Irena Doets

Nationality: Dutch and French
Age: 31
Last job title: engineering manager at Boskalis
Previous degree: bachelor in civil engineering and master in hydraulic engineering from Delft University of Technology

1. What was the primary reason for you to choose doing an MBA at RSM?

“I had a specialised engineering role and was more interested in the broader aspect of the organisation, for example finance and strategy. I wanted more knowledge to grow in the organisation. RSM has a good reputation, and its mission to be a force for positive change resonated with me. I’m interested in sustainability and wanted to learn how businesses can create a better impact while remaining profitable. So it was a good match for me.”

2. How would you describe your RSM MBA experience so far?

“It has opened my eyes to the wider business world and exposed me to the diverse cultures in the cohort. Boskalis is an international firm, so I worked with many cultures already. But there are around 40 nationalities in the MBA, and everyone has diverse professional backgrounds too. This helped me broaden my perspectives and see problems from different angles. This is really useful when I work with people with different opinions in the future.”

3. What has been the most challenging assignment or course during the MBA?

“Financial management 1 was the most difficult as I had no financial background. The level was high and fast-paced, but I learned a lot. Oh, and time management was tough. We were flooded with assignments. You need to learn to prioritise, and plan your team assignments and individual assignments too.”

4. In what way has the Personal Leadership Development programme (PLD) affected you?

“It runs throughout the whole programme: the soft skills you need to develop as a leader. You reflect on your behaviour, your strong points and what you want to develop. We did small-scale experiments to put our new skills in practice right away in a safe environment. As we built on those skills throughout the year, you feel confident to put it into ‘real’ practice and they become natural.”

5. If you had to choose one Sustainable Development Goal, which one would you choose?

“Climate change (SDG13) is the most pressing now, because without a liveable planet there is nothing. It gets more and more attention in the news, and we can see the impact on our daily lives. Climate change solutions should also consider other SDGs such as supporting good health, reducing inequality, and enabling life on land and water. We also need to create a positive impact or at least eliminate negative impact on these. Fighting climate change is the most challenging SDG for companies right now. They need to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, and are finding their way in how to do that. It’s a nice challenge that our cohort will face when we enter the workforce again next year.”

6. Has your MBA journey changed your outlook on what your career will be like?

“I want to have a wider management role, not just in my engineering speciality. I want to be involved in developing sustainability strategies for companies. With the MBA, I now have a broad knowledge of how businesses work. I can take the financial, marketing and operations aspects into account. I have a more holistic and open view to new challenges.”

7. What advice could you give to people who are considering doing an MBA?

“If you want to move ahead in your career and not be involved in one speciality, then an MBA is a good step. You’ll be exposed to the wider business aspects, and learn more about different cultures. The MBA teaches you all that in a fast pace. If you’re open-minded to the different tasks that come along and people you will meet, then it’s a good foundation for your future.”