“This degree program offers much more than just academics. There are so many opportunities since you are living on campus, and at the same time you can do things to develop yourself through the student association and its 49 committees,” says Olivier Valks about the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BScBA) program. This ambitious full-time student is the new chairman of student association Nieuwe Compagnie van Verre (NCV).
“I didn’t expect that I would become chairman. It shows that you grow as a person during this program.” Olivier chose the BScBA because he aspires to hold a leadership position someday and wanted to develop his leadership qualities for this purpose.
Learning by looking in the mirror
“I use what I learn in my studies and apply it in my role as chairman. I have learned to take responsibility and initiative while encouraging and inspiring others,” Olivier says. “As a leader, I also think it’s important to be open to what others think and to try to understand differences. You achieve more that way.” “During the program you work on a different project each week, with different people every time. That is a great learning experience, particularly because of the differences of opinion and the discussions. For example, I worked with someone who thought she knew exactly how to do everything, which she did. I found that difficult at first, but at a certain moment I realized why it was frustrating me: I do the same thing myself sometimes. It was like looking in a mirror.”
Choosing the best leadership style
“In the association, everyone has to feel at home and be able to develop themselves: that’s what the association is for. Another exciting part about being chairman is that I get to deal with lots of different tasks and a variety of opinions. The challenge is then to find the best solution.” Olivier gives an example: “If someone has misbehaved, I have to confront him or her about it. That’s obviously unpleasant. But when you know that person, then there’s an emotional element to it as well. In those moments I have to be the chairman, not Olivier.”
Olivier continues: “There are many different leadership styles, and successful leaders are able to use multiple styles. I want to master as many methods as possible, so that I can use the best leadership style in each situation.”
Helping the planet
Olivier wants to do more than just develop himself: “A year from now, I also want to be able to say: the association is better off than it was a year ago. I want to contribute to that as much as possible as chairman.” And after finishing his studies? “My ultimate goal is freedom. To achieve that, I need financial independence. I would ideally like to start my own business or work in a leadership role, for instance in the field of renewable energy. That way I would be earning money while helping the planet, too. But maybe I’ll also do something with my hobby of writing, or something that has to do with clothing.”