Q1. In one word, how would your best friend describe you, and how would you manager describe you?
Best friend: Adventurous
Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford.
When I was 7 years old, I watched a documentary about orphans in The Netherlands. The thought of having to grow up without your own parents was so upsetting to me, that I set up a small ‘art gallery’ showcasing my own (disfigured) drawings and clay figures to raise money for a day out to an amusement park. Although I wasn’t aware of it at that time, this purpose of having a (small) positive impact on the lives of others has remained with me ever since.
I have a Liberal Arts and International Criminal Law educational background and currently work for a family-founded social impact fund in The Netherlands. Being such a ‘non-traditional’ MBA candidate, I felt instantly at home in Oxford, where the brightest students in their fields join to expand their knowledge, network and learn how to have an impact on the world.
Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
I had good conversations with close colleagues, friends and family to discuss what I really wanted to get out of the MBA. In The Netherlands and in my sector, it is not so common to pursue an MBA, so having to explain my goals often helped me to define them more clearly.
Moreover, I had a lot of support from my fellow MBA candidates in our various social media groups to arrange all practicalities concerning my move to Oxford. Lastly, I took a very nice holiday to Central Asia where I enjoyed six weeks of hiking, pondering the learnings of my current job and relaxing before the MBA frenzy begins.
Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
In the previous years I have mainly worked in the ‘impact’ part of the ‘impact investing’ sector. I have gained valuable experience pioneering new social ventures, yet these ventures were always funded by grants or loans. I hope I will learn how to think like an investor during the MBA and develop the required hard skills so I can help expand the activities of my organization to the ‘investing’ part of the spectrum.
Moreover, I believe the MBA is an unique opportunity to reevaluate my long-term career goals and discuss with the Careers team and my fellow classmates the best paths to achieve them.
Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
Be ready to be surprised by yourself. Many alumni I spoke to found out they loved accounting, or had a hidden skill of leading their OBN. So I will try to step out of my comfort zone often enough to experience the same surprises. The other great advice I received was to take enough time to pause and reflect. The year will rush by, so I shouldn’t forget to enjoy each moment of it.
Q6. What excites you about your new journey at Oxford?
Having the opportunity to study at a world-class institution like Oxford is already the fulfilment of a childhood dream. I’m already humbled by the thought of becoming part of the ancient Oxford network. I’m mainly looking forward to being in a class with 319 other students who all have the shared intent of making this year as valuable and memorable as possible.
Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
Without any doubt, the FOMO.
Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
I plan to return to my current organisation. As one of the first employees and now one of the management team members, I’ve seen the progress we’ve made since our establishment in becoming an important player in the Dutch impact investing sector. I hope the MBA will help me raise the bar further. I am positive the highly diverse class (in terms of nationality, educational and professional background) will help me to return with an ambitious action plan.
Q9. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?
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