Programme: OneMBA Class of 2020
Job title: operations manager digital water at Royal HaskoningDHV
Previous degree: MSc in hydraulic engineering at Delft University of Technology
Sander lives in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. He lived in Johannesburg, South Africa for several years for his work at Royal HaskoningDHV. He has three young children. His hobbies are football, cycling and spending time with his family and friends.
1. Why did you decide to do the OneMBA?
“I’m technically schooled and then moved into project management, followed by strategy and implementation. I wanted a more theoretical framework of what I was doing next to learning it all on the job. What triggered me in the OneMBA was the global component: to be exposed to different cultures, drivers and perspectives of people from all walks of life. This adds to the technical components I already had to head into the right direction.”
2. How is the OneMBA experience affecting your work?
“The open discussions and interpretations of the theory during class immediately translate into practice that adds value in my own company. Also, topics like Brexit and global economics affect our company and daily lives, and it’s so interesting to discuss these things. And the Personal Leadership Development Programme forces you to step out of the daily run of the mill and critically look at what you’re doing. You can really develop your own leadership style and practice.”
3. Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within your global teams?
“The Global OneMBA is one big cultural experiment. People who have been exposed to the international world react differently than people who haven’t. Everyone in the RSM class is very culturally savvy since there is already a wide variety of cultures in the group. We all understand that not all approaches work with all people. People behave differently in a group in different cultures, and it teaches us to become even more culturally savvy.”
4. With your schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects?
“It’s a challenge. Living in Europe, most meetings are during the day when it’s early morning in Latin America and evening in China. And other MBA work is mostly in evenings and weekends. Your focus constantly shifts so you have to find a balance. When you’re in a flow, things go smoothly. Sometimes things take longer and you stay up half the night. It also depends on your team, the assignments, work. It’s an illusion to think you can plan everything ahead.”
5. How are you experiencing the Global Residencies?
“They are fantastic. It’s a deepening of experiencing other cultures while actually being there. Being in the environment and seeing how proud people are of their culture. It’s a social immersion. You can read about it, but you have to live it and be there for it to be real.”
6. What has been the best part of OneMBA for you so far?
“Several things. The greatest thing is interacting with my fellow classmates. I feel like I’ve known them for years. The time spent together is very intense. I wasn’t expecting the RSM group to be such an international group on its own. I see things differently thanks to them. I really enjoy it.”
7. After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?
“If only I knew. I’m not a person who plans decades ahead. We’re in a unique position at a time of our career in which we can manoeuvre into companies and roles that can make a difference. I love what I’m doing now, and I like the company I work for now. I’m being enriched by what I’m learning through the OneMBA and being exposed to other perspectives. I have no concrete plans. I just want to apply what we preach in practice.”