Alumni of the Month March 2009

Niels van den Bosch (2006 Business Administration)

aom_Niels van den Bosch How did you get to where you are now?
By looking around, being curious, setting certain goals and persistence in wanting to reach those certain goals. I did a post-graduate BBA at IM&B in the Netherlands through the business school there is the opportunity to study at Keele University’s International Executive MBA. I chose these studies because it combines theory, research and business in a manner that Dutch Universities did not provide. The synergy between the English and Dutch cohorts is a unique experience. It has provided me with new national and international business insights and friends for life.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I have always been fond of new business initiatives. I think it’s the entrepreneurial spirit that makes it such fun; partially due to a long family history of entrepreneurs. As a kid I always sold off items I had just acquired - trying to find the best deals in the market and selling them on again, much to the joy of the buying party. In 2007 I joined a Swedish bank specialising in Non-Performing Loans with the intention of setting up Benelux entities. Together with 2 CEO’s and with the support of the group’s HQ we started off. Looking at where we stand today one can conclude that the start-up has been very successful. I am very content with the business we are generating and how the local offices are maturing bit by bit.   

And your biggest mistake?
In my opinion mistakes are there to help learn and set the right track. For myself it has been learning to research and review more instead of just starting off. A thing that always comes to my mind is Kolb’s learning cycle. This clearly states one should actively experiment (thereby encountering mistakes and successes), this generates feedback (learning) that helps you adapt your ideas and theories (stronger).

What are your ambitions now?
To enjoy creating business, networking and enhancing experiences. Ambition sharpens the mentality and sprouts a continuous curiosity for education & experiences.,,, even if the road is less travelled.   

What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field?
The financial service industry has become fast moving and globally connected, thus making it full of opportunities. Having your own insights and ideas on the branch helps, be open for new views, perspectives. Persistence in combination with innovation will clearly work. My advice to anyone is that work should spark a smile. Since most time in life is spent working, why not make it work for yourself?   

What made you choose Keele University?
Most definitely the campus with its international flavour. Of course, there was the opportunity to continue my Business Administration study at Keele, which made it a logical choice. Moreover a MBA degree is an “Anglo-Saxon degree”, so it’s very preferable for it to be studied in England.  

How has Keele influenced your life?
It has taught me to review issues at hand in different manners. There are always different ways to cope with certain issues. Furthermore friends and networking matter to me a lot. Keele has brought me this substantially.  

What are your favourite memories of Keele?
The long nights at campus bars and the never ending discussions on business topics. The interaction between the English and Dutch cohorts is just superb.    But a memory that pops up is the first cab ride on our first visit to Keele. We had to go from the restaurant back to Keele on a Friday night. Just after dinner we ordered several cabs to take us back. As there were at least 20 students we took up quite some capacity of the local logistics. The cabs came pulling in one by one and  the group started to shrink. I and three study friends were left with the last cab. As Dutch guys have a tendency to be at least 5 foot 9 this became a issue for the “spacious” Ford Mondeo of 1993 that had pulled up. Once we had managed to fit ourselves into car, it appeared that our cab driver had become somewhat nervous of the rather large cargo he had bestowed upon himself. Probably knowing that Keele Road, coming from Newcastle-under-Lyme, is an uphill climb - somewhat of a battle if you will. The engine noise was far beyond that of anything recognisable. The usual 7 minute drive took the car an astonishing 22 minutes in first gear. To our minds a new local record. As I was the first to get out of the car, I couldn’t help noticing that the car was glued to the ground. Any boy racer would have been jealous of this suspension work - thus explaining the odd looks we encountered underway. Whilst the other guys were getting out one by one the car rose to its original heights, much to the happiness of our chauffeur. From that moment on we decided to shift a bit more with the characteristics of the group.

And your worst?
Was a specific lunchtime. Somewhere in mid January they left our lunch outside of the Hawthorn Building. The lunch package contained a typical English muffin wrapped in a fancy coloured see-through foil. The muffin was made by “The fabulous baking boys”. And I will never forget the formidable marketing phrase the package contained. It stated: “Your muffin is even nicer when it’s warm.” Mid January temperature was about -4 during lunchtime, the muffin was at least that. It was a good laugh though.

Anything else you would like to add?
Keele is and remains a unique experience. Through my link with IM&B I have the opportunity to pass by the university now and then. Talk with the MBA lecturers and professors always sparks nostalgia, new ideas and a different point of view. Many thanks to Keele University and the people that make it happen!