Student Robbert Hornstra

Robbert Hornstra
  • Name: Robbert Hornstra
  • Date of birth: 04-01-1989
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Program: Strategic Management

"I also really like the atmosphere. The lecturers are easily accessible and really eager to help you when you are stuck. It is also great to hang out with your fellow students and you make friends easily."

Student Robbert Hornstra about the program:

Why did you choose Tilburg University?

I think Tilburg University has a lot to offer. Especially the Tilburg School of Economics and Management is highly regarded internationally, which guarantees very good study programs and a diploma that is worth more than average. The campus is also very nice and green. Compared to some other universities, I think the atmosphere is a little more relaxed and less competitive, without compromising on quality.

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What was the reason to choose your specific Master's program?

I have been interested in business pretty much all my life. Strategic Management is the only program that offers me a great business scope with in-depth knowledge about creating and implementing a strategy. You get to learn what it is like to be in the top of an organization and decide on its direction into the future. This appealed to me very much because the strategic decisions you could make can have a very large impact on an entire organization and all its employees. This is also the reason this program fits my dream to become an entrepreneur one day.

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What is special about the program?

What I particularly like about this Master's program is that there are several courses in which we use real-life examples. We discuss what went wrong in a company, what should have been done, and how it all relates to the theory we learn.

Another nice characteristic is that there is a lot of group work for the courses’ projects. This is great since you get to meet a lot of new and also international people. Besides, you learn more because you have to discuss the progress of your project with your team members and you develop skills that are really useful for your future job, like time management or being a team player.

What you will hear frequently is that you work in a pressure-cooker environment. Since the year is divided into four units, you complete a course quicker than you were used to do in your Bachelor. This requires you to do the same work in less time. This is even more emphasized by the group work. You can’t wait with working on your assignment until the last week of the unit. In this "pressure cooker", you are constantly working on your courses which brings you in some sort of flow and prevents you from having to do everything at the last moment.

Last but not least, you can get into contact with various companies, consulting firms but also, for instance, startups. This gives you a better picture of how a strategy is created in reality and gives you an idea of what to expect when you enter the job market.

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What do you think about Tilburg University campus and its facilities?

I think the campus of Tilburg University is very nice. It is pretty green and everything you need is within short walking distance. When it’s sunny outside, you can lie in the grass or take a walk in the adjacent park. There are also several places on and right next to the campus where you can eat, grab a snack, or have coffee.

You will probably spend quite some time in the library. This is a good and modern place to work, with new computers, dual screens, all the software you need, and a separate silent zone. Actually, there are many places across the campus where you can study. The university also has its own sports center, which has recently been renovated. If you don’t live in Tilburg, there is the great advantage that Tilburg University has its own train station and, if you come by car, a lot of free parking space. The city center is only 10 minutes by bike.

If you come to Tilburg University, you should definitely consider becoming an active member of one of the many study and student associations. I have done a full-time board year at Asset, which is the largest study association in Tilburg and even one of the largest in Europe. I had an awesome time. I learned really a lot about business, I developed my skills, and got to meet a lot of interesting people and new friends. If you are not in for a board year, you can still benefit from being an active member. Companies really appreciate these kinds of extracurricular activities, which increase your chances on the job market. If you are not an active member, there are also a lot of both formal and informal activities to participate in. There are numerous parties, drinks, but also career events, symposiums, etc. The options are plentiful so make use of them and enjoy!

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What are your experiences with the program and Tilburg University so far?

I really like the program! Although it might seem that Strategic Management is a very broad study program, you really get into depth and learn what it is like to run an organization and decide its future course. Strategy is a broad topic since it has an effect on an entire organization, but developing and implementing a strategy is a very specific job.

All the separate courses cover one particular topic that is important for your future job. This is exemplified, for instance, by the Strategy Implementation course, in which we use students’ reports from an earlier course, Business-Level Strategy. In the latter, you design a strategy, but then it needs to be implemented, which requires a quite different approach. All the courses complement each other and give you a very good picture of what it is to be a strategic manager.

I also really like the atmosphere. The lecturers are easily accessible and really eager to help you when you are stuck. It is also great to hang out with your fellow students and you make friends easily.

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What are your career aspirations?

Since every organization needs a strategy, Strategic Management offers you the possibility to practically work anywhere you want. The vast possibilities might also make it difficult to find out which organization you want to work for exactly. At least, that’s the case for me. However, I am ambitious and therefore want to end up in a high position in a global company. In order to get there, I would prefer starting in a traineeship at an internationally-minded organization that sells tangible consumer products. One day, I would also like to have my own company. Whatever it’s going to be for you, I think the Master in Strategic Management really offers a great head start for your career!

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