Finalizing your BSc, MSc, MA or MBA thesis project
Wouldn’t it be wonderful when…
You are proud about your thesis work.
You do your thesis work in your unique way, so you can show the world what you are capable of?
You learn more from your thesis project than you initially expected?
You develop yourself as a more confident and stable person?
You discover your leadership potential and practice it?
You develop your project management skills?
You have an enjoyable period working on your thesis?
This course helps you to reach this wonderful state through…
Helping you to get more insight in your goals and what you need to reach these goals;
Helping you to identify common mistakes and traps in thesis work, and, of course find a way not to trap into these;
Helping you to create a team around you that will support you along the way, motivate you, provides valuable resources, etc.;
Helping you to either avoid or be better prepared for set-backs;
Helping you to understand and apply the essentials of thesis work so you can put all your energy into the research, the design or the product you develop itself.
“I am not nervous anymore when I enter the room of my supervisor, while I used to have ‘wet hands’ waiting in front of his office door. Instead of listening to his ‘verdict on my work’ I now have questions and I know what kind of answers I need to continue with my research. I will not leave until I get these answers. Strangely, I first thought I was impolite by forcing to get what I needed, but it turned out I make the job for my supervisor much easier. He treats me much more as a kind of equal researcher and seems to enjoy discussing my work with me.”
For whom this course is intended
Rather than following the well-intended practical paths others present to you, you are a student who is interested in finding out what your way to producing a thesis can be like. You want to discover more about yourself, your surroundings, your ambitions, your talents, your behaviour, your habits and your convictions, all to either use them for your purpose or realize you need to change, adapt or even abandon some in order to reach your final goal.
In other words, you are a student who wants to use the final thesis project also as a way to make steps in your personal development. You want to get to know yourself better, learn and become someone who knows perfectly well what (s)he needs to master projects. Not only now, when finalizing your thesis, but especially also after that, in other parts of your life, both professional as well as private.
Being proud about your thesis project after you finish it is one thing, and you are quite right to celebrate it. However, the feeling of truly increased self-confidence in project management fitting your specific personal characteristics are beneficial for the rest of your professional and private life.
As with every project, you have a personal goal, there is a context in which the project has to be carried out, there are other people involved in the project, there are guidelines, requirements, criteria for success, progress indicators, etc. And, not to forget, outside this particular project there are other projects, other people, even other issues. As an MBA student, you might have your thesis project, but you also have other courses in the curricula, you have a job where you are responsible for other projects, you have a social life, you are playing soccer every Saturday with your team, etc. As MSc or BSc student, you have courses and practical sessions to finish in the curricula, you might have the pressure of graduating before a certain date due to financial limitations, you have your social life, you play in a band, etc.
You need to balance your thesis project with all the other things in your life. And, you need to reach your personal goal in your thesis project, while in your project there are other people involved with all their goals and desires, within the framework of requirements of your institution, and, such that your external client (if you have one) is happy with the results. And, everything on time of course.
There will always be moments when you get stuck. You have no idea how to continue. Everything you have tried seems to be a dead end. In these moments you are very vulnerable to distraction. All kind of things suddenly appear to be urgent. New fonts in your report. Shopping. Going out with friends. WhatsApp or Instagram on your cell phone. You suddenly start all kind of activities such as reorganizing the books on your shelf, even doing the dishes, that normally would not even come up in your mind. As long as they distract you from your thesis work. And that thesis work starts to look monstrous from that moment on, growing larger and larger the longer you leave it alone...
This is where all the ‘How To’-guides fail you. You first have to regain the spirit, the confidence, the energy and the desire to make it into a success. This is where you need to be in charge of both your project and yourself. And only after that all the ‘How To’-guides are useful again for you as only then you will be able to go over them and find the things you need, that are appropriate for you, in your situation, to further work on your thesis project and finalize it.
“Why didn’t anyone tell me earlier about thesis projects in the way Alexander does?
Initially I endlessly discussed with my supervisor about the ‘correctness of the research question’ without moving any step further. I had the feeling my supervisor did not understand any of my real concerns about the project and kept focusing on what she considered important.
