Hans van der Ploeg

Nationality: Dutch
Age: 36
Job title: Director Debt Capital Markets at Rabobank
Previous degree and university: MSc in Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Organisation Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam

Hans moved back to Amsterdam in 2019 with his wife and one-year-old daughter, after spending a few years in London. He likes spending time with family and friends. He’s also into several sports activities, including cycling, running, field hockey, skiing, and golf.

Hans van der Ploeg

1. Why did you decide to join RSM’s Executive MBA?

“I spent over a decade in the financial industry. In finance you tend to focus on numbers, and I felt it was time to broaden my scope, and learn more about marketing, strategy and organisational behaviour. Also, I worked abroad for a while and enjoyed connecting with international people. The RSM EMBA is a very internationally oriented programme, and the most renowned EMBA in the Netherlands.”

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

“My job is demanding, I have a family at home, and I’m currently moving house too. So it’s key to develop time management skills, plan ahead and set priorities. I focus on my job in the daytime, and in the weekends and free time I focus on my family and the MBA. I discussed it with both my wife and at work before the experience, and they support me and help me out in making time to do this.”

3. How did you experience studying for your MBA during the Covid-19 pandemic?

“The online classes’ content is similar to our in-class learning. This part is great. But you also need to learn from fellow students. It took some time before everyone was adjusted to the new reality. We managed via all the media possibilities. It’s great to see how flexible people can be.”  

4. How is the EMBA experience affecting your tasks at work?

“Due to the variety of courses and related assignments it forces me to think and learn about my organisation in a broader scope. This gives me new perspectives into my company, how it is set up, how I behave in my team and how this impacts the people around me. At work, everyone has a financial background. In the EMBA, I learn new ways of working in a team through group assignments with people from different cultural and educational backgrounds. It gives me new experiences and perspectives on how to approach issues and projects I have to complete.”

5. How has the Personal Leadership Development programme (PLD) affected you?

“This is one of the reasons I chose this MBA. Learning is not only about gaining intelligence on content, but also on self-awareness. This is very important. The PLD focuses on what kind of leader you want to be in the future. It makes you explore who you are, what you value in life and work, and gives you the right tools to develop yourself as well as others.”

6. What did you learn and experience which you would not have without the pandemic?

“We’re not physically together but we’re all in the same situation, which actually brings us closer when working together. Everyone is coping with the challenges as best as possible. I learned that you have to be open-minded to others and have a renewed human approach to life that was brought forward by this pandemic. My experience is that people are more understanding and compassionate.”

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

“You look at a problem the way you do because you were brought up in a certain culture and learned specific knowledge in specialised university programmes. Learning to deal with these differences is the most valuable experience in the EMBA. In the first term I was working with classmates from China, Russia and India, all with different educational backgrounds and perspectives. Working in such a team on group projects can be challenging at times but you learn so much from it.”  

8. How do you hope the RSM MBA helps you to be a force for positive change?

“It’s easy to go on and on and on, and hardly ever stop. The EMBA makes you reflect on what you’re doing and see how you can do it differently before moving forward. It’s very helpful. My organisation is for example very engaged in sustainable finance. EMBA makes me think about how I can contribute and help my clients think about this too.”

9. After the Executive MBA, what does the future hold?

“I don’t have an exact job in mind, but the EMBA helps me develop a clear view on what type of leader I want to be. Also, this experience helps me to further develop my technical as well as inter-personal skills. In the future I hope to combine it all as it is my ambition to lead and contribute to a successful team where there is room for personal growth, collaboration and fun. That’s what I want to achieve.”