Becoming a partner in my company is partly thanks to programme. My background is accounting, and I realised I lacked an understanding of business valuation. I learnt about calculating the cost of capital and I was able to use it right away. The combination of practice and knowledge makes the learning stick –talking about these topics with other participants also gave me new information – and I now feel confident that I can give a proper valuation in my own work.
Updating your skills as your career progresses – and while still practising your profession – is a great idea when business is evolving so quickly. Finance consultant Reinier Blokhuizen is familiar with the feeling of returning to education as an executive learner, having made two returns to RSM since he began his career, most recently on the Advanced Business Valuation programme in 2023. His latest skills update came 20 years after his graduation from an RSM master in Accounting and Control in 2002, and 13 years after his executive master in Finance in 2010. “I feel that I’m at home at RSM,” he said.
The programme became the gateway for Reinier to go from accounting to mergers and acquisitions. “My background is accounting, and I sold my company two years ago. I had no work, so I had all the time in the world. I realised I had a lack of understanding of business valuation – there was a feeling that I wanted to know more about these issues, and it was a good time to follow this course. So then I joined a small company in M&A and business valuation and that's what I'm doing now.”
He liked the manageable schedule that runs as either four or six four-day sessions over eight months. This meant that Reinier could do the course alongside his role as a Senior Consultant with Nederhof & Partners, a consultancy and advisory service for business valuation. And of course, he is familiar with RSM. “So for me it was not a difficult decision.
“I enjoyed it very much – let me say that first. I was a little bit stressed about it, but it worked out fine.”
RSM Executive Education takes care in selecting the cohort so that the classroom environment is conducive to learning from each other as well as from the expert practitioners and academics. Classes can be conversational, and ideas can be easily shared back and forth in discussions.
“The group was not too big – we had 11 participants so there was a lot of interaction in class, and in the breaks between classes when we would go outside. It was a good ambiance.”
He found that four days per month was easy to manage, and the difficulty of the programme was pitched just right. Participants were given plenty of opportunity to ask for more explanations from course leader Professor Marc Goedhart, who provided great examples from his work experience, said Reinier.
“Professor Goedhart has definitely earned his stripes,” he comments, referring to Goedhart’s co-authoring of the 2020 book on valuing companies, Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, now in its seventh edition. “I had a lot of questions in class and he was very patient!”
Going back to education after a long period since your last degree has its challenges too. Many participants say they needed to ‘learn to learn’ again because the methods they used when they were younger don’t work well enough. There are better ways of learning in highly interactive executive education courses than just taking notes and getting through the reading list to memorise the material. You can think more critically about the subject because you have more experience, and time management might be easier.
“It's the combination of practice and the knowledge gained from the course that makes the learning stick, and I now feel confident that I can give a proper valuation in my own line of work now,” said Reinier.
“I now have new knowledge, and a better understanding of the value drivers for businesses. I've always been in accounting, but this threw a new light on what is important for the success of the company. The process of talking about these topics with other participants also gave me new information. I'm more confident to judge the financial performance of company.”
As Reinier explained, executive education can deliver highly specific skills and knowledge that you can put to work right away. “I learnt about calculating the cost of capital, and the theory around it. I didn’t know about that before. I was able to bring that into my work right away. It's a very important part of valuing a company, and I just started working on a valuation project where I can put this new knowledge directly into practice.”
And when you have new skills and knowledge, more career prospects open up for you. Or you can use your new skills to accelerate your career track, or help to put a new strategy into action with your organisation. For Reinier, his new skills in business valuation have enabled him to start talking with the other co-owner of his company about how to grow it. “Without this education, I would not have this opportunity. Becoming a partner in my company is partly thanks to the Business Valuation programme. I’m able to apply business valuation techniques in my work and also acting as a CFO, so this knowledge will be important for me in the future.”
“I’m a financial controller, and I think for controllers and accountants like me it’s a great support. It provides great knowledge and complements the role. You get to understand the drivers of value when managing a company, and this is very useful for a controller to be able to get to grips with. You don’t need to be a registered valuator.”
For more information about the Diploma Programme in Advanced Business Valuation, see www.rsm.nl/bv.
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