Casper Boerema from Utrecht, was looking for a way to gain a fresh outlook on things: “I was swamped with work and wanted to take some time off, as a way to enable myself to think outside of the box again. The full-time MBA helped me to do just that.” Stacey Ohello, who lives in Oss, says that the international character of the MBA program adds to this purpose: “It’s valuable to experience how something ordinary for one person can lead to a completely different perspective for another.” Both students shared their views on the full-time MBA, which they started in September 2020.
Casper already had ten years of experience in management consulting. On his choice to go back to full-time studying, he elaborates: “I felt ready for a new challenge, outside of the financial world. But I did not know which direction I wanted to go yet. Thanks to the many guest speakers I’ve met during the past months, I found out that the start-up scene really appeals to me.” He adds: “During these sessions, I’ve learned that the actual idea behind the startup doesn’t have to come from me. My strengths lie in arranging all the business aspects around the new product or service. This way, I can join an existing startup that needs help with the operational side. As soon as the regulations allow for it, I will pay a visit to the incubator division of Nyenrode in Amsterdam, where many entrepreneurs are scaling up their business.”
Stacey had played with the idea to start an MBA for quite some time. She was looking to broaden her theoretical knowledge, besides her practical experience as an entrepreneur in debt counseling and as a Team Manager at the municipality of Breda. “Due to the pandemic, ordinary life had suddenly come to a halt. For me, it was the perfect time to invest in my own growth. My goal is to eventually work on an international level and help to prevent poverty by dealing with debt issues. I see the world as one big workplace, so the international character of the program really resonated with me. With the new academic and practical knowledge that I am acquiring, I hope to one day work for the United Nations. This way, I can contribute to creating equal opportunities for everyone.”
Casper already graduated with a master’s degree in Commerce in Business at the Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. This time, he chose to stay in the Netherlands: “Nyenrode has an international focus, which allows me to gain international experience in my own country. In my view, Nyenrode is one of the better universities we have, with an extensive network of professionals.” Casper explains he applied for the full-time program, to escape the busy life and have more space and time to gain new insights: “The program keeps surprising me with new perspectives. What I find very inspiring, for example, are the Meet the CEO-sessions. Here, the leaders of large organizations not only talk about the business itself, but also about personal leadership and how they got to be where they are now. There hasn’t been a week that hasn’t flown by.”
Stacey also made the conscious choice to go back to studying full-time: “I wanted to be able to completely focus on the MBA, and not having to spread it over a couple of years.” She continues that working with a small and international group of students adds a lot of value: “There are so many different backgrounds in our small group, which allows me to learn from every individual’s experience and knowledge.” Stacey mentions the group is really close: “Getting to know new people was one of the main reasons to go back to college. We are actually starting to feel like family, for which I am very grateful. I even organized a bike tour with one of my fellow students. With a group of seven people, we explored the Netherlands on bicycles. Talk about getting a new perspective!”
About the course of the program, Casper explains: “The first half of the program, we focused on strengthening our theoretical knowledge and building a solid academic foundation. We are using the remaining six months to dive deeper into practical aspects, like the latest trends in the market and the use of technology.” He elaborates by giving an example: “We used a simulator to control and manage the Supply Chain Management of an organization. Because the system gives you actual results, you instantly learn about technological issues and possible obstacles.”
Stacey comes up with another example: “During one of the Meet the CEO-sessions, two fellow students and I analyzed an organization in India, which is a world leader in IT and consultancy. We researched different ways to reduce food waste with technology. For example, by using smart sensors we were able to potentially keep food fresh for a longer period of time during transport. We pitched our ideas to the CEO, and he responded by saying we had shed a valuable light on existing solutions, which are worth looking into further. That felt really good!”
Due to the current measures against the coronavirus, the program is a bit different than usual. For example, excursions to European companies are postponed until further notice. Casper elaborates: “Nyenrode is doing everything in its power to keep providing us with valuable experiences. The online classes are set up to be as interactive as possible, the university is flexible in how they run the day-to-day program, and they added different elements to keep us engaged. In addition, our professors are very accessible: they really sympathize with us and help us outside of our classes as well. Overall, the MBA program is a very welcome inspiration that has enriched my life in many ways.” Stacey concludes with laughter: “It’s actually a pity we only have a few months of college left!”
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