Steven de Prekel

Steven de Prekel

Nationality: Belgian
Age: 31

Job title: Management Consultant at BearingPoint

Previous degree: Postgraduate degree in Business Administration, KU Leuven, Belgium

1. How did you come across the Executive MBA?

It was not long after graduation that I considered doing an MBA, but it’s only since last year that I’m confident to have the proper background and maturity to enrol. The Executive MBA allows a full-time job to go hand in hand with studying, so that was the formula I looked at. I researched different EMBA programmes in the Benelux, but after I attended an EMBA class of Corporate Finance at RSM, I was sold immediately. Also, RSM was highly ranked and had the most international participants and faculty of all, which was important to me as well.

2. How are you managing to balance studying with work?

It’s tricky. In my current role as a consultant, I don’t have regular working hours. I often work around 60 hours per week and the EMBA takes up another 20 hours a week. It’s a hard combination, but somehow you just do it. Also thanks to the atmosphere among the students: we face the same challenges and we help each other through. As I said, somehow it always works out.

3. Is having an MBA common in your organisation?

Not really. Although it’s not uncommon in a consulting environment, the crisis has hit every industry and companies tend to sponsor less. I’m happy to get my company’s support in terms of flexibility in working schedule in order to prepare and study for the EMBA at regular times.

4. Have you been able to immediately incorporate your learning into practice?

The learning experience comes in different shapes and forms. Even if you don’t immediately apply all theory immediately in your day-to-day job, it remains a fascinating curve of growth in terms of maturity, overall business knowledge and confidence. With the EMBA you get immerged into all domains of business both broadly and deeply, which truly added value for me – delivering management advice on different topics – as of the very first day.

5. What is your contact like with others on the course?

Because of the intense team work, my team members and I have developed true friendships within a few weeks. A key success factor is to make proper arrangements. There is mutual respect for each other’s time, availability and private life. If there’s a period that someone is too busy, the others are more than willing to back that person up. Most of the people also have great fun at the bar of the Novotel, which is next door to RSM, on Friday evenings.

6. How have you found RSM’s four themes expressed through the EMBA?

  • Sustainability – Let’s think broader than environmental sustainability here. RSM truly develops a broad solid basis with its students to build on for the rest of their careers and private lives.
  • Innovation – In everyday life, you need to innovate. Innovation is everywhere around us and it’s an integral part of most EMBA courses.
  • Critical Thinking – This is one of the success factors of the EMBA. Since we’re in a group of high-performing professionals, we’re triggered to challenge everything and everyone, even the professors. Class participation is extremely important, so we need to get involved and constantly be sharp.
  • Spirit – RSM makes a lot of effort to involve the students, not only into the curriculum, but also the engagement with each other. You clearly experience this throughout the year and especially during the study courses to Johannesburg and Hong Kong.

7. What has been the best part of the EMBA so far?

For me, there is no such thing as “the best part”. It’s the complete picture that makes it a wonderful experience, shaping both your professional and private life. Each experience is different and challenging and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

8. What do you envisage for the future?

I thought I knew what I wanted to do in life, but already after only a few months in the EMBA, I wasn’t that sure anymore. You learn so much and meet so many new people that your interests change as well. I’ve always been triggered by one of Steve Job’s quotes: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Well, the EMBA has taught me this as well. There are many great opportunities out there. Sometimes you just have to stay hungry for whatever there might be around the corner, open to explore the unknown.