“Writing a master’s thesis is a life-changing experience”

The Impact Conversations with Bo van der Rhee, Joost van Buuren, and Niels van Nieuw Amerongen

June 1 2022

Writing a master's thesis proves to be a real bottleneck for many students. What is it exactly that’s so challenging? And how can supervisors get a better grip on the number of master's theses that need to be completed? To Bo van der Rhee, Professor of Operations Management, Joost van Buuren, Professor of Auditing and Assurance, and Niels van Nieuw Amerongen, Professor of SME Accountancy, all at Nyenrode Business Universiteit, the answer seems easy. They conducted research on this topic.  

Thesis supervision

Students want to graduate quickly, yet writing a thesis proves to be a bottleneck for students. After months of studying, students are left to fend for themselves when having to write a master's thesis. "During the course of study, students have to deal with various deadlines, classroom supervisions, preparation for exams. That all disappears when they start writing the thesis. The only deadline they are given is, after 4 months, to defend the thesis."

"That gives students room to do literally all kinds of things that have absolutely nothing to do with writing a thesis. By including the “research skills” subject in the course, you involve students in data collection. Not only does that provide a huge dataset that can be used for multiple purposes, students also seem more motivated, completing their master's thesis with several articles in national and international journals within four months," Van der Rhee explains.

Working together with the “Big 4”

Within the Accountancy programs, Nyenrode has entered into a partnership with Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG, the four largest audit firms in the Netherlands. "By sharing data collections and confidential information from these audit firms with students, they can conduct more targeted research and ultimately produce sharper results," says Van Nieuw Amerongen.

The faculty actively supervises students. With the Auditing & Assurance thesis program, not only has the number of Auditing master's theses increased in recent years, but the quality has also increased dramatically. "In the beginning, only 20% of the students wrote a thesis on Auditing. Today, that figure is 70%," Van Buuren explains. "In addition, almost 95% of master's theses are written and defended within the nominal time frame." The program has also led to unique data collection opportunities for researchers within the faculty.

The Impact Conversations is a podcast series in which you discover the stories behind our reseachers and their work. With hosts Bregje Spijkerman and Jan Anne Amelink, you will dive deeper into practical solutions for real-life challenges.

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