‘Sustainability is our greatest challenge’

MD/PhD Rosa on her decision to change course

As a young girl, Rosa van den Berg clearly envisioned a life for herself as an explorer. Imagine her disappointment when she found out that the world had already been discovered. When her grandfather gave her a toy medical kit for her sixth birthday, she found a new future profession. Rosa would become a doctor. The world had already been discovered, but mankind was still full of secrets.

As a PhD-qualified physician-scientist, Rosa now has dozens of publications to her name. Her dissertation on the effect of light on our metabolism generated significant media attention. She presented her research at international conferences and received numerous awards for her work. After completing her PhD, she worked as a doctor in training to become a medical specialist. Rosa worked hard to build a successful career within medical science. Despite all this, in the summer of 2018 she decided to change course, trading an academic hospital setting for a full-time MBA at Nyenrode in Amsterdam.

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Developing soft skills

‘I have an intrinsic drive to help solve modern-day problems,’ Rosa says. ‘My enthusiasm is fueled by initiatives that focus on innovative and sustainable solutions. Sustainability is truly the greatest challenge facing my generation. We are already so prosperous. How do we address that without destroying our environment? In my opinion, this motive is better suited to a business setting than a hospital.’

Nevertheless, 33-year-old Rosa knew that she still had a lot to learn about business and leadership. She researched her options and eventually decided on an MBA at Nyenrode. ‘I chose Nyenrode because of its small-scale approach and personalized feel. What especially appealed to me was the emphasis on personal development,’ Rosa says. As a complement to her critical eye and professional knowledge, the further development of Rosa’s soft skills would really make her an all-rounder.

Questioning the obvious

Even after realizing that the world had already been discovered, Rosa never lost her sense of wonder for her surroundings. ‘I question what I see around me,’ she says. ‘We take the status quo at face value, but ask yourself who came up with it and why. It’s trendy to make things short and concise, but people are very complex. That is where the focus should lie. Questioning everything and reinventing the wheel is obviously extremely time-consuming and energy-intensive, so we shouldn’t do it constantly. But I prefer to shake things up and turn them upside-down to see if there’s a better way.’

It was partly for this reason that Rosa began to dislike her work at the hospital. She explains: ‘It has to be safe, of course, and that’s why everything is airtight with checks and protocols. This is what makes the Dutch healthcare system so good. But I would rather create the protocols than implement them.’

A generous concept

‘If I could just sort out the finances, I knew I would invest in myself and give myself a year full of growth,’ Rosa says. ‘I thought it was quite expensive, but in the end I was able to afford it thanks to a scholarship from the Nyenrode fund.’ These scholarships are ‘revolving’ in nature, which means that after the recipient completes their studies, they will in turn make a new scholarship possible for a future student. ‘I think that concept is incredibly generous because it’s based on trust,’ Rosa explains. ‘You remain involved with the university and, in doing so, give prospective students with further ambitions the opportunity to continue their studies as well.’ 
 
If you would like to help motivated professionals like Rosa successfully change their career, consider making a contribution to a scholarship for talented students who do not have enough financial resources to pay for a study program at Nyenrode. To find out more, please contact the Nyenrode Fund for further information on tax-advantaged donation options.