Minor-E-business and Online commerce

Minor E-business and Online commerce
By Lucas Baurichter

I chose the minor E-business and Online commerce and came to regret it. This minor taught me very little I did not already know, and did not provide me the challenge I sought. I understand that a minor cannot have too much content but a lot of the things I learned were things that are readily available on the internet.

I would not recommend this minor to the average econometric student. Most of the subjects are more related to marketing rather than economics. For these subjects the study material consists mostly of papers about current commercial trends such as gamification and customer experience. These are interesting in their own right, but do not really have a lot of material to dive into. Only one course, supply chain models, covers a few mathematical optimization problems such as the newsvendor problem. Since this minor is available for the entire faculty of business and economics, the math of this course is sadly not very complex. Furthermore, big data and machine learning are briefly mentioned as buzzwords but not explained in any detail. I personally enjoy the advanced mathematics taught in econometrics and I found the material of this minor to be far from it. 

Besides that, a great deal of assessments are given through group reports and presentations. This can pose a problem if you don’t know anyone in the same minor. Since these group assignments are weekly and start immediately, communication and teamwork are key.  The group presentations are held in front of the entire class and attendance is mandatory since you must give feedback on the presentations of other groups.

In the first week of the first course, we were told to work in groups on a report and a presentation, both of which were due the same week. However, the teamwork aspect did not really work out, as I was only able to contact one teammate two days into the week. We both realized we wouldn’t be done in time so we emailed the corresponding professor and asked if we could postpone the assignments. He told us to figure it out ourselves and to spend less time writing long emails since that is not typical in business. So, we handed in our rushed report and nervously presented it in front of the class. This was not the most inviting welcome back to the VU after a year and a half of digital lectures, as you can imagine.

For me the most relevant part of this course was an experience of the lesser parts of corporate life that may await me: unresponsive teammates, impolite teachers, and writing reports that will never see the light of day.  I am proud that I can put this minor on my resume, but I would have liked more of a challenge and a feeling of cohesion in the minor, both from teachers and students alike.

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