Inés Dekker

Inés Dekker

Nationality: Dutch 
Age: 35 
Currently: CEO, Bodégro, the Netherlands

At a certain moment, all the elements come together and you can position yourself to see every aspect of doing business. You see how it is integrated, and can consider everything from different views; from an employee’s perspective, from a business leader’s perspective, from that of a supplier or a competitor – and that’s really important. When the CEO can see the whole business from every angle, and from several viewpoints, it gives the company a competitive advantage.

Two and a half years ago I was appointed as CEO for Bodégro, a company that develops software for laboratories. It’s a niche market where both laboratory domain and IT knowledge are essential to be successful. Our product can be interfaced with just about every instrument in a laboratory or corporate system. I’m keen to anticipate new developments such as molecular diagnostic applications to identify specific bacteria and viruses. At the moment we operate mainly in hospitals and only in the Netherlands and Belgium. Our ambition is to expand across Europe and to move into biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

I was appointed as CEO here after working for several years as a management consultant, and before that as an IT consultant. I started my career with a bachelor degree in organic chemistry and a master’s degree in information systems development. In the past I have also worked in local politics as a councillor in addition to my career; it meant contributing to the local society and in return I received valuable experience and a great deal of positive energy.

Our company is small, so it’s like working together in a team. It has been growing since I joined and will continue to grow. I wanted to study for an MBA because I wanted to know how to handle and achieve best the growth of Bodégro. I also wanted to become more effective as a leader, build more confidence, handle other management tools, and I needed to learn about finance. 

I’m surprised how much of my studies I can bring in to my work to give more direction in my thinking. The EMBA gives me ideas and inspiration. Sometimes it confirms and reinforces the way I am already working. The bonus is having the theories – motivational theory, about working in teams or organisational behaviour – to apply in these situations.

I have learned a lot in the managerial accounting course about income and balance sheets, so now I’m much more comfortable with financial information. And I have learned that you really have to understand all of this information yourself because your accountant doesn’t always know exactly how your business works.

Bodégro used the business development methods to analyse our software products and its usage by one of our customers. It was really good to be able to establish what kind of functionality they find useful. And I used the decision tree process from our management science course to make an important decision about renting an additional floor space. It provided a framework for our management team to consider the issues more objectively. We realised it was a common sense decision – of course we should expand – but it’s easy to be distracted by other issues when considering your decision. 

The Personal Leadership Development thread (PLD) is great. It’s good to continuously think about what you do and why you do it, and to consider your strengths and weaknesses. I think it is making me into a leader.

The EMBA programme provides a safe environment to talk with other students about the kind of challenges I’m facing as a CEO, that’s something I didn’t have before. 

There’s still a year and a half of the programme to go before graduation in December 2012, but what I already really like about the EMBA programme – and this came as a surprise to me – is the broad integration of every aspect of business. If you are in the same phase of your career as me, there are really interesting elements. At a certain moment, they all come together and you can position yourself to see every aspect of doing business. You see how it is integrated, and can consider everything from different views; from an employee’s perspective, from a business leader’s perspective, from that of a supplier or a competitor – and that’s really important. When the CEO can see the whole business from every angle, and from several viewpoints, it gives the company a competitive advantage.