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Master thesis series: A good thesis is a mix of a company to cooperate with, your own interest, and literature on the topic

Date:24 June 2022
Julia Kremer
Julia Kremer

Choosing a topic, putting data together and writing your thesis is an exciting but also somewhat scary process. In Campus Fryslân Master thesis series learn what is good and what is challenging, and simply get to know a variety of exciting thesis ideas.
Julia Kremer from Sustainable Entrepreneurship programme is writing about circular business models as a part, which may also serve as a marketing research for her future startup. Learn more about it!

Topic: Customer adoption towards circular business models

Favorite snack: Tony Chocolonely (for the soul) and rice cakes (to constantly stress eat without worrying too much about the calories)

Playlist: No music, just a quiet environment

Place: A quiet study area, for instance in Tresor library, a study room at uni or at home

What is your thesis about?

I’m doing some research on how customers are going to adapt to circular business models and what determinants forster their adaptation. The research is based on a small business, a startup, on which we started working during the Startup Academy, one of the courses within the programme. So what psychological factors are important. What do you really value and subsequently what might increase your adaptability to the business model. Is it the functionality or your positive attitude towards it? Or are you just super hyped on sustainability?

What motivated you to choose this topic?

I am in the process of founding a startup with some friends and this is also an opportunity for us to do some market research to develop a good marketing strategy, but I’m also really interested in circular economy and business models in general, so I thought it would be a great combination and it is a great opportunity that we can do it in this Master. It is great to use this space and time to do something useful, oriented towards your future, it’s not just about passing the course. 

Some tips on how to choose your thesis topic

People who start this Master are usually interested in a lot of different things… But I would say first of all try to find an organization, which you find interesting but also in which you would potentially like to work later. Just consider prospective internships or a job offer. But then also make sure it is something that interests you because you will work on it a lot. Also be open to change the topic according to the literature available, because sometimes you have a nice topic but it is already super explored so it wouldn’t be feasible, or on the contrary, you are onto something, but you don’t find literature at all and then it is also not great of course. Maybe you worked already in an organization or you will find an organization which provides you with a nice problem to solve. Just be proactive and ask.
All in all the recipe of success for me is a good mix of an organization, your own interest and literature on the topic.

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What is the hardest part about the whole process? 

Do not underestimate the amount of work you need to put into it. For example if you do a qualitative analysis it takes a lot of time to organize the interviews, to carry them out, to read the literature. Or if you are doing quantitative then you may need to go over it not only once but 5 and more times, so plan a lot of buffers for it, time management is key.

What is the best part about writing a thesis?

For me it’s working together with friends. So sometimes you are here in the Beurs in a study room with four people and all of you are working on their thesis and then one person is popping a question in the room, like “Have you ever heard about this?”. Or just asking a question they’d like to hear your opinion about. And then you get different feedback from different people, since other people are not into the topic, they can see it with fresh eyes. And it is also vice versa of course, that you have an opportunity to get a glimpse into completely different topics. I am doing something about furniture in a circular economy and now I can learn something about emission trading or hydrogen for instance. 

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What curious facts, notions or findings did you come across while writing?

For my thesis I did a survey and it was really interesting to see that even if respondents didn’t have a high income they indicated they would be willing to pay more if it is a sustainable option. I didn’t expect that, especially since my target audience are students.

Share your overall experience writing a thesis

I really like how it’s organized here! So you do the first draft within the Research methods course, where you are really pushed to go over the first chapters and to already hand in something. Because besides the classes of the third block there is not too much time. However, It is really useful because you don’t feel left alone, you don’t have time to procrastinate and you already get some feedback on it. So you write an introduction, a little literature research and methods partly in that class, and afterwards in the last block you finalize the methods, you do the survey or interviews, analysis and write discussion and conclusion.
My experience was very good because I could really just focus on the research. Maybe I have underestimated a little bit that you really have to be disciplined and you have to go to the library in the morning to concentrate on your thesis if you don’t have classes anymore. In your mind it’s like you have so much time, but you really don’t. Hence that’s maybe also a good tip - to plan in tiny baby steps, because you really have to think about them!