Ivor De Kock (43), Head of Branch Distribution Support at Old Mutual, is an MBA-student at Business School Netherlands. He recently attended the second and final conference week in Buren, the Netherlands. We took the opportunity of interviewing him, asking him about what inspired him to join our International Action Learning MBA programme, and also how his MBA-journey has been so far.
You’ve been working for Old Mutual for a long time, can you tell us about your career path?
“When I was 18, I started working for Old Mutual and sold insurance. I did this for nine years and after that, I was promoted to a Branch Manager and filled this position for three years. I then got an opportunity at Capitec Bank and worked as a Regional Manager where I was introduced to the world of lending and transactional banking. When Old Mutual started rolling out Retail Branches 11 years ago, where they give their customers a one-stop-shop for their financial needs, I was given an opportunity to join Old Mutual again. At the moment I am responsible for Branch Operations in Old Mutual Finance’s 360 Retail Branches. This means I am responsible for the operational processes and system-related matters that help the Retail Branches work more efficiently.”
Why did you want to do an MBA?
“After high school, I was not in a financial position to study fulltime, however, I have always been ambitious. I wanted to do an MBA and I did an Advanced Management Course, so I knew that it sparked my interests. At first, I thought I could not enroll because I did not have an official Bachelor degree. I later found out that because of my 18 years relevant experience I was eligible to enroll.”
Why did you choose Business School Netherlands (BSN)?
“I have done a lot of research to see which MBA suits me best and I discovered that I like the practical learning philosophy of Action Learning. Considering that I have a busy and demanding full-time job, it works out really well for me that I only have to go to the Netherlands twice for a two-week visit. The rest of the studying I can do at home. I have to study each weekend and a few nights a week, so I do need a lot of self-discipline, but so far so good! The other important reason why I chose BSN is because of the international character of it. People from all over the world come together and it is inspiring to see and hear all these different perspectives.”
Can you tell me about your Action Learning projects?
“The first topic was related to ‘Retention in the sales force’. First, I addressed the question about what the status of retention of the sales force was. If staff retention is low, the cost to company will be relatively high. You can only address this problem when you know the type of employee who is likely to display a particular behaviour. The key is to understand why certain employees contribute many years of service versus employees who are prone to short terms of service. I found out that the millennials are typical examples of staff who do not invest many years of service in a company, but rather seek opportunities elsewhere when unsatisfied.”
“The second Action Learning Project relates to our Transactional Banking Account and ideas on how to improve the overall customer experience and making it a very viable product for Old Mutual and a very competitive product offering in the market”.
What do you think of the Netherlands?
“I look forward to the change of scenery during the scheduled times that I need to visit the Netherlands. The actual lecturing days are long and we only have a little time to explore what Netherlands has to offer in terms of history and natural beauty. People are friendly and respectful towards each other, which makes me feel very welcomed. I especially appreciate the different cultures that can be found in the Netherlands as it reminds me of home and the feeling of Ubuntu and Diversity. What stands out for me in particular is how well everything is organised and how well everything works. I am mostly intrigued by the overall experience and opportunity and feel very fortunate to be on this journey.”
Also read our interview with Business School Netherlands Alumnus Laurie Meiring MBA: A path to cum laude
For more information on our Action Learning MBA and Management Programmes, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.