration and enthusiasm I received from Oskar as a supervisor. At this moment in my starters position as a project consultant I can implement the ideas and inspiration regarding employee participation in real life situations. Like Oskar, I believe that an organization cannot function without it and I hope to be able to contribute the implementation of employee participation in many organizations.

Meike Broenink, Leiden, May 22, 2018