Tessa van Iperen

Tessa van Iperen

Programme/year: OneMBA14
Nationality: Dutch
Job Title: Owner/Strategic Marketing and Change Manager
Company: Iemand Anders (“Somebody Else”)
Age: 43

Is the MBA a well-known degree in your company?

Being the owner of my own company, it doesn’t count, however the MBA is well known in my surroundings. I studied Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam for a few years and obtained my degree at the International School of Economics Rotterdam (now Rotterdam Business School). This introduced me to RSM and led me here, which has been on my wish list for many years.

How is the OneMBA impacting your current work at Iemand Anders?

I applied for a new strategic marketing project in January. The company welcomed me with open arms, mostly because of my enrolment in the OneMBA. They were flexible about planning and a benefit was that I got a good fee. In previous assignments this needed a lot of negotiating, but not this time. The MBA is already starting paying me back.

As a self-funding participant, what is the return on investment you expect from the OneMBA?

I expect a 100 per cent financial return within four or five years. The return on investment isn’t just about money. It’ll also bring me more interesting and challenging assignments following my personal growth, supported by the paper or title.

What expectations do you have about how your OneMBA will benefit the company?

As an interim marketing manager, the assignments are always broader than just the marketing or promotion of the products or the services of a company. There are often other issues, such as the internal structure or having the right people in the right position. Marketing touches a lot of sectors that are taught at the OneMBA, such as cultural differences with Leading and Managing Global Operations (LAMGO), finance and operations. I learned to ask the right questions sooner and understand the impact of the answers better. I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge and expertise on change management in the next term.

How has the OneMBA impacted your professional life so far?

You start thinking again about so many things. Even though I’m a generalist, I now present myself as a specialist. Organisations that hire an interim want them for a specific field, like marketing. This new positioning helps me to promote myself. Thanks to the Personal Leadership Development (PLD) sessions, I’m much more specific now about who I am and what I do.

Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?

Absolutely. It has been very special working amongst other cultures. I have experienced this during my studies at the ISER, both in Rotterdam and Bordeaux, with mostly young European students. Doing this with global professionals is a whole new ball game. We have seven people in our team, all with different backgrounds. I’m learning so much. In addition to business, it’s also about working with other professionals from different industries.

Every team includes at least two women. Working with these strong women is a fantastic learning process. It’s a beautiful experience. I work with a lot of CEOs, and thankfully there’s a lot of gender equality in the Dutch workforce. I realise it’s different in other places, such as India. You have to take that into account while working in your global team.

With your busy schedule, how do you manage the cross-continental projects that you are doing with an international team?

It isn’t always easy, especially with up to a 14-hour time difference. The main thing we agreed on is to respect each other’s busy schedules. We added a core value: having fun. The projects take a lot of time, energy and focus. Having fun creates energy, it keeps everyone going.

Have you enjoyed the Global Residencies so far?

Definitely! I worked with a global team for six months, but the video connections were often bad. We first saw each other in Washington and then Amsterdam. It’s strange, because even though we’d hardly seen each other during these six months, we were immediately close.  
The Global Residencies always have a focus, like European business. We get a cascade of information and ideas to discuss, giving us so much more in-depth knowledge and understanding about a region than you may learn from books and the media.

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

I experience all of them, every single day.
At first, I thought sustainability would be a temporary hype. But it’s here to stay and that’s great. Business is about the long-term vision on the organisation, people and environment.  
Innovation is more than the launch of a new product. It’s linked to sustainability. If you sit still, you might move backwards. It’s about moving forward. Innovation isn’t just something for the future, it’s right here, right now.
I love RSM’s critical thinking component. The big question is always “why?” At RSM, you don’t just swallow knowledge; everyone brings their experience into class. It’s the best part, as an incredible amount of information comes from your peers. 
The spirit of RSM is its people. My global and local team members have become really close. We see each other outside of the programme and I know this will continue after graduation.

What has been the best part of OneMBA for you so far?

The variety of learning methods appeals to me and I really enjoy the Global and Local Residencies. It’s tough with all the exams and projects, but when we’re together, you feel so much energy. This positive energy keeps you going when you’re working on personal studies and projects at home.

After the OneMBA, what does the future hold?

In my life, learning never stops. Obtaining the OneMBA isn’t the goal. It’s about my learning during the programme. I’m convinced the RSM Alumni Network will help me stay close to what I’ve learned. It’ll always keep the learning alive.