At thenextweb conference I interviewed several former students of the Amsterdam University of applied sciences about their career and spoke educators and Entrepreneurs about dream jobs, education and social networks.
I spoke Mark Randall(Chief Strategist of Adobe) about creating a dream job and the way he hires his staff. ” I look at peoples work, when hiring. Their CV doesn’t interest me at all. Great work and referrals make my clock tick!” So how will our students fit in a company like Adobe and how could they create their dream job? “Well at first they have to realize a portfolio of their work and search for a great manager or entrepreneur they would like to work for, cause your education starts after college and better work for an inspiring manager at a small firm than an asshole at a big corporate”
Sophie op den Kamp(graduated 2010, communication) is now working for TQ as an enabler(her own function description) and is responsible for the startup program of this Tech hub in Amsterdam. She thinks she has a dream job, cause she can combine motherhood and career in this firm were family values are important and employees can work flexible hours. “Our company feels like a family, it’s great to have a shared vision and work hard for the same goals”.
Mark Randall is also very interested in the development of education, a couple of years ago, he gave an inspiring talk at thenextweb(TNW 2011) about his four year old daughter and his concerns about her education. The fact that a lot of education is still traditionally organized surprised him. In the meantime he has found a nice school for his girl, but his concern about developing 21 century skills is still there. I introduced him to Valery Bos(first year student Cultural studies) and she told him her struggle with the system, being an entrepreneur herself, and having several assignments of the municipality of Almere. At this moment she decided to stop her studies, while she can’t combine her work anymore with her study. She got her propedeuse degree, but hopes in the future to obtain more points by doing classes she is interested in. At the moment the University of Amsterdam is experimenting with these possibilities.
Mark told us: “I started my company and is was so successful that Adobe bought it. They wanted me as their employee, but at the moment they heard I didn’t finish my education, I didn’t fit in the system. Off course they made an exception, but it was not the normal route. Nowadays they ask everybody to have a University degree. I am still more impressed by somebody who can actually do the job, so I stopped reading CV’s!”
Another former student I met at thenextweb conference was Nick de Bruijn(Founder of Lifely). He dropped out of University a couple years ago, but is now the proud CEO of an international software development company with 30 employees. I think Mark Randall will advise Adobe within a year to buy this company, because of their work!
A colleague of mine Harry Zengerink(manager DMCI) stated during this conference: ” You always have to ask yourself is your design or idea contributing to a better quality of life, so f##k all the account managers who are trying to sell their products, it is not about selling but about developing products people need to improve their lives!” This kind of statements also influence the way we look at education and I hope we can improve education by looking through this lens. Our classes shouldn’t be about acquiring knowledge only, but also about helping our students to improve their lives and find ways to improve society as well.
Growth hacking guru Peter Sabben(Growthtribe) started two years ago with support of the University and the municipality his growth hacking academy. As we speak, he already educated over 2000 master students and 80% of his students found a job after this course. The mix of real life assignments and working in multidisciplinary teams made his academy extremely successful. Especially the multidisciplinary approach inspires me. An example of the direction academic education should develop in.
I also interviewed Robert Gaal(Managing director TQ) who wrote about my classes entrepreneurship in the financial dagblad(FD, 2011). He’s an example of an entrepreneur who started his company during his studies(Wakoopa) and started to work for Google after he sold his company. By google he functioned as an intrapreneur and developed a new service. Now he’s back in Holland and working again as an intrapreneur for TQ. An other example of somebody who creates his dreamjob by showing what he’s worth!
My last ex-student I want to introduce is Raghenie Bagwhanie(graduated 2010 in communication). She is a freelancer, a social butterfly, as she says herself. She developed herself as a digital strategist and gives companies advise about how they should adjust their communication on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. For me it is great to see that former students as Rhagenie and Sophie created their own jobs over the years. Jobs we didn’t prepare them for during university, while we didn’t know these jobs should exist in the future, during their University career, I think we did help them to become more independent of the opinions of others and to have belief in their own strength. As I am walking over the territory of the Westerpark I am proud about their development and the tiny influence I had on their lives.
If you like to listen to the interviews I conducted follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL67N1S6rvMtoDp4tTJ0ROR5ZFo6NzkFfA