Who? Linde Erinkveld (1995)
Studied: Master's in Business Administration
First job: stocking shelves at the Supercoop supermarket
Favourite place at the UvA: the Crea-café, a traditional brown café in a university setting that has a nice, homey atmosphere
Essential: proactivity, the opportunity and ability to say what you want or what you think and the courage to be yourself
'Most of all, secondary school was lots of fun. I studied hard, but I was also very social; I got along with everyone. My parents definitely encouraged getting an education. At school, I really enjoyed the subject Management and Organisation. I already knew by the time I was nine years old that I wanted to go to university in Nijmegen – I am from the eastern part of the country, near Doetinchem and Arnhem. I enrolled in the Bachelor's degree programme in Business Administration; the choice was easy. After I obtained my Bachelor's, I was kind of done with Nijmegen. The Master's programmes offered there focused mainly on consultancy or banks. It sounded stuffy to me. I like discovering things and being more creative, so I left for Amsterdam.'
'After all, Amsterdam is the big, creative city in the Netherlands; I fit right in. The UvA is home to Crea, where you can take courses and foster your creativity. In addition to my studies, I sang and took musical workshops. The city has a lot to offer in terms of employment as well. There are loads of businesses and media companies in the area, and you have all kinds of options in the field of consultancy, too. Indeed, even though consultancy had sounded boring to me, I ended up really enjoying it. It is a field in which you can develop broadly because you work on multiple projects and get acquainted with multiple companies. You get a good overall idea of organisations. That gives me an opportunity to brainstorm about a lot of things and discover what really fits me.'
I wanted to combine creativity with business administration.
'I chose the Master's in Business Administration, but most of all the Entrepreneurship and Management in the Creative Industries specialisation. This allowed me to combine my creative interests with business administration. In addition to the general courses on strategies and marketing, we covered a different creative industry every week during the first phase of the Master's. Fashion, opera, literature, you name it. We discussed why some companies advertised extensively and others did not – we always looked for the strategies behind the choice. That was the focus in my Master's specialisation, but I also took a course on performance management, for example; more about the HR side, in other words. There are many directions you can take, even if you choose a fairly specific specialisation.'
During UvA in Carré, prominent people from big name companies talked about their organisation and vision.
'A unique component in the Master's in Business Administration programme were the UvA seminars in Carré that we attended during the first semester. Prominent people from big name companies such as ING and VodafoneZiggo gave talks at the Carré theatre about their organisation, their vision and their ideas of the future. They discussed what they predict will happen in their field. It was very interesting to get a glimpse into the big organisations this way. Although the university normally seems to be fairly removed from the professional field, the UvA makes a lot of effort to involve the business community in degree programmes such as mine, not only in the electives that involve visits to companies, but also through something like UvA in Carré.'
'To me, the most inspiring UvA in Carré seminar was the one led by the CEO of VodafoneZiggo. He is the head of a company that encourages digital connection and sells mobile phones, but he, too, sees how all the people waiting on a platform for their train are glued to their screens. So as the CEO of a company that supports digital media, he was also focusing attention on promoting offline connection. This is something that interests me, too; how online means can help stimulate offline communication. I just started working as a digital consultant; I really love it. Right now, it is still mainly about getting oriented, but I hope to be able to start a project soon.'
At the UvA, I learned to be more vocal about what I think and want.
'I definitely think there is such a thing as a UvA DNA. Of course, part of that comes from Amsterdam itself, because this city gives you the freedom to do what you like. Nobody raises an eyebrow when you, say, perform in musicals like I do; in fact, people like it. In Amsterdam, you have the freedom to be yourself; the culture is diverse. In that regard, the city is different from the rest of the Netherlands. You see that reflected at the UvA, too. There are all sorts of different backgrounds and interests that get along fine together. At the UvA, I learned to be more vocal about what I think and want.'