In this course I realized a thesis project is ‘just another project’ in which you follow a few basic systematic steps. These allow you to put all your creativity and ‘wild’ ideas into the project in such a way that others understand it and can use the results. Instead of feeling imprisoned by the project, I now feel all the freedom in the world; it has become my project.
Now I can put all my energy in my project, it does not leak away anymore in the earlier ‘right or wrong’ discussions with my supervisor. Now that I oversee the project, know where I am going, know what I want to do, these discussions seem small issues to me that can be solved easily. While earlier I had the idea that every time I met my supervisor I had to completely redo my whole project setup. I am very happy now!”
This course is intended for any kind of thesis work, alone or in a group. For instance for a university student heading for a final thesis project, or, for instance, for an MBA student at a commercial business school who, either as red line throughout the curriculum, or as a final stand alone project, has to produce a thesis report.
This course is intended for any kind of thesis approach, such as theory based, research based, design oriented, problem solving, having strong ties to daily practice, or, most likely, a combination of these. The topic of the thesis can be about anything.
This course is intended for students who first, of course, want to finalize their thesis project in a nice and enjoyable way, but, are also interested in developing themselves through this project into better professionals through developing, among others, their project management skills and their leadership skills. In other words, this course is intended for people who are also interested in preparing themselves for their professional lives after their graduation.
Content of the course
This on line course “Finalizing your these project” is organized in 6 modules. Every module contains material such as videos, exercises, quizzes, practical application guides, reflection on ‘common traps and mistakes’, etc., for approximately 8 hours of work. These 8 hours pay off directly for your thesis as you will work immediately with your project and apply it to your thesis. Your project moves forward already during these 8 hours.
The first module is for free, after which you can decide to buy the rest of the course or not.
Your preparation for your thesis project
So far in your studies you have been a bit like a sheep in a student flock herded by teachers in a different directions. Never before your thesis project you have experienced such an opportunity to stand out of the crowd and show the world what you are capable of. Your thesis is your project. You can own it. You can lead it. You can, believe it or not, determine yourself what you do, when you do it and how you do it. In your thesis project you can combine all the ‘beauty’ in your student life, the things you love to do, the things you are highly motivated to change or achieve, the people you like, the knowledge you gained, the things you are good at, and so on. The challenge is to combine all these and make them ingredients for your thesis project.
Furthermore, we go over what you need to get started. What are your goals in addition to finishing your thesis project? What do you need to stay productive? What do you need from yourself? And what do you need from others, like your committee, your friends, your fellow students or colleagues, your family?
Busting myths and ‘horror stories’ about thesis projects
You will probably have heard negative stories about thesis projects. Even worse, it are always the bad stories we remember, so chances are your perspective on a thesis project is not that positive at the moment… The stories people tell each other, are pretty much the same over time. We want to a create a realistic context in which you carry out your thesis work, which means that we want to go over the most common stories that are going around and in each case determine what truth there is to them. And if we can’t bust them as myths completely, we will describe ways to deal with what remains. It will show you that a thesis project is not such a big deal as you currently might think.
Creating your team around you for your thesis project
Until now, you have prepared yourself very well for your thesis, but the people around you are not yet in that ‘thesis mode’ as you are. Time to form the team around you. Traditionally, you need a professor, you need supervisors and probably external supervisors or a client. But you also need other people. You might need teachers or professors you admire, that can motivate you or whom have expertise and skills that you need for your project. You might need fellow students to help each other out. You might need your friends in a slightly different way now during your thesis project. You will have a different role in your family during your thesis project. You might ask different favours from your parents. And so on. All in all, you need to prepare a full team around you that makes it possible for you to finalize your thesis project in a good way.
Developing your leadership style and leading your thesis project.
In your thesis project, to our opinion, it is possible to finally do something you want to do, in your way and at your time. At the moment, this might be something you do not believe, which is the reason why we address the idea that ‘everything during a thesis project is determined by the professor or the committee’ as a myth to be busted in module 2. Supervisors and all other committee members combine different roles, such as guidance, providing knowledge, expertise and skills, but also deciding and judging. This combination of roles is an interesting one and we can see why this combination of roles can lead to the myth that ‘the committee determines everything’. However, to make it your project (and this is true for all projects in your life, not only this one), you need to identify the possibilities where you can lead and take those opportunities. Committee members might be the boss, meaning, they might have the decision making power and the judging power, however, that does not necessarily make them the leader of your project. You need to find your way of leading your project in the direction you want it to go, despite the roles the committee members have.
