Mirjam Kort

Our students are the core of the MaastrichtMBA programme. Students with a broad diversity on nationality, age and even professional background. The insights and thoughts of our MBA students describe the true experience of MaastrichtMBA. This time we talked with our Dutch student Mirjam Kort. She works as Head of Internal Affairs at VluchtelingenWerk Zuidwest-Nederland, an institution that represents the interests of refugees and asylum seekers in the Netherlands, from entry to integration into society. Mirjam joined our Executive MBA in February 2020.

FAST FACTS

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Start programme: February 2020
  • Entry age: 31 years
  • Track: Executive MBA – Responsible Leadership and Sustainability
  • Company: VluchtelingenWerk Zuidwest-Nederland
  • Job title: Head of Internal Affairs

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE AN MBA?

I have a background in international business and strategic management, but having been in the workplace for quite a while now triggered me to start studying again. When attending university after high school, much of the theory is just that… theory. With more work and management experience, I can apply some of the things we learn to the work environment immediately. Moreover, some of the (worldwide issues) we address in-group sessions are much more interesting since we have more work and life experience to share than we would have at the age of 18.

Attending a program with people from various cultural backgrounds and different work experiences is important to me as I like to be inspired by my fellow students, to get new perspectives and to make use of each other as sparring partners.

WHICH SKILLS DO YOU WANT TO REFINE DURING THE EXECUTIVE MBA TRACK?

With life and society moving ever faster, I like to use the Executive MBA track for reflection on the decisions I take in my work and on the leadership path I want to choose. For me personal leadership and personal growth are the most important ‘skills’ I want to polish.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE FOR THE EXECUTIVE MBA AT MAASTRICHTMBA?

I particularly like the international setting of the program. We get the chance to build a network outside our company and country of residence. In addition, I like the modular set up, this allows me to combine the MBA with my work and private life.

IN ADDITION, WHY DID YOU CHOOSE FOR THE RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP & SUSTAINABILITY?

When I was at university, no courses were offered on Leadership and Sustainability. When I started this MBA, my first module was on sustainability and it was very inspirational. Knowledge on these topics has improved so much in recent years and I think every business leader should act on challenges of sustainability. Moreover, as traditional leadership thinking is over, we as MBA students can pave the way for a different type of leadership that focuses more on sustainable relations with our world and the people who live in it. This will apply regardless of the organisations people work in.

HOW DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS EXECUTIVE MBA?

I think lifelong learning is an important aspect for job satisfaction, and more generally: for happiness in life. New knowledge and new skills gives me an energy boost and it will help me in any organisation I work with in the future.

With all students coming from different backgrounds, one thing I will get out of this MBA is for sure: a global and balanced perspective on challenges we face in our work.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST ENJOYABLE PART OF THE COURSE SO FAR?

I like the mix of lectures, casework, sessions with entrepreneurs and socialising with other students. Particularly, the module on sustainability appealed to me because so much new information and insights were shared.

AND HOW DO YOU EXPERIENCE THE MAASTRICHTMBA PROGRAM AFTER THE CORONA BREAKOUT?

At first, I was disappointed that the May module was postponed until the end of August. However, in the end it was possible to attend the module face to face and that was a worthwhile experience. I think the MBA staff tries her best to accommodate everyone and that it is challenging to make the right choices, amid all the current uncertainties especially as it is a very international program.

ANY TIPS FOR SOMEONE THINKING ABOUT APPLYING FOR MAASTRICHTMBA?

Personally, I spent some time in doubt whether or not to enroll in an executive MBA. In hindsight I would say, if you are interested in an MBA choose a university and a program that feels best and then just go for it. And remember, you don’t have to work at a large company to apply for an MBA. I encourage especially people from (semi)-public organizations and NGO’s to apply because advancing your leadership skills will benefit both you as a person and any organisation you will work for.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME MIRJAM. WE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST WITH YOUR MBA LEARNING JOURNEY!

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