The Post-Referendum World: The View From Maastricht, Boston, and Suffolk (Part 1/3)

On Wednesday 6 July, Suffolk Business School and University Campus Suffolk welcomed our partners from Europe and the USA to our Ipswich Campus. Dr Stuart Dixon, Academic Coordinator Global MBA Programs at the Maastricht School of Management, and Mike Barretti, International Marketing at Suffolk University, Boston US, joined our very own Dr Tom Vine, Course Leader EMBA and MBA, to deliver an Executive MBA Mini-Masterclass on:  The Post-Referendum World: The View From Boston, Maastricht and Suffolk.

2016-07-06 15.38.16
From left to right: Mike Barretti (Boston), Dr Stuart Dixon (Maastricht), Dr Tom Vine (Suffolk), and Stuart Bannerman (Director of International, UCS)

In this, the first in a three part blog series, Dr Stuart Dixon explains the reaction of ‘Brexit’ from point of view of Maastricht and the Netherlands:

On the days running up to the Referendum, and every day since, it has been on the news, with predictions and consequences. The people of the Netherlands are both concerned and very interested, with many asking ‘how has this happened?’

One of the major questions has been why a referendum was called on such a complex issue – voting to leave the EU should not be such a black and white decision, and calling a Referendum does not allow you to negotiate. In business, if you are looking to make a deal, you do not go for all or nothing. There is a period of consultation, of give and take.

In the Netherlands, there is a general sense of shock that just 2% of the population have forced a decision for everyone. There is an assumption for such big issues that there should be a two-thirds majority vote before it goes to the House.

The Netherlands is a trading nation, with a large percentage of its GDP tied up in imports and exports, and the Referendum has raised concerns as the UK is a big trading partner. The Dutch, British, and Scandinavians work together a lot, especially within politics. The Dutch, however, are a small entity within the EU, and have not led many conversations, instead supporting the UK. So what happens next for us? How do we start political discussions, and who will we now ally with?

The ‘Brexit’ could be a positive force for the Netherlands – business is conducted in English, and we could be a viable alternative for foreign investment. We have good infrastructure and communication links.

But overall, there is a general feeling of instability in Europe as a whole. More than anything, ‘Brexit’ has demonstrated the difficulties and complexities involved in allowing something as important as the ‘in/out’ debate for the EU go to a Referendum – it’s very dangerous. For now, we need to work towards economic and political stability, not just for the Netherlands of the UK, but for the whole of Europe.

For more information on the Suffolk Business School MBA and Maastricht-Suffolk Executive MBA, email us at

The Executive MBA is a new programme for the University of Suffolk in partnership with the Maastricht School of Management (MSM). This is a part-time flexible, modular course designed for professionals with 8 weeks of teaching across two years shared between Maastricht and Suffolk with an option for one placement in Boston (US). At the end of 24 months graduates receive their EMBA from the prestigious Maastricht School of Management.

The next EMBA Mini Masterclass will be discussing Leadership in an Uncertain World and will be held on 1 August 2016 6pm to 7:30pm at the Waterfront Building Boardroom, University of Suffolk. All are welcome, and to register interest please do not hesitate to email Laura Messer: or call on 01473 338616.


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