Preparation is everything! –What to look out for before getting started:
1) Start by either picking a topic that really interests you or by choosing a professor you really want to work with, otherwise you are bound to quickly lose any kind of motivation you might have had in the first place.
Your supervisor should obviously be an expert in the field of your interest and at least hold a master degree.
2) Discuss your supervisor’s holiday plans well in advance, for your own sake. (I hope that one day I will be able to forgive you, JHT)
3) Come up with a specific research question and a structure, ideally in cooperation with your supervisor.
4) Search for relevant literature & collect your required data using questionnaires, expert interviews and the likes.
5) Register your thesis with your study advisor. This should happen before April 29th, otherwise you will be given (!) another topic by the examination board.
6) Stock up on coffee and/ or energy drinks and frozen food and come up with a list of food delivery services because you will need them!
In the eye of the storm – things are becoming intense
7) Write like there is no tomorrow because you will have to come up with approximately 60 pages (plus/minus 10%).
8) Ask a fellow student or friend to proofread your work in progress and to give you advice is obviously a sensible option.
High Noon – Try not to freak out
9) Keep moving the deadlines you have set and curse yourself for procrastinating too much. Then start to dig into that energy drink stack which you have prepared in step 6 and pull late night shifts.
10) Repeat steps 7 – 8 until you are satisfied with your piece of work and your research question has been answered sufficiently.
11) Panic because the layout of your entire thesis becomes completely distorted one night before your thesis is due. –This is going to happen without any reason and you will never find an explanation for it, BUT IT WILL HAPPEN!
Both Eyes on the Finish Line
12) Rush to the copy shop of your trust and print three copies of your lovely work, which you will have to hand over to your study advisor.
13) Upload your master thesis in CLM for a plagiarism check. At this point you will become really paranoid because even though you will have probably cited everything correctly you will now begin to wonder “what if I haven’t…”
14) Turn in your thesis at the very last possible moment. Apparently students turning their thesis in 2 minutes before their deadline is not unheard of. However, that is advanced time management on a very professional level and can cause nervous breakdowns!
15) Enjoy the feeling of relief! -This awesome type of emotion comes in all shapes and sizes. However, you are most likely to have a big celebratory drink or two. Taking a celebratory nap is another popular option.
16) Have yourself a Kodak moment at the historical Paul’s Church when you receive your diploma and finally realize that you survived the thesis and can now call yourself a Master of Science in Management graduate.
Please note that other mishaps can happen during those three months of writing. However, no scientific research has been conducted on the correlation between the sudden increase of laptop break-downs and the writing of the master’s thesis at Frankfurt School and its influence on the IT industry. – Feel free to use this as your research question, just don’t forget to quote me. 🙂