“The program highlighted that a successful leader needs more than strong academics. A strong network, strong values, and a good understanding of society are crucial elements in becoming a well-rounded leader,” says Andreea Bulisache, looking back at her time as International MBA student at Nyenrode Business University. “It was a platform that allowed me to have new experiences and expand my network.” Recently, she co-founded an empowering platform together with few other Nyenrodians that believe in the power of communities in having a global impact: Young&Bold.
Andreea graduated seven years ago from Nyenrode, but still has fond memories. “Looking back, it was a truly forming experience. The program was centered around real-life experiences and working with companies, so it was much more than an exceptional academic program. One of the most crucial experiences for me was finding out what I really wanted to achieve in my career early in the program. That happened during one of the ‘Meet the CEO’ sessions organized for our class. I felt so truly inspired by the clarity of vision and impact public partnerships have in the context of smart cities that I knew I wanted to pursue this in my career'.
Andreea with fellow alumni: Olga Liash and Kristen Kirkpatrick at IMBA Graduation Ceremony Sept 2013.
Recently, Andreea founded the non-profit organization Young&Bold together with some fellow alumni and Prof Dr Désirée van Gorp. “Our mission is to enable the young and bold professionals to create their own ecosystem of partners aiming at making their communities a better. We started by setting up a hackathon: Hack-a-Day. At a hackathon, you bring together for a short period of time business executives, social entrepreneurs, students, and young professionals to solve in a creative manner an issue with social impact. It is about doing things differently and then bringing boldness into addressing the challenge.
Unfortunately, we had to postpone the first hackathon due to the pandemic. But we wanted to be there for the community, especially in this challenging time. So, we became more active on Instagram as a platform for young people who were most in need for a connection with others,” says Andreea. “We’ve set up a series of motivational engagement sessions in the format of 30 minutes weekly dialogues. We introduced the community to inspiring leaders in their respective fields that we thought had an exceptional story to share about inner strength, growth mindset and dealing with various types of crisis.”
“Our first series of sessions was on how to be bold and resilient. We started with a senior executive with a broad international experience, that throughout his life and career went through various changes that led to pursue his childhood passion for sport and return to his roots. During the session, he provided three tips on how to make the most out of our time in social distance. We wanted to provide our community with hands-on relatable actions that they can take. We also had a psychologist who provided us with some clear tools on how to create the distinction on what it is in your control and what’s not during a crisis.”
“Now we’re launching a second series of sessions on change-makers. We’re introducing young and bold examples of people who decided to take action and be the change they want to see in the world.” Andreea gives an example: “A Nyenrode student gave, on a non-profit basis, business advice to struggling small companies in his community. The three other series we are working on are on future of work, digital transformation, and mindfulness. We plan to have hackathons in the near future and other more bespoke events when it is possible. But until we can we will continue to connect with everyone in our virtual community, learn from their ideas of inspiring social initiatives.
Asked about key take-aways of the interviews with inspirational leaders during the program, Andreea answers: “There is no single formula. Things are usually simpler than we imagine. Most important things just come down to the individual and his/her purpose in life. Always think about the impact a situation has on you before you take action. Very often we get carried away and do not pay attention to how we feel and asses to which extent certain situations are within our control or not. Because if we would, we would know what the right decision is before we make it. We just know it in our gut. Another key take-away for me was that change starts with all of us. We have to be the change we want to make in the world.”