Joyce van de Garde

Joyce van de Garde

“The RSM Executive MBA addresses different aspects of managerial decision-making, which has given me a real feel for corporate politics. It has taught me how to convince others by demonstrating that there is a win-win situation.”

Currently: EMBA participant at RSM Erasmus University. 
Background: Business Development Manager for T-Mobile International in The Hague.

Headline: What would you get out of an EMBA?
Executive MBA AD 1 – September 2007

What do you feel have been the most significant changes in your leadership style as a result of your EMBA?
The EMBA has given me new tools in regards to decision-making. I am now better able to weigh up pros and cons from various perspectives before deciding on a course of action. I am also more aware of cultural differences in the workplace and in global markets when I negotiate with international partners and develop new business models. This is invaluable for me in my job – T-Mobile is represented in the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and a number of Eastern European markets. Cultural differences within T-Mobile are impacting internal business processes, as well as business relations with our partners. 

Do you feel the EMBA will help open doors for you as a woman in business?
Yes. The telecommunications industry where I work used to be very much technology-driven and a man’s world. While this is changing slowly, it is still largely the case. The EMBA is a way of improving my professional prospects in this environment: helping me to develop management and leadership skills and broadening my knowledge and understanding of managerial business concepts. With this qualification I feel much better prepared to make the most of new opportunities. And I anticipate this will open up many new possibilities for me – possibilities that are currently out of reach.

Could you give us an example?
As business development manager my job is to come up with new proposals. I then need to sell these to department heads further up the organisation. The EMBA addresses different aspects of managerial decision-making, which has given me a real feel for corporate politics. It has taught me how to convince others by demonstrating that there is a win-win situation. To ensure change and new ideas are accepted, you must prove that the whole company will benefit. 

What aspect of the EMBA have you found most innovative?
I find the RSM teaching approach very progressive. In our class, participants are from different industries and cultures and learning comes from collaborating and generating new insights into the different business issues we face in our daily working life. The international study trips provide a practical focus that I like, as well as insights into how companies in different countries are organised. This gives a much better understanding of cultural diversity and helps to overcome many engrained prejudices. 

What about the ethical aspect of the programme?
RSM’s emphasis on ethics is a positive aspect of the EMBA. There are distinct limits in business to what you should or should not do and being clear on your own values and ideas is an important part of leadership. Also, many companies are increasingly adopting environmentally-sustainable policies, from energy saving to recycling – and it helps as a manager if you are up-to-speed on these issues and options. I fully believe that ethics are central to strong business and leadership skills. 

What advice would you give to young women in business?
For me, the distinction between male and female careers is false. Women can aspire to any job in business. They should simply look for a field they feel comfortable with and go for it, rather than choosing a direction based on societal ideas of women’s strengths, or peer pressure. To make progress in your career you need to enjoy what you are doing and be prepared to learn and accept new challenges – these are the most important things.