Name: Rients Hempenius
Last job title: Supervisor Clinical Psychologist and Project Lead IT at Government of Qatar
Previous degree: MSc in Clinical Psychology at Erasmus University Rotterdam
Why did you choose RSM for your MBA?
“As a clinical psychologist, I helped establish specialised hospitals in the Netherlands and Qatar, and set up a bachelor of clinical psychology in Saudi Arabia. Working on these initiatives and in management, I knew an MBA would teach me even more. I chose RSM because I know the high quality of education at Erasmus University Rotterdam as I’ve studied here before.”
What has been the most challenging assignment or activity? Why?
“It’s a lot of work, especially getting a team project on a higher level. We had an organisational behaviour assignment and there were countless deadlines that week. We sat together for a 15-page assignment on a Sunday, with a 36-hour deadline. It was nearly impossible but we had learned how to trust each other, and distributed the workload, communicated well and delivered everything on time, resulting in a grade mark of 9.”
How has the Personal Leadership Development Programme (PLD) affected you?
“I was used to thinking about the psychology of myself and analysing my own behaviour, but in this programme, I really elaborated on seeing what I want in the future and where I want to be. It gave me guidance and tools to get there, giving the other skills we learn in the MBA a better framework.”
Do you notice different cultural approaches to working within global teams?
“Of course, it’s very obvious. I’ve initiated a personality test for my team members, showing there’s a big difference in personality depending on where people come from, which you have to take into account. Efficient team work means getting people with different cultural background out of their comfort zone to reach their full potential. For me, coming from Rotterdam, I have to learn how to give feedback in a more diplomatic way. You learn to be more adaptable to other cultures.”
Can you define the 'RSM MBA experience'?
“The RSM MBA is special because of its emphasis on diversity and teamwork. I learn so much from other cultures and people’s different perspectives. Because the programme is so intense, you’re in constant contact with interesting and talented people. It makes your social life much richer.”
What transformation in your professional life are you hoping to achieve from completing the full-time MBA?
“The choices I’ve made in my professional life have led me into a great job in the Middle East as a manager in a hospital. The MBA gives me the knowledge and skills I need to lead a hospital in a better way. At the same time, I’ve discovered qualities that I wasn’t aware of before doing the MBA, and it has made me think of new opportunities and new areas that I can work in.”
What advice would you give to others to make the most of their MBA experience? Is there something you wished you knew before coming to RSM?
“It took me some time to accept that I had to completely adapt my life to the programme. It’s a great experience and you learn a lot, but there’s not much time for other things. I advise to get to know the people in the programme really well – it’s a unique opportunity to meet people from around the world with such interesting backgrounds.”
How do you feel about living in Rotterdam/the Netherlands?
“I left Rotterdam in 2012 to see the world and discover new things. What annoyed me about the Netherlands before, I see differently now. My experience abroad made me see how interesting and beautiful living in the Netherlands – and especially Rotterdam – is. It’s friendly and liberal. I’ve seen the city change and notice how its buildings, tourism and squares with terraces have improved.”
After the full-time MBA, what does the future hold?
“My future was clear to me before I started the MBA but now I realise there’s so much more. For example, I never thought I’d be interested in marketing. Having a psychology background is really useful for an MBA – a lot in management is about working with people and understanding how you can get the best out of people or how to get customers to buy your product or service. My ambitions of being a manager in a psychiatric hospital have shifted to much broader interests. Maybe I’ll work in marketing or organisational change one day. Who knows?”