I moved to Rotterdam from a small town in North Limburg in 1993. I started out as an Econometrics student. Later on, I switched to the Business Economics programme at Erasmus School of Economics. As can be gathered from my year of graduation, it took me a respectable 11 years to obtain my degree. Fortunately, this was not – or rather, not only – due to my enjoying student life to the full. Rather, my activities in this period have had an impact on my life to this very day: I actually launched my career as an entrepreneur while I was still a student.
I thank my time in the Econometrics programme (of which I only rounded off the first year) for my special interest in data analysis. It has allowed me to set up the specific, data-driven operational management structure that – in my humble opinion – is vital for an organisation that serves such a large number of customers as NLE. Nevertheless, I remember feeling somewhat frustrated by econometrists’ attempts to capture psychological processes in an abstract formula – with disruptive effect. Because that was my key ‘take-away’ from the degree programme that I did round off eventually: that human behaviour – which generally speaking cannot be considered rational – plays a crucial role in day-to-day economics.
I became a member of the student association Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps (RSC) in the very first year of my studies. It marked the start of a terrific period in my life. I cherish the memory of the countless hours I spent flat out on the couch in my student house – which has long since been declared unfit for habitation. It prepared me for the period that followed, in which there would be no more opportunity to slack off.
After graduating, I have always stayed in touch with Professor Willem Verbeke, who was my thesis supervisor. When he invited me to lecture in his Sales Leadership programme at the EUR-affiliated Institute for Sales and Account Management a few years ago, I didn’t think twice. It’s wonderful to be able to share my own experiences in a setting so familiar to me.
And finally, for those existing and prospective students reading these testimonials who are considering going into business during or after their studies: don’t hesitate. I can sincerely recommend it. Erasmus School of Economics will provide you with the foundation you need to start with confidence – just like I did. And, stay ‘Rotterdam’ about it: don’t take yourself too seriously…