‘I think it is important that education is accessible to everyone’

‘I had a great year. Nyenrode has been formative for the rest of my life. That is why I think it is important to give something back. To go forward, it is important to give back’, says Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen. She claimed a chair at Nyenrode. ‘It is important to mobilize alumni in order to contribute to preservation and to the future of our university.’

Claim your chair on Nyenrode - Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen - interview

‘I started the three-year BBA program in 1985. At high school, I have not had math and economy, so I started with a disadvantage. Bridging this gap proved to be a bit too much of a challenge. After having practiced all summer long, I still did not pass my math exam resits. I was faced with the choice: am I going to redo the year with all the study subjects or will I go for the study program which I feel is my destiny? I went to Rotterdam to study law, because of the entrepreneurial character of the city and its Law Faculty.’

Scholarships for students with my cohort

‘At our reunion, I reconnected with a number of fellow students of my year. There, the idea came up that our year would facilitate a scholarship for students with insufficient financial means. I participated in this; I think it is important that education is accessible for everyone. This is not self-evident for each and every person on earth. Everyone can decide for him or herself whether to contribute or not. I have the financial means to do so, so I did. I think it is important not only to take, but to give as well. A few fellow students and myself have been asked at the time to talk to students at Nyenrode and to look after the scholarship selection. At Nyenrode, I discovered that you can claim a chair and I did so immediately.’

Contributing to high-quality education

‘Naturally, the educational system in the Netherlands is well arranged. But you can see that all developments, such as artificial intelligence, block chain and augmented reality, happen so rapidly that, as a leader, it is important to explore how our companies relate to these developments, but especially to yourself as well. For an institution such as Nyenrode, it is important to keep track of all those developments and to adjust its educational program where necessary. To do so, you simply cannot have enough money ever. It is highly important to have the right financial means to invest into the tools, means and teachers who will contribute to high-quality education.’

Learning ability to transcend matter

My chair has the caption "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change" by Steven Hawking. Currently, the world is changing so rapidly that it is important to be open to change. My chair is on the last row next to someone I know. I really liked that row, because it gives you an overview. I think it is important that people have the learning ability to transcend matter. That is the philosophical idea behind it. Make sure that you soak up so much knowledge that you learn to view subjects from various perspectives. I think it is an important role of educational institutions that they teach people to listen to other kinds of reasoning and that there are many roads to Paradise.’

The chair has a connecting nature

‘The funny thing is that, regularly, I actually receive pictures on WhatsApp of people sitting on my chair. That is great fun, really! If people send me WhatsApp messages, I know that they are in the last row. At the Executive programs and Commissary Cycle, these are managers with serious jobs. "Wait a minute", I say jokingly, "you should sit in the front row. Pay attention, right?" This way, the chair has a connecting nature.’

‘As a donor, you remain more connected. I do not need to receive anything back for this. It is just fun to follow how thing develop. I have attended Nyenrode for one year only, but I have beautiful and precious memories of this time. It is important to mobilize alumni in order to contribute to preservation and to the future of our university.’

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.