For many years I used to wonder what to do with my life. In my HAVO days (Dutch higher secondary education) I never felt very motivated.
After graduation I decided to go for a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at HBO level (university of applied sciences). Still feeling the need for some additional challenge, I took a side job with a bank in my third year of studies. Unfortunately, the banking industry turned out to be shrinking. In the end, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Twente to improve my future prospects.
I must admit I was a bit scared that the educational level might be too high. Although I didn’t doubt my cognitive abilities, I knew that motivation had always been my problem. But once I had entered the preparatory pre-Master’s programme, I thoroughly enjoyed it. And because I enjoyed it, I also made the effort required. I found that the level wasn’t too bad after all, it only took me some time to get used to everything being in English. But I soon adapted to that as well. The UT turned out to be an exciting world of discussion and participation. Finally I had found the challenge I had always been looking for.
After starting out as a Master’s student at the UT you soon realise you came here to learn something, not just to get a degree. I myself feel motivated by the group assignments and gladly take part in discussions, which I never used to do. I also experience excellent support when I need it. The campus, of course, is fantastic, with many facilities that are also at your disposal during the weekend. I can truly say that at the UT I have found the right spot for myself – and, in a sense, discovered who I really am.
I am now very close to graduation, with Purchasing and Supply Management as my specialization. During my time with the bank, I discovered that I enjoy negotiating with companies. Moreover, for my HBO graduation assignment on the ISO 9001 standard I had already acquainted myself with supplier management and found it to be a field that I wanted to explore further. It’s especially the business-to-business part that appeals to me, the relationships between companies. More and more companies are outsourcing, so purchasing is becoming more and more important. That is also the subject of my Master’s assignment at Thales. After finishing the assignment I was even given a great job at Thales as Supplier Account Purchaser.
Now what would I tell HBO students also considering getting a Master's degree? Just try it. Avoid future regrets that you never did. Find out what you are capable of. Many people are put off by the educational level, they think that studying at a university is really much tougher than HBO. But it’s not so bad, as long as you do something your heart is in and really go for it. You’ll be surprised, about yourself even. Following up an HBO Bachelor with a university Master is probably an ideal mix to ensure career opportunities. You will deepen your practice-oriented knowledge and thereby increase your chances on the job market.