“Our lives are shaped by the decisions we make”

July 3 2019

Yasmeen Smadi took a sabbatical from work in Jordan to do an MBA at Nyenrode Business Universiteit. Although she meant to go back after graduation, her life-changing experience here was the reason to stay. Nowadays, Yasmeen lives in Utrecht and works in Nijmegen. Besides her job, she has always been passionate about entrepreneurship and start-ups.

Claim your chair on Nyenrode - Yasmeen Smadi - interview

A life-changing experience

“In Jordan, I was living the corporate life. I became a manager in five years. I could have been a director and that was what I wanted. By coming here, I learned that I can be ambitious in many ways. I had a life-changing experience at Nyenrode. It wasn’t only about the education, but every aspect of living on campus in Breukelen. I started to see life in a different way. My close friends now are my classmates from the MBA at Nyenrode. I see them almost every week, and even my housemate is a Nyenrodian”

Book in Transit

“I’m also still in contact with professor Désirée van Gorp. I consider her my mentor. I always come to her for advice. I was a guest in her entrepreneurship class for the MSc students. It was like a one-week program where they worked on ideas. I was asked to pitch one of my startup ideas, Book in Transit, which was chosen as one of those five they would work on. I got a lot of information and validation from the group that spent the week working on my idea.”

A small act of kindness

“My startup Book in Transit was launched in 2014 as a social network for readers. There are several websites about swapping books, but you never meet the people. Book in Transit is about sharing books and meeting people as well. The goal is to connect different people from all over the world through the small act of kindness of passing on a book to someone who’s looking for a book to read or maybe cannot afford to buy it. I want to encourage people to read and connect.”

The next big thing

“I aim to re-launch Book in Transit as an application where you find books based on the cover and a little information. Next step would be to attract investors to have a marketing budget once the application is finished. I always wanted to do something big in life. Something to have an impact. I’m hoping Book in Transit will be the next big thing. We do our part and then life has its way of making things happen.”

Keeping a memory alive

“Studying at Nyenrode was only possible thanks to the scholarship from the Nyenrode Fund. I was determined to donate the money I received so someone else could receive a scholarship and have a once in a lifetime experience. As a start of giving back to Nyenrode, I claimed two chairs. One for myself and one for a friend as a birthday gift. We used to always go to classes together, so I wanted to keep that memory alive and to keep a promise.”

Our lives are shaped by the decisions we make

“A lot of people victimize themselves. We stop doing things because we feel that we are victims, but the truth is this: We will be faced with hardship and there will be good and bad days, this is life. But how we decide to see them and what we decide to do is what shapes our life. That’s the message I wanted to share on my chair.”
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