“For a Nyenrodean you go the extra mile”

In 1990, Han Knoore followed the one-year CT program for people with an agricultural or technical bachelor degree looking for a business administration complementation. “I knew people who had studied at Nyenrode and were enthusiastic about it,” says Han. “In addition, it was a perfect balance between the technical and business aspect for many of us. There have been many study years of this program until it ended, together with the BBA program.” By now, he directs a big European software company concerned with the automation of vertical markets. “I still feel connected to Nyenrode.”

Claim your chair on Nyenrode - Han Knooren - interview

Development gains momentum

“At Nyenrode, your development gains momentum. I am greatly indebted to Nyenrode with respect to the development of my EQ, Emotional Quotient. In business, you often need to react quickly in unexpected circumstances. You were trained in this. These communicative skills were very advantageous to me later. For instance, at a particular moment I was standing on a stage, before 500 people, to give a presentation without slides. For French people, it is important that you do your best to speak their language. They do not expect a perfect presentation with grammar flawless to the smallest detail. You cannot do so after one year in France. At such a moment, you are supported by your Nyenrode learning experience. Then you straighten your back and show what you stand for.”

Marching through the castle

“I still feel connected to Nyenrode. Once my career had started, I followed the Young Management Program there. Commercially, I still use the facilities at the estate quite regularly. As a Group CEO at Total Specific Solutions, we take over about one European software company every two months. Often, the owners are looking for a personal introduction beyond a business contract. In those cases, we go for dinner or lunch at Slangevegt, for instance, and I take them to the Nyenrode estate. International guests in particular highly appreciate it when I show where I come from. On those occasions, we march through the castle as if it is mine, so to speak.”

Going the extra mile for Nyenrodeans

“With Nyenrodeans you have a shared background. You meet many people on a daily basis, but you cannot reach a certain depth in a relationship with everyone. For a Nyenrodean, you go the extra mile. My son Rik, for instance, needed an interview with someone from Nike for his final examinations of grammar school. In the data base of Nyenrode Alumni VCV I looked up which alumni were working at Nike. Within a week, he could visit Nike to talk. This would not have been possible without this introduction of mine. Likewise, I would always make room in my agenda for the son or daughter of an alumnus. Meanwhile, Rik has been admitted to the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Nyenrode.”

Sharing practical lessons for life

“I am 50 years old now and director of a big software company in Europe. I have invested a lot in young leaders in our company. I cannot help but share practical life lessons. What are the foundations of a successful career? What took me to where I am now? In addition the fact that you need a certain degree of talent, I think that working hard is an important condition for a career. Hard work works. Also, it helps to collect experienced people around you from whom you can learn something. Finally, I think that you can make your luck in business. If you are well-prepared and do not leave anything to chance, luck will roll your way much more often than to people who are living day by day. What’s more, if you are doing work that you like, all this hard work is not that bad anyway.”

Chance favors the prepared mind

“When I was called with the question of whether I would like to claim a chair and thus contribute to the modernization of the educational facilities, I said yes immediately. I think it is perfectly natural that, as an alumnus, you spend part of your savings on the place where you received your education. I thought that the financial threshold is low and sharing a motto really appealed to me. On my chair is a saying by Louis Pasteur: "La chance ne sourit qu”aux esprits bien préparés." Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Would you like to connect your name to your alma mater too? Claim your chair at Nyenrode and support the modernization of our educational facilities. Be quick, because only a limited number of chairs is still available in De Rooij 101 and 104.