Tjeerd Kerkhoven

Tjeerd Kerkhoven

Programme/year: OneMBA14
Nationality: Dutch
Job title: Project Engineering Manager
Company: Fluor
Age: 42

 

 

"I’m broadening my experience, knowledge and insights that I can use in the future to look for other opportunities in the global market. I’m working in a project team for construction projects now, but I’d like to go more to the business side of it. That’s where the OneMBA comes in really well."

Is the MBA a well-known degree in your company?

The OneMBA isn’t well known, but RSM is. I have two colleagues who did the Executive MBA a few years ago that I know of. A few others are also considering RSM’s MBA programmes.

How is the OneMBA impacting your current work at Fluor?

It’s not changing much yet, but personally it gives me more perspective of what’s happening. I’m more sensitive to organisational and personal dynamics. The part of the course in which we talk about multiple cultures and organisations gives me more background information. Learning how people work and interact is an interesting experience.

As a self-funding programme participant, what is the Return on Investment (ROI) you expect from the OneMBA?

I’m broadening my experience, knowledge and insights that I can use in the future to look for other opportunities in the global market. I’m working in project team for construction projects now, but I’d like to go more to the business side of it. That’s where the OneMBA comes in really well.

What expectations do you and your employer have about how your OneMBA will benefit the company?

The OneMBA is teaching me how business is done worldwide. It will benefit my company, as it works on a global scale. The challenges we’re facing are part of the programme, so I can incorporate it in my company. The OneMBA increases my value.

How has the OneMBA impacted your professional life so far? Is it true that you get immediate applicable knowledge?

Yes. There were parts that brought my attention. Through the programme I got more focused: I see things happening and I can interject before it happens. I can experiment and link challenges to the theory we learned in the OneMBA. I have more insight on why things are happening, which helps when resolving issues.

Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?

People from all over the world are in our class, all acting differently professionally and personally. Having an open mind forces us to respect each other and work things out as a team. We work together closely and if there’s a conflict, we work it out. During one particular project, I noticed that the Chinese focused on detail, the Dutch discussed everything first, and the Americans acted quickly. This brought interesting dynamics in the team. We were very happy with the end results. I think we should make use of these differences. It balances out really well.

With your very busy schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects that you are doing with an international team?

It’s tough, but doable. The time zones are a challenge. The only day to conveniently call is on Sundays. Sometimes your whole day is gone, but luckily my wife supports it. We also connect through What’s App and Dropbox to share files. We have a rigid schedule, but it worked out pretty well.

Have you enjoyed the Global Residencies so far?

The residency in Washington D.C. was a great introduction and the European residency was an enriching experience. The lectures were very relevant to what’s happening today – we looked at global changes, coming from a developing market to an emerging market, moving out of the industry era, into the innovation era. We also talked about the impact of migration and challenges in the future. I’m already looking forward to the next Global Residency in Mexico and seeing all my classmates again. Everything’s becoming more familiar.

RSM’s values (in education) include Sustainability, Innovation, Critical Thinking and Spirit. How have you found these values expressed through the OneMBA?

Sustainability: The OneMBA brought me to the next level or organising sustainability. I’d like to participate in the sustainability programme at my own company and bring it to the next level. We need to minimise our energy problems and become more environmentally conscious.

Innovation: We learned more about it in the European residency. I also expect to learn more about innovation in marketing later in the programme.

Critical thinking: In the last few assignments I had my own opinion about a few issues. This was positively received by the professor. It’s not just about the theory; it makes us think about the next step. The OneMBA is really triggering my thinking.

Spirit: RSM’s spirit drives the programme. We have a global community on this planet, so we’re all in this together. The programme is bringing the student groups together as one. It’s very inspiring and motivating.

What has been the best part of OneMBA for you so far?

It’s broadening my view and knowledge about how our whole world runs, particularly its business side. The programme challenges me in areas that haven’t been challenged enough before.

After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?

It’s hard to see what the future holds. I definitely want to use the knowledge that the experience has given me so far. Maybe I’ll start my own business ,or go into general management. I want to benefit my career. How it will develop? Well, I have another year to figure it out.