'This Master's really triggers your entrepreneurial mind'
“I think it’s safe to say that I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mind. Before starting any studies, I went to the United States to work at a farm, just because I was not sure of what I wanted to study yet. And since I was born in the US – my parents had a dairy farm at the time – it felt right to spend some time there.
Starting up my own business
We had built up a network of Dutch farmers working in the United States and I found that they worked with a typical American loader. The European type, which they preferred, was not available in the US. I immediately saw the business opportunity there, so my dad and I started a business importing European wheel-loaders into the USA. After some detours, it resulted in the start-up Miniloaders.com. At that time, I had just started my Bachelor’s in International Business Administration at the University of Twente.
I did not hesitate long before deciding to follow up with the Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Twente. The programme itself, as well as the University of Twente, is strongly focused on entrepreneurship and that is something that really speaks to me. Think of Novel-T and the Dutch Student Investment Fund, but also study association Stress, that organises interesting guest lectures about entrepreneurship. The campus is an inspiring environment that triggers the entrepreneurial mind.
Focus on international business
Within my Master’s, I chose the specialisation International Management & Consultancy. An evident choice, since I’m doing business internationally myself. This specialisation provided me with very interesting knowledge and skills that I can apply in my daily practice immediately. But also the other way around; certain theories become more clear because of my own experiences.
Dealing with cultural differences
For example, the course Cross-cultural Behaviour made me aware of cultural differences and how to cope with this in working across borders. I strongly recognise this in maintaining contacts with our customers, for example. Dutch people are known for their directness and especially Americans in the South or Midwest of the country do not always appreciate this approach.
What I like is that this Master’s really taught me to reflect critically. Before my studies, I had learnt a lot ‘on the job’, just by doing. But through this Master’s, you learn the underlying concepts and principles. I really got in-depth insights into doing business successfully and this theoretical foundation will be fruitful in the further development of our business.”