OneMBA Class of 2007
Co-founder at Wanderwatch
“What used to be project work is now reality. The MBA taught me to open up, see opportunities and look past the hurdles.”
“The RSM MBA opened me up to new ideas. I learned to ‘think big’,” says Ellie Karssemakers (Global Executive OneMBA 2007). Ultimately; she co-founded Wanderwatch, the world’s first outdoor interactive smart wearable for children. Her entrepreneurial journey was a challenging one, but Ellie says she’s ‘an ambitious woman who wanted to go up’ and used her willpower and determination to make things happen.
Going to ‘the other side’
It was during the OneMBA at RSM that Ellie switched from her role as consultant in strategy and corporate finance, to a more managerial role at another company. “I wanted to go to the other side of the table, and started a new job in an energy company’s strategy department which was very exciting,” Ellie says. “I dealt with new challenges in management teams and business units, merge departments, integrations, and HR issues. But I wasn’t ready yet to start my own company.” Ellie says the MBA helped her tackle issues that popped up in her work. “I really valued learning in combination with my work experience. You put teaching from professors in the right perspective and reality,” she says.
Having gained managerial skills, Ellie realised she could use her knowledge and experience to indeed ‘think big’. Three of the four founders of Wanderwatch completed an MBA at RSM. “What used to be project work, is now reality,” says Ellie. “It’s pretty ambitious to start a company with people in other countries, but we decided to do it. The MBA taught me to open up, see opportunities and look past the hurdles.”
Ellie says there were always specialists in the back office in her previous roles. “Now you have to solve things yourself. We find creative ways to set up the business.” She says the network gained at RSM helps her every day. “The MBA definitely paid off. Yes, it was demanding, but so exciting. People from my class meet up regularly. It’s something you have the rest of your life.”