For many students, writing the thesis is a stressful task, with the proper organization being preached as paramount. However, this Monday, final year students preparing to write their thesis next semester stumbled into this stress prematurely. Improperly organized by IE, the sign-up phase of thesis topics was transformed from a first-come-first-serve basis into an agitating shit-show, as the online platform shut down during the signup.

Problems first arose when false information was distributed by an email from the BBA office, sent on October 30th. It claimed the platform would open on Sunday at midnight. After students spent the night unsuccessfully attempting to enroll, a ‘clarification’ email was sent the following morning. It made a weak attempt at apologizing for the “the misunderstanding” relaying the correct enrollment time as being midday (12:00) of Monday.

After a stressful night, students again attempted to enroll, now at the correct time on Monday. However, they found themselves greeted by a new problem: signing into the enrollment platform was not possible. Attempts to refresh the webpage, use various browsers, and change internet connections all proved fruitless. It became apparent that the problem lay within the IE platform; its website not being able to handle the ‘surge’ of requests, stemming from at most a few hundred students.

At this point, there are several endings to this debacle. Some students eventually managed to gain access to the platform, and fight their way through the enrollment. They, however, commented on the terrible layout of the topic selection field, with titles such as “Topics in Equity Valuation and Sustainable Finance” being compressed into a checkbox with the incomplete name. This led to confusion, given the list encompassed 41 different options. In addition, topics with several available professors, such as the “Business Plan”, had a separate menu for selecting the desired professor. The menu was ill-designed, with students having now signed up for theses without having chosen their desired professor.

The original email sent by the BBA Office to BBA students on October 30th.

Students simply found themselves to be out of luck, having lost their desired slot in a certain topic. “I had wanted to do a thesis in Strategy and Marketing with Prof. Millan, however by the time I could first get online all the spots were gone. This took me over an hour, and now I have to come up with a new topic,” David Gonzalez Ortiz, a fifth-year BBABIR student from Mexico, describes his experience.

Other students demonstrated the entrepreneurial mindset IE advocates, by gathering thesis preferences from classmates and sending compiled lists to the BBA office. This was a response accepted by the office after the class delegates had reached out to them. According to a BBA-BIR class, the office’s initial response had been “100 students have already enrolled”, an attempt to redirect blame which was neither helpful nor motivating.

However, this situation did not play out as kindly for other students. Those currently on exchange found themselves in a tight spot, as neither constantly refreshing the enrollment platform, nor contacting IE offices are necessarily given options when at work, especially if you find yourself in a different time zone altogether. 

As of writing, there has been no official response by the BBA Office as to the resolution of various problems that arose during the enrollment process.