Joost van Houten

Joost van Houten

Name                                    : Joost van Houten
Currently                             : travelling, but will start at McKinsey & Company
                                                 from October 2016
Year of graduation            : 2015
Nationality                          : Dutch

Why did you choose this MSc?
“From an early age I’ve been very interested in technological advancements and entrepreneurship, so this programme immediately grabbed my attention. I was keen to find out how the topics and skills learned in this MSc would help to significant innovations to the world. In addition, after RSM’s broad bachelor in International Business Administration I was ready for more specialisation into an exciting area that I could see myself working in later in life. Also I think this programme with its relatively small group of students is unique to RSM and the Netherlands.”    

How would you describe the programme and RSM?
“The programme has a stimulating mix of strategy, creativity and hands-on entrepreneurial issues. Its passionate and diverse group of professors and guest lecturers got me engaged and eager to discuss and challenge the topics of the lectures with them and my fellow students. This is facilitated by the small group size, which also ensured a close-knit group to have a lot of fun with outside of the university.”    

What was the biggest challenge in this master?
“I realised what was one of my biggest challenges in this master after seeing a video about how people in the Netherlands would feel about using a mobile phone at the time of the introduction of this device. Most interviewees answered that they could not imagine ever using a mobile phone. Similar and more famous responses exist looking back at the introductions of the first PC and automobile. My biggest challenge is seeing future possibility where others cannot, and then deciding on a wide range of factors – covered by courses in this master – to reach this goal. This, in my opinion, makes innovation management so difficult, but at the same time so exciting, and possibly very rewarding.”  

What made the greatest impression?
“The passion of the professors of the core courses. It was amazing to experience such dedication to the topics and our learning. Their passion visibly rubbed off on the class and our working together. They were personally engaged to get to know us and for us to get to know them and master their areas of expertise. Also very impressive was our class, each of them enthusiastic, which together formed such a tight community, making it a lot of fun on and off campus.”    

How did your studies at RSM shape your career?
“The master has got me 'hooked' on innovation and I feel very strongly that it will remain a theme of interest throughout my career. RSM has given me the perspective to be open to ambiguity and alert for opportunities in the future. Learning about the interesting topics of innovation management made me very keen to test this knowledge in a real-world environment. Near the end of my studies I stumbled upon InnoLeaps, a start-up, but already a big player in the field of innovation consultancy in the Netherlands. I had the opportunity to do a six-month internship there, working with large Dutch multinationals on the challenges of improving their innovation processes and even strategies. My next step will be at McKinsey & Company in Amsterdam, a more general form of strategy consulting, with the certain knowledge that I will work on the exciting challenges surrounding innovation again in the foreseeable future.”  

What are your future plans?
“In the coming years I will work hard to continue learning as much as I can, working on difficult problems of different industries, to further develop myself. And at some point in the future I hope to use these experiences to lead my own innovative company and solve a world problem with a strong team.”