”I decided to quit my comfortable job and begin studying despite the on-going Covid-19 pandemic. Before starting at Nyenrode Business University, I had difficulty explaining why I wanted to do pursue an MBA. I felt that I had become complacent in my work life and the only way to really challenge myself was through a year of full-time studying.” Marika Beindorff, Full-time MBA alumna and valedictorian started her study in 2020. After her graduation, she looks back and shares with us her experience at Nyenrode and how the university’s core values shaped her personal and professional development during the program.
“In the beginning, I was excited to learn as much as possible in all the different areas such as finance, value chain and human resources. However, my biggest and most valuable learnings were about myself and my own personal growth. In true Nyenrodian style, my learnings are centered around the three core values of Nyenrode: Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Stewardship.
An outdated idea of Leadership
This was an area I was keen to develop throughout my MBA. However, I learnt a very different lesson than I had expected. I realized that I had a very outdated idea of leadership, believing that one had to be charismatic and outgoing. During the ‘Personal Leadership Development Journey’ classes I discovered that there are different leadership styles, which has helped me develop my own authentic leadership style. For example, in the past, I always believed that being emotional is not appropriate, especially as a woman. Thus, I used to completely hide my emotions. A very valuable lesson I learnt throughout all the ‘Meet The CEO’ sessions, by listening to the extremely personal stories shared, is that vulnerability is a strength as it connects people.
Entrepreneurship is more than starting a business
I must admit that when I first learnt about Nyenrode’s core values, I neglected the value of Entrepreneurship as I have never had the drive to start my own business. However, over the course of the MBA program, I have learnt that entrepreneurship means so much more than just starting a business. It means being innovative, seeking out new opportunities and not being scared of doing things differently. This was exactly my personal goal for doing an MBA. The year successfully managed to get me out of that rut and has opened my mind to accept new challenges and, more importantly, to see new opportunities.
Stewardship had the biggest impact
The Nyenrode value of Stewardship was the value I had never considered before starting my MBA. However, as it turned out, this value had the biggest impact on my personal and professional life. Previously, I had thought of stewardship, or sustainability, as something that did not interest me nor directly impact me. The ‘Circular Economy and Sustainable Development’ classes, however, showed me a whole new aspect of business which was my missing piece of the puzzle to my Ikigai (reason of being). Overall, the MBA at Nyenrode has not only given me new skills, but also helped me better understand myself and what I want better, and it has given me the self-confidence to pursue my ambitions. Having always worked in secure jobs at large international corporations, it was quite a leap for me to decide to now join a small start-up with a strong vision to positively impact the world.
Advice to new or aspiring MBA candidates
Whatever your reasons are for wanting to do an MBA, taking a year off to learn new skills and to learn more about yourself, will never be a waste of time. The people you will meet, and the lessons you will learn, will definitely shape you in ways you never expected!