Programme/year: OneMBA Class of 2015
Job title: Entrepreneur in the renewable energy sector
Companies: International Hydro, International Solar, Greening Components
Previous degree: BSc in Political and Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam
1. Why did you decide to join the OneMBA?
“When leading companies, people always come to you for advice and support. It’s good to put yourself into an environment where you can learn yourself. Since I left university some 30 years ago, many new theories and thinking have emerged. If you don’t want to get outdated in your thinking, you have to renew it constantly. Widen your horizons and create new challenges to stay relevant for yourself and for others is my motto. Doing the OneMBA ensures not only that my knowledge and insights remain up to date, but it is a very stimulating experience as well.”
2. How is the OneMBA experience affecting your work?
“Each time I go to class, I get at least three new ideas that I can put into action in my companies right away. I’m also learning a lot from my classmates who have experiences across multiple sectors and in various disciplines. Especially as an entrepreneur, most of the learnings about business, organisational issues and finance, are learned in daily practise. The OneMBA programme helps me put things into a broader perspective.”
3. What is the return on investment that you expect from funding your OneMBA?
“I’ve probably already earned back my tuition fees by getting new ideas and putting them into practise right away. What’s even more important is the personal perspective: being forced to go back to university a few days each month puts day-to-day company issues in a different perspective. It gives you the opportunity to take a step back from the daily hassle that absorbs all your attention. It creates breathing space for fresh thinking.”
4. How has the Personal Leadership Development programme (PLD) affected you?
“It seems that everyone in this programme is looking for a change. The PLD programme helps you to realise what you’re good at and what you really want to do. From that perspective, PLD helps you set your own priorities. You don’t take time to think about these things when dealing with the day-to-day issues.”
5. Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“I’ve been working with people from all over the world for many years. It’s interesting to see that we often think that we understand people from different countries and cultures. Nevertheless, when you work more intensely with them, you go beneath this surface and it turns out that people think quite differently about leadership, deadlines and teamwork.”
6. With your busy schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects?
“It’s a challenge. We have internet meetings with our global teams on Sundays because of work schedules and different time zones. You study during the rest of the weekend and on week nights. If you really want to do the OneMBA, consider it like having an extra, almost full-time job. The OneMBA is not for the weak-hearted. It’s a big time investment.”
7. What was your favourite part of the Global Residencies?
“The sessions were of high quality and the subjects were interesting, for example about energy dependency in Europe and the political impact of energy in society and companies. Exploring Turkish business was especially interesting because we’re currently starting up a company in Turkey, so I could put this into practice right away.”
8. What has been the best part of the OneMBA for you so far?
“I always look forward to go to classes in Rotterdam. A large part has to do with the class mates and faculty. It’s really fun. RSM has a very friendly and enjoyable atmosphere. It’s a really supportive and nice bunch of people that’s really fun to hang out with.”
9. After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?
“I’ll take it as it comes. My business partners and I are creating our own future. The OneMBA helps me to do this much more effectively.”