Passionate leaders on the first MBA Alumni Day


On March 29, 2017, the time had come! The alumni day for modular MBA students at the ever-inspiring Nyenrode. Great to come ‘home’ again. Not only to be inspired by content, but mainly to have this enjoyable talk with like-minded people. Because, in daily life, one very seldom encounters so many smart and ambitious people in one place.



Bas Kodden opened the meeting with the question: ‘What do Max Verstappen, Tiger Woods and Andre Agassi have in common?’ The answer: the focus of a maniacal father or mother. This ‘passion’ (according to Google: enthusiasm, inspiration, eagerness) is the predictor of lasting achievements. This is evidenced by his research. This means that talent is good, but that character is everything. Character is the discipline to commit to focused exercise and perseverance during setbacks. Companies that focus their management on staff satisfaction are busy with the past. Focus on passion!



Kirsten Heukels rocked the stage! Kirsten masters the ‘art’ of scanning faces for micro expressions, emotions and behavioral characteristics. For the Netflix watchers among us: the real version of the series ‘Lie to me’. Kirsten claims: ‘The expression of the eyes cannot ever lie, not even after an intensive use of Botox. ‘ We analyzed clips featuring Barack and Michelle Obama, Donald and Melania Trump and the Clintons. But without sound. Wow! After a few tips from Kirsten, it is incredible how you can analyze quickly what someone is really thinking.

Henk van Weitgraven, director of the UWV (the Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency), had the honor to introduce the leadership game. He claimed that disruptive change does not work. You will have to adapt. Henk took us along into the trends of food printing, internet of things, virtual reality and robotics. An interesting question you could ask yourself is: What would my business look like without its physical part?



Jan Veldsink guided the management game about leadership in extremes. In groups, we worked on the statement: What would Holland or Nyenrode look like after Trumpean leadership has triumphed? We outlined worlds full of corruption, lies, but a radical simplification of democracy as well. Money and power were the key success factors. Then we had to formulate a counter-message. Some of the groups held the opinion that facts should be checked aggressively to counteract populist yelling. Others believed that, instead of shouting back, you had to focus on explaining the complexity of the problem.

On my way back home, I realized what it is what I appreciate so much about my visits to Nyenrode. The nuance and complexity of the business and, secretly, life.


Joey Gonesh (20123303)