Student experience

Pavel Cholakov

My name is Pavel Cholakov and I am taking the Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Twente, specifically the Financial Management profile. During my time at UT I’ve had the honour and privilege to chair the Erasmus Student Network Twente Foundation, whose main goal is to assist international students with their transition to life at uni here in the Netherlands. In addition, I was accepted on the Master’s Honours Programme at UT, which is called Change Leaders. My major interest is entrepreneurship. In 2011, shortly after finishing my Bachelor’s, I founded my first company and I am currently involved in a couple of start-ups.

UT the entrepreneurial university

Naturally, I was looking for a university with a strong entrepreneurial culture in which to continue my education, and I did not have to look further than UT. The university itself was founded by entrepreneurs and offers a vast amount of knowledge in the subject. Various companies work together on entrepreneurship, which strengthens their innovative power and the regional economy. The Venture Lab is Twente’s very own growth accelerator for start-ups and established companies, so this is the perfect environment and infrastructure for enterprising students. No wonder there have been over 800 spin-off companies created at UT over the past twenty years, the majority of which were founded by students.

High Tech, Human Touch

In recent years UT has established itself as one of the leading technological universities mainly because of the cutting-edge Nanotechnology and Biomedical Engineering research conducted here. I find the unique blend of students with engineering, social science and business backgrounds to be particularly appealing. The interaction is very enriching. There are not many universities out there where a business student can visit a nano lab and observe the process of nano-particle synthesis. And this is just one small example of the different worlds you can explore at UT.

Excellence programme: Change Leaders

As I mentioned, I’m also in UT’s Change Leaders honours programme for Master’s students. I was thrilled when I was inducted into the programme, and now, one year later, I couldn’t be happier. What sets it apart from other leadership-related programmes and classes I have attended is that the programme is comprised of two parts: one cognitive, one experiential. In the cognitive part we examined all kinds of studies on the topic of leadership and had amazing guest lecturers. The speakers were all leaders in their respective fields, including a couple of renowned CEOs, a managing partner in a law firm and a best-selling author. While this was great, the icing on the cake was the experiential part, which involved individual coaching by professional leadership instructors. The focus here was to develop leadership skills through training and coaching on how to achieve real results in challenging projects. Converting knowledge into hands-on practice is the absolute best way to ensure you retain what you’ve learned.

Dutch culture

The Netherlands is a great country and it’s fun to explore Dutch culture. It’s really great that everyone here speaks English: you can easily get by without knowing a word of Dutch. Still, if you plan to stay longer or pursue a career in the Netherlands, it is advisable to have a crack at learning the language. It will boost your job prospects and help you connect better with the locals. Generally, Dutch people are open-minded and liberal, but at the same time set in their ways. As the saying goes, come for the academics, stay for the people.

Read more information about the Master's programme Business Administration

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