Business School Netherlands chats to ambitious MBA student, Laurie Meiring

BSN MBA Student Laurie MeiringSouth African Laurie Meiring started his MBA at Business School Netherlands in June 2016. He’s the restaurant manager at the prestigious Westin Hotel in Cape Town. Last month, he visited the Netherlands for his second round of workshops in Buren, where BSN’s “headquarters” are located. Laurie is extremely happy he made the choice to do an MBA at BSN.

Laurie: ‘My experience thus far in the MBA has improved my professional language and opened up considerable opportunities with more responses to my CV sent out in new job applications. There is a strong chance I will take up a more senior position within a new hotel in the coming months. I am sure this opportunity would not have come about without my progress made in this MBA.’

1. How did you hear about BSN and the Action Learning MBA?
‘A colleague of my wife referred me to the Action Learning MBA while he himself was in the process of completing this MBA. He spoke highly of the benefits and the Action Learning methods, as well as the opportunities that have come about since his commencement of an MBA.’

2. What has been the biggest insight, eye-opener, been so far?
‘The most insightful and eye-opening benefits thus far have been related to the subject of Information Management and the surrounding technology and Tech concepts. With no IT background or special IT skills, excelling in this general field in my assignments has been a surprising revelation, though it could not have happened at a better time as the world is advancing more and more rapidly in various tech ways and as a leader it could be easy to get left behind.’

3. You call our programme ‘so current’ and ‘innovative’ – how does that reflect in the core courses?
‘In the prescribed reading and the nature of the workshops, I have found the teaching and studies to be extremely current, especially in comparison to my Bachelor’s studies, whereby the focus was much more historical, with little focus on current trends. In terms of innovative thinking, before this course I truly did not even know how innovation applied in the realm of business. Through my workshops and much of the reading, there has been a constant focus on innovation, as well as disruption, and how people and organisations are going about this currently. This has been massively inspiring for me and has led to considerable innovative thinking in my own professional life.’

4. What is your personal goal in terms of both your business (career) as well as your personal life you hope to gain through this MBA?
‘My goal at the commencement of this MBA was two-fold; (1) to build on my current career as a Hospitality Professional and in reaching a more senior level within the hotel and restaurant field while (2), also keeping an open mind to a potential shift into another industry while not knowing exactly what this type of shift might look like.’

5. How do you like working and brainstorming with a subset?
‘The diversity of subset members is the biggest benefit, with the opportunities to learn alternative points of view and which systems work in which type of business environments. It has also been rewarding to get to know professionals from various countries in a personal capacity.’

6. You compare the program with a software update on your computer – how has it upgraded your personality, managerial style and leadership style so far?
‘It has definitely equated to a more mature leadership product as a manager. The Action Learning methods have led to a high absorption of the various subjects and nuances, which altogether drive a more well-rounded type of leader. Prior to the MBA I relied considerably on instinctual and gut feelings, though since the MBA I am researching so much that I am constantly learning and broadening my ideas of what it means to be a leader. The information management focus has also led me to focus much more on data and what the data is presenting over what my gut feeling is, the rewarding part of this is when the data defies my instinct and while humbling this experience is ultimately rewarding as it takes you out of your comfort zone.’

7. What has been the most inspirational course, tutor or other ‘event’ during the MBA so far?
‘Both Professor Turken and Professor van Zijl were highly inspiring in their lectures, while I have definitely tapped into the support offered by Professor van Zijl as a “Conversation Partner”. His mentoring and guiding has been highly valuable in leading me through the process of the first year and the first big assignments.’

8. You call the trip to the Netherlands a ‘cultural enjoyable experience’ – what’s most enjoyable about it?
‘As a South African I am aware of the connection to Holland with the history of our countries and the Dutch immigration to South Africa. As a hospitality professional, the many restaurants visited through the BSN programme have been fantastic and it has especially been interesting to learn the Dutch national obsession with fries 🙂 ’

9. Why is life-long-learning essential to you?
‘This MBA process thus far has definitely opened my eyes to the values of on-going learning. My goals above mentioned advancing in my career or potential career shifts though will admit a part of me felt the MBA might only be the acquiring of a “piece of paper” as opposed to the massive learning experience that it is and continues to be.’

10. Where do you hope to be in five years from now?
‘I would like to be in a C-Suite Executive position within 5 years from now. My immediate goal is to return to an SMT or EXCO level of management position within a reputed hotel and hope to do so within the next year and hopefully with my MBA-realised skills I can take the next step to an Executive position within a hotel group once I have graduated from my MBA. That said I requested DBA material today from BSN and will include this in my goals as I think I could easily continue my studies after the completion of my MBA.’

Also watch our video interview with Laurie after completing his first conference week in the Netherlands

For more information on our Action Learning MBA and Management Programmes, send an email to international@bsn.eu.

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