Life as an Advanced Master Student at Solvay Lifelong Learning
If you’re about to graduate with a Master’s degree, an Advanced Master’s can be the most logical next step to further your qualifications and better prepare yourself for the job market. It’s also a chance to broaden your horizons and learn more about different sectors or areas of business - especially when you can follow a degree in a cosmopolitan city like Brussels, where you can dab into various cultures and their way of conducting business. Very importantly, you will also meet and connect to a variety of classmates and professors, each bringing different skills and insights - and fun! - to the table.
In our experience of providing executive and business programmes for the last 40+ years, the above are essential for a rewarding Advanced Master experience and a confident entry in the job market. So what does this journey practically translate into when you are an Advanced Masters student, what can you expect? Today we talk with Rita, Miguel, and Caroline from the AM programmes in Financial Markets and Innovation and Strategic Management to walk us through their lives as students at Solvay Lifelong Learning!
Question: First things first, what do classes and your schedule look like?
The year is organised in different terms/courses [over] 6 weeks. After these 6 weeks, you have exams for these courses. This enables you to focus on specific subjects and makes the learning process easier. The number of classes depends on each term. Each class takes 3 hours and normally you have 2 classes a day (one from 9:00 until 12:00 and one from 13:00 until 16:00). In the first term, the schedule was rather busy [while] now (the 3rd term), is a bit more relaxed and we have only 1 class a day most of the time. This free time allows us to start looking for a job and focusing on the application process. - Miguel (Advanced Master in Innovation & Strategic Management)
For the AM in Financial Markets, which foresees a 3-month internship, classes take place in the evening. Rita describes the schedule as “short but intensive” with classes that make it “perfect to conduct an internship or have a full-time job in parallel…
Normally we have 6 weeks of classes followed by 2 weeks of exams. Classes are held on campus on a daily basis from 6:00pm till 9:00pm. Sometimes we also have classes on Saturdays. So, it is challenging and requires dedication especially if you are doing an internship or working full-time. However, it is very interesting and rewarding on many levels.” - Rita (Advanced Master in Financial Markets)
Apart from their schedule, our students had a lot to say about the professors who make it all possible…
Q: What can you tell us about the professors of the school?
The professors are for me the most valuable aspect of Solvay. You cannot compare them with the professors you had at university or high school before. They all know how the theory is used in practice which enables them to tell real-life examples and give good advice to the students. Through their broad network of connections, they are able to invite interesting guest speakers who come to class to talk about a certain topic we discussed. -Miguel
The professors are all top-notch in their discipline and that's really a good thing because that makes them interesting. They are all kind and eager to share their knowledge! -Caroline
The professors are usually senior/top executives in their fields, which makes them specialists both on the technical side but also on the practical side and this is what makes this programme special. In terms of availability, they are usually very helpful, ready to answer any question and provide guidance when needed. -Rita
….as well as their classmates with who they share their journey with.
Q: Have you formed connections/ friendships with your classmates?
The group projects are valuable experiences as well as the open-minded spirit … I am really close with the international students. -Caroline
We see each other almost on a daily basis which creates a very unique bond. We have time to make connections and develop friendships. -Rita
Our class consists of 25 people so it’s a rather smaller group. This makes it easier to connect with everyone and a lot of friendships have resulted from this. We went to the Christmas market in Brussels, we organised a secret Santa dinner party at someone’s place, we go to grab drinks every 2 weeks, etc. Next to this, we’re a sporty class as well! Some of us go together running in Bois de la Cambre, while others go for a game of padel. This week, 4 people from our class went to play golf at a golf simulator in Brussels. We are really getting along with each other and having a great time! -Miguel
Q: What is your favourite part of the curriculum right now?
I am really looking forward to the capstone project. In these 6 weeks, we will have to act as consultants and help a company with a specific task/problem. This will enable us to transfer all the theories we learned into practice. Next to the capstone project, we will have a field trip abroad to visit world-leading companies and experience how it goes in real life. -Miguel
My favourite part was Finance because it was technical and very well taught. -Caroline
I like the fact that they let us have other activities aside from classes. It is a good opportunity to get closer to the other students, do some sports, and build our future. -Rita
Q: Last but not least, what is life on the Solbosch campus like?
Life on campus is great! During our lunch break, we often go to the student restaurant of the ULB with our class to have lunch. Here, you have many choices to eat: fresh pizza, Asian food, fresh sandwiches, or full meals from the restaurant (with veggie options of course!). So, enough choices for everyone! If you don’t fancy something from the ULB restaurants, you can of course take a walk to the area of Cimitière d’Ixelles and have lunch over there. -Miguel
Normally we go to the cafeteria to eat and I am doing sports inside the gymnasium…Apart from school I do volleyball around 4 times per week! -Caroline
Are you considering following an Advanced Master programme? We are always happy to have a chat with you, discuss the best options for your professional ambitions and, of course, welcome you to our next cohort!
‣ For all information on our programmes, more alumni testimonials, and contact information, see our webpage here.
‣ Meet our Advanced Masters team in person at one of the upcoming experience days.