In addition, leading your project also means that you have to be the leader of the full team of people around you, not only the committee, but also your fellow students, your friends, your colleagues and your family. You don’t have to be bossy of course, but you need to lead them in order to make your team really a team that supports your project. They, for instance, would otherwise have no idea what they can contribute, even if they wanted to.
Of course we also cover the essentials of an (academic) research thesis project in detail, so you have a good conceptual understanding of all the elements. Putting this in practice, is precisely to which you will apply your leadership style.
Finding your way to deal with unavoidable setbacks during your thesis project
Of the few hundred thesis project that we have supervised over the years we can recall only a few, two or so, that have run perfectly smooth, nothing happening, no ‘motivation dip’, no distraction, no problems. In other words, ‘stuff’ is going to happen. It is part of a thesis project. There will be setbacks. What matter is that you are able to deal with them.
In most parts of life ‘being lucky’ means ‘being prepared and taking the opportunities that pass by’. This applies to a thesis project just as well as to anything else you might encounter in your professional or private life.
In this module we help you to be prepared for setbacks. When they strike, it might be a little harder for you, but you will be able to continue working towards the finalization of your project. It is better finding a way to deal with it than getting knocked out, blaming the world and waiting for it to become better. Needless to say that knowing yourself well enough so you found out how you deal with setbacks pays off in the rest of your life for anything that might strike you in the future.
Envisioning the final steps of your thesis work and looking to the future
Projects in general, but especially thesis project, tend to extent in time. For two reasons. The first is that when you research or design something there is always a way to elaborate and make things better. The second reason is that students often have the feeling that they have to continue working until somebody, such as the professor or another committee member, tells them it is enough and they can prepare their defense and graduation.
Finalizing projects is an art as such. Something you can learn. You are the one who can take the initiative to demarcate your project, set time lines, schedules and make plannings to share with your committee or team. Compare to a bicycle race, in which every team has these highly specialized professional race ‘finalizers’. They are called ‘sprinters’. And when everyone is worn out after a long race, they have to perform at their best. Their job is to finalize. And to win. And for sure they have elaborate ways to prepare for that.
And so have you. In this module we help you to find your way of staying in charge of your time planning and finding out your opportunities to finish your project in an acceptable time frame.
And when you have, you need to prepare for what in your school or university is needed to graduate. Many times this includes a presentation of your work to a small audience or a session in which you have to defend your work. Also for this, you can prepare very well so you feel much more confident.
And when everything is said and done? Well, many more projects will follow, all having characteristics that will appear very alike to what you just experienced over the last months during your thesis project. It is worthwhile reflecting on these experiences and we will help you to draw lessons and conclusions that you will benefit from for the rest of your life.
For those who find is useful to have something physical to read in addition to on line material, there is a physical book available covering the content of this on-line course.
Pick the course option that fits you best
There are three different options to attend this on-line course. As a stand alone, self paced course, as a self paced course with feedback on your work for each module, and, as a ‘private teacher’ variant customized to your personal agenda and needs including feedback and personal contact via email, telephone, Skype or in real life when possible.
Option 1 - Stand alone, self paced
Unlimited access to all course material on our platform
Price: 75 Euro ex V.A.T. (90,75 Euro including V.A.T.)
Option 2 - Self paced including personal feedback on your work per module
Unlimited access to all course material on our platform
Once per module personal written feedback on your worked out exercises
Price: 625 Euro ex V.A.T. (756,25 Euro including V.A.T.)
Option 3 - Customized to your agenda including personal contact and supervision
Unlimited access to all course material on our platform
Per module personal written feedback on your worked out exercises
Personal supervision where needed via email, telephone, Skype or in real life
Price: 3750 Euro ex V.A.T. (4537,50 Euro including V.A.T.)