Alumni Success Story - Kay van der Vleuten

Alumni Success Story - Kay van der Vleuten

"Do get involved, join events, network, and look around in your own environment to explore what fits you."

Kay van der Vleuten graduated from the Master in Strategic Management in 2016 and from the Master in Finance & Investments in 2017 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Current job: Strategy consultant (KPMG – Strategy & Operations, corporate clients) and strategic marketing freelancer (owner of Kaymade)

Age: 24

Nationality: Dutch

Why did you decide to do this MSc at RSM?

After finishing my BSc in Tilburg and Buenos Aires I was ready for a new journey. I knew that most firms I was interested in joining were focusing their recruitment on Amsterdam and Rotterdam. That, and RSM’s amazing rankings and good feedback from friends, made it an easy decision. I’ve never had any regrets.

How did you decide what you wanted to do after your studies?

I enjoyed the MSc Strategic Management and knew I wanted to pursue a strategic consulting career. But I missed the numbers and analytics in SM, which is why I continued with MSc Finance & Investments. I got more and more involved in the financial world and triggered by M&A. It took me until the offer for a wholesale banking traineeship to realise again that I actually wanted to continue in strategy. I decided not to join a corporate firm but start my own business instead. I started my own firm and helped SMEs and start-ups setting up, and launching and improving their business from a strategic marketing perspective. But I started missing being part of a group, learning from others and focusing on my own development and the bigger picture. Now I’ve found the perfect fit: being a consultant at KPMG allows me to get a steep learning curve, making a strategic and analytical difference for companies worldwide, while I still have the chance to be entrepreneurial, stimulate my creative thinking and enjoy my freedom on a part-time basis as a freelancer. It’s the best of both worlds.

Has RSM helped you with your performance in your current job?

Yes! MSc Strategic Management is not about learning theories, it’s about developing a certain mindset. This strategic thinking can be applied in any job. Adding MSc Finance & Investments to this really helped me to further develop my analytical thinking and accelerate my practical tool skills. More importantly, nowadays this combination assures that whatever strategy I might consider, I never forget about the business rationale behind and can support it by using my economic sense.

Based on your experience in the job market, what advice would you give to students doing their master now?

“Don’t get too much ‘stuck’ in the world of big corporate firms. But do get involved, join events, network, and look around in your own environment to explore what fits you. And most of all, take a good look in the mirror every now and then to reflect. Try to stay as close as possible to what you believe is the right thing to pursue, rather than what everybody else around you is either doing or expecting from you.

What was your favourite course in your master?

“My favourite courses were ‘Managing innovation with alliances and acquisitions’ and ‘Organisational identity: managing strategic change and company image’. And my I WILL statement is: “I will never give less than my 100%” Even though I believe I’m still living up to this on a daily basis, don’t forget to pick your peaks and most of all, try to enjoy your journey to the fullest.”