‘To date, my 35-year career has featured a clear development curve: progressing from accumulated professional knowledge to a vision on the organization as a whole. My current occupation - I'm an independent consultant - is the result of this development curve. I wanted to maintain this upward development trend by enrolling for a place in the Modular Executive MBA program in Business & IT. This would enable me to use relevant theory to substantiate my advice on business operations. I felt less drawn to the second cornerstone of the course: IT. This situation soon changed when the IT lectures started and I saw what a powerhouse IT is for the improvement of process qualities. I embraced IT.’
Joke Ederveen graduated from university with a degree in Biochemistry. Before launching her own consultancy — Edra Services— in 2010, she was employed as a research leader heading a number of laboratories and also held a number of management positions. In her consultancy work, Ederveen focuses on quality control and specializes in microbiology and virology. Ederveen decided to enroll for the full MBA program, which she started in September 2016.
‘The first module, about change management and organizational development, touched right at the heart of my consultancy work straight away; I found the many concepts and academic methods inspirational. What’s more, lecturer Daniëlle Zandee constantly emphasized a people-oriented approach, which is consistent with my own modus operandi. I like to bring people together and I never shy away from a discussion. An organization isn't something that you can design on a drawing board; people are the ultimate driving force behind any company or business.’
Ederveen works primarily for companies that have laboratories linked to them. ‘These are business environments that tend to favor an inward perspective, considering just content related and technical issues. It is very satisfying to explain the broad meaning of change goals to people and energize them to achieve the goals in question. But which choice pattern will a decisive change manager display? The insights I gained from this module made me realize that I had been given a structure that would help me with much of what I was already applying in practice. I can say that I am definitely more aware and effective in what I do now.’
An enlightening case
‘It's also very enlightening to be able to practice change management with fellow students in a different setting’, says Ederveen enthusiastically. ‘We used an appreciative inquiry to identify opportunities for a B2B company. This is an effective technique that involves employees in the search for change. Our step-by-step plan to significantly increase webshop sales is being implemented at the current time.’
A bridging function
‘The Digital Strategy and Transformation module exceeded my expectations. IT proved to be a fantastic strategic tool for the achievement of improved quality and efficiency in an organization — in sectors including my own. I discovered that digital technologies have the potential to be extremely beneficial to data integrity in laboratories. In the future, I will do my best to encourage companies to integrate IT into the set-up of their information management systems better. I now see countless opportunities to bridge the gap that currently exists between the worlds of automation and laboratories.’
A warm blanket
Ederveen felt at home in the program immediately: ‘I already knew the drill from the work I do; I maintain a good overview. Another advantage of my work is that it teaches you the importance of organizing your time efficiently. Bearing all of the above in mind, I discovered some very salient similarities between the MBA and my consultancy work. I am currently doing not one, but two modules at the same time.
I find the positive atmosphere at Nyenrode a big help too. Lecturers guide you through the subject matter step-by-step and students help each other too; as a result, the connection you feel with the program and each other develops automatically. It feels very much like being wrapped in a warm blanket.’
‘The MBA has strengthened me in my work as an independent consultant over the last half year. I have become more selective about the assignments I accept. I now also continually ask myself business-related questions about organization and culture and choose assignments that will enable me to make the biggest difference. This is important because I always set out to achieve maximum impact in my work as a consultant.’