Clarissa Alfrink

Clarissa Alfrink

Clarissa Alfrink

Dutch, 29

Manager Business Development at EPM Actys.

Executive MBA 2013



At the age of 29 you are one of the youngest on the Executive MBA course. What made you choose this route?

I've always been searching for ways in which to develop myself. After four years as Business Developer at a renowned international architecture office, I felt I had to further develop myself to better fit the needs of today's market. Clients expect us not only to facilitate a larger variety of services but also to be more knowledgeable of their wider concerns. I felt that an MBA would help me in understanding and answering such questions.

What brought you to the Executive MBA?

Stepping out of my career path did not seem wise, as I felt I might lose touch with a fast-moving industry. It seemed a perfect option to try to enter an Executive MBA course wherein I could learn and immediately use the knowledge in my job; maximising the added value of such an education.

Why RSM?

RSM has a strong reputation worldwide and within my network I quickly understood that RSM is highly valued by both companies and individuals. As I preferred to follow an executive MBA course close to home and work, it was an easy decision. In addition, other schools in the Netherlands did not have the international and 'no-nonsense' approach which I was looking for.

You’ve now been on the Executive MBA for four months. What are your impressions?

It’s very interesting and inspiring. There is a wide variety of experienced professors, each with their own teaching style yet all cleverly linking the diverse subjects. My fellow students come from all over the world and work in different sectors, so they bring an immensely valuable array of experiences from which we are all able to learn.

Has there been an impact on your work?

Absolutely. It helps me to gain an understanding of the larger picture, and has enabled me to not only enter, but also bring deep insights into discussions with our clients and company's management on how we can continue to be a frontrunner of our industry.

What do think the Executive MBA adds to your work in creative industries?

On the one hand, various industries understand that they need to be creative to enhance their competitive value, whilst on the other hand the creative sectors have seen that they can learn from the more 'profit-driven' industries. Creative industries tend to focus more on the originality within their designers’ profiles, and less on ways in which to achieve operational excellence. The last few years have shown a slight shift in focus and I believe that the Executive MBA helps to fill this gap in which we, designers, find ourselves.

What, for you, has been the highlight of your EMBA so far?

Our accounting classes with Professor Murray were great. He managed to make a subject which might seem boring an absolute pleasure to follow. It was tough and quick-paced, yet fun, as he often linked the cases to our own firms, allowing us to easily recognise the subject.

In general the EMBA course has been a very broad learning experience, ranging from encountering great people, gaining insight into how other companies approach similar issues and the high standard of the courses themselves. It feels like a high-speed train giving an incredible amount of energy, valuable knowledge and vast network.

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


I think it is a subject no-one can ignore.  The subject, in its broadest terms, is touched upon in various courses. We have encountered it in our Economic, Organisational Behaviour classes and our Personal Leadership Programme. I look forward to further discussions in the coming terms, when we have more gained more insights and tools to implement sustainable solutions.


Innovation is an essential part of the current economy and an integral part of leading firms.  RSM integrates innovation in our courses by confronting us with current issues, various creative solutions and ‘no wrong answer’. We are encouraged to think in innovative ways by our professors and mentors. However we also try to inspire each other, as students, to step out of our comfort zones and look for answers elsewhere.

Critical Thinking

The courses at RSM provide us with a firm base, allowing us to critically analyse the questions we are faced with every day. In discussions we continuously challenge ourselves to be critical about our own thoughts and ideas; this brings an incredibly valuable learning curve.


There is a strong RSM spirit present between students, staff and even alumni. We all are there for the same reason, all understand the necessary workload of the study and our parallel work, yet all have the same ambitions. And this set of comparable values brings us closer. I am curious to see how we come back from our first study trip abroad; I imagine it will create an even stronger spirit.