12973366_261402357533609_9173184326218966508_o

2015-16 MICM class on a field trip to Unilever R&D, Rotterdam

In September 2015, I began studying a part-time MICM (Master in International Communication Management) at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.  Every Tuesday, I attend classes from 9am-4pm, and I complete the coursework mostly in the evenings and weekends.  I also work at the same location 3 days a week, working in the IBMS (International Business & Management Studies) programme, teaching similar subjects to those I am studying.  I started teaching there as a freelancer in October 2014 and was keen to continue long term with this as a career – to gain a permanent teaching contract at a Dutch university, you must hold a Master’s, hence the motivation to get started.

I’d like to keep a record of my studies and share some of what I’m learning.  Below, I will copy the structure and content of the course, as shared on the The Hague University website.   As this may change in the future, this will be a good record of how it is offered at the time I have started.  The regular text is from the website, and the extra in italics and the dates are my own comments.

The study year in the Netherlands begins in September, thus the 2015-16 academic year.  Each module runs for 6 weeks.  Full time students do two modules simultaneously, I do one.  The part time attend classes with the full time students on a Tuesday, and there are currently about 35 students in total.  The full time students attend again on a Friday.  Attendance is compulsory for 80%.  No recognition is giving for prior learning and experience in terms of credits unfortunately, or I could have perhaps completed this in a much shorter time frame, as I am already teaching some of the same subjects in the Master’s.  That said however, it is a good experience to go through the entire programme as is.  As I write this, I am about a third of the way through my studies.  I plan on writing seperate blog posts on each of the topics soon.  -Renee


MICM Structure and content 2015-16

The Master in International Communication Management focuses on Corporate Communication, Internal Communication and Branding. The curriculum includes modules like Communication Research, Intercultural Communication, Media Relations, Social Media and Crisis Communication. In addition, you will be taught specific skills, consisting of several workshops on subjects including time management, writing and intercultural sensitivity.

Forms of teaching

The forms of teaching are varied and diverse: trainings, workshops, case studies and lectures form part of the programme. You will finish a module with a (reflection) report or an assignment. For the thesis project, you will find yourself a suitable client organisation and act as a communication consultant for that client.

Volume of study

The full-time programme lasts a year. You will attend courses 2 days per week. In addition, you will work independently or in groups and in total you should expect to invest forty hours per week. Full-time students work on several modules in parallel. For the part-time programme, you will attend courses 1 day per week. In this programme, you will study for approximately twenty hours per week, including the lessons. The course lasts for 2 years. The MICM program consists of the following courses:

Intercultural communication

In this course, you will focus on culture, cultural differences and cultural homogenization. You will improve your own intercultural communication and intercultural management skills. As an assignment, you will analyse the cultural differences within 1 international organisation and give recommendations about how these differences can be overcome.

I am yet to do this module, I will start in September 2016.  

Corporate reputation

You will study the main concepts of corporate communication and apply these to strategic issues for international organisations. This course includes topics such as corporate reputation, identity, image, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder relations and public affairs.

I completed this module in September/October 2016.  Our lecturer was Dr. Yijing Wang.  I achieved 8.2 in group work and 8.5 on the individual assignment, which I based on the social media strategy of IKEA and Bunnings in Australia

Internal communication

You will study the main processes and dynamics of internal communications in multicultural and international organisations. The main topics include organizational cultures, subcultures, corporate ethics, employee engagement, leadership and conflict management.

I completed this module in November/December 2015.  Our lecturer was Edwin Santbergen.  I achieved a 8 on group work and a 7.5 on my individual assignment (the WINQ vision for The Hague University)

Branding

You will develop a brand concept and learn how to evaluate brands on relevant criteria. This course focuses on internal and external branding, brand management and techniques for brand evaluation. You will analyse several brands and make recommendations for the branding strategy of an international organisation.

I am currently completing this module, which I followed from March-April 2016 with Joe Goldiamond as lecturer (who is also the MICM programme director).  My group is working on an assignment for Unilever on Magnum, with the goal of communicating more clearly with millennials.  For our other assignments, we wrote (brief) papers on Red Bull, Dove and Coca Cola.  

Implementation

This course covers the question how communication strategies and policies can be implemented in international organisations. Through practical exercises, you will learn about relationship building, management of engagement, making negotiations and strengthening your personal leadership skills.

I’m a little confused by this being on the website, I think it refers to the Professional Skills that we need to follow.  Each year, there are 5 Professional Skills courses offered, which run on both the Tuesday & Friday.  Attendance at five of these over 2 years is compulsory. So far, I have attended:

  • Communication Plan (taught by Zah Kahar)
  • Consulting Skills (taught by Rinze Terluin)
  • Emotional Intelligence (weekend at Duinrell, taught by Elizabeth Fitzgerald

I missed the one on Self Branding (Suzan Pecyna) unfortunately as my daughter was sick.  I’m about to do one for Storytelling

Communication research

The course on communication research focuses on modern applications of communication research, especially how to measure communication effects. Several quantitative and qualitative techniques will be discussed, such as media analysis, focus groups and internet surveys.

I will follow this module in January/February 2017, and it will be the final one before my thesis.

Media relations

You will learn about the international media environment, media relations strategies, the roles and values of journalists and techniques of spin doctors. The course will focus on ethical dilemma’s in media relations, and offers practical exercises in writing press releases, giving interviews and organizing press conferences.

I will be following this module in November/December 2016.

Social media

In this course, you will critically discuss the possibilities and drawbacks of social media. The course focuses on social network analysis, social media marketing, citizen journalism, co-creation and several business-to-business applications of social media. In the assignment, you will make an in depth evaluation of 1 these applications.

I will start this module later this month (May 2016) with Michael Koenka as lecturer. 

Crisis communication

You will learn about issue management, crisis prevention and effective communication during a crisis. During this course, a simulation about a real-life crisis will be held, in order to strengthen your skills in this field, and to enable you to reflect on the most effective crisis communication strategies.

I completed this module in January/February 2016 with a 8 for group work and a 9,5 for my individual assignment, which I based on the social media use of the Brisbane City Council and Moreton Bay Regional Councils in the 2011 Brisbane Floods.

Thesis

The final course of MICM is the thesis project. You will find your own client and serve them with valuable advice about a strategic international communication problem.

I am already thinking through ideas and organisations to base this on.  I’m keen to incorporate my interests and experiences in social media and education (particularly elearning) and likely to base it on The Hague University, as working and studying there gives me useful access to key information and contacts.  I’d still like to research and incorporate findings from other organisations, whether that be corporate or other educational institutions.  Initially I had considered instead looking at museums/cultural institutions and may still see if this is relevant as this is another area of interest – either way, I’m hoping my findings and thesis will be useful to apply in other fields, no matter which I choose.

So that’s where I am so far with my studies, I look forward to continuing to develop my knowledge and skills, and as always, really enjoy sharing this with others – I find that’s also a great way to continue to learn.  

-Renee

IMG_2735 IMG_2736