Bart Kampschreur (30) began his academic career as a student of law. ‘Fun, interesting, but not really my thing.’ After snooping his way around a number of companies, he eventually made his way into marketing. He took a NIMA course to see whether his enthusiasm would stick (yes!) before settling in Nijmegen for Pre-Master’s and Master’s study programmes in marketing. He has been running a TikTok label for a few months.
“Even ‘wrong’ choices can teach you a lot”
I’m convinced my mum will be fully into TikTok too in two years’ time
Director Vortex Agency
What did you want to be as a child?
"I read a lot of fantasy books and thrillers, enjoyed playing games - particularly online ones. It seemed cool to do something like that, but I had no actual ideas about how to go about it.”
You went to study Law.
“Yes, because I adored discussion and debate too. Although, at the same time, I was mostly trying to win my arguments, haha. I really had to learn how to debate in a nuanced way.”
Why did you quit?
“I found the study fun and interesting, but I didn’t see myself working as a lawyer. That seemed a bit stuffy and aloof. What I actually did want, I didn’t know. So I then started hiring myself out as a jack-of-all-trades: to an accountant, a software company, a phone card vendor. Family members who had their own businesses helped me out, with administration and invoicing, for example.”
How did you come up with the idea of studying Marketing?
“I met someone who was making advertising campaigns for well-known games at a startup where I was working. I found that world so interesting and his stories so captivating... I tested it with a NIMA course: is marketing really for me? It was. I took the minor in Business Economics in Utrecht, then the Pre-Master’s and Master’s in Marketing in Nijmegen. I’ve kept in touch with that colleague from back then. When he started his own business, I went and knocked on his door right away. I’ve been working for him for eight years now.”
What sage wisdom did you take away from your uni days?
“That you shouldn’t be afraid to try something out. My choice of Law turned out not to be the right one. It took me a year, but I still gained a lot of useful knowledge and skills in that time. It was an incredibly instructive ‘wrong choice’.”
Did you miss anything in your education?
“How do you function in an organisation and in a team, what is expected of you? These points weren’t covered in my studies. Since I worked 20-30 hours in addition to my education, I gained that experience on my own. But I also notice it now: the MBO graduates who come to work with us know what is expected of them much better than the WO graduates. They ask questions and know their way around.”
You are Director of Vortex Agency, a TikTok label that develops advertising campaigns for companies. What exactly do you do?
“TikTok is becoming increasingly popular and more and more companies want to ‘do something’ with it. But what? An advert, like the ones they’re used to making for YouTube, does not work on TikTok. You don’t have time to slowly build tension. People decide whether to keep watching in less than three seconds. We help our clients with a creative concept, find influencers if needs be, write a script, create a catchy video and make sure it reaches the right audiences. It’s not just young people, by the way. TikTok is growing fast. I’m convinced my mum will be fully into TikTok too in two years’ time.”
Do you have any advice for current students?
“Don’t worry about your grades too much. A seven or an eight, it doesn’t make a tremendous amount of difference. No one will ask you for your grades list later, and there are so many other ways to develop your talents. I personally learned a lot from my committee work at Synergy. And from all the working alongside my studies - which also meant I never stressed about money. And then another piece of wisdom my parents gave me: your first job you get, your second you choose. It doesn’t have to be amazing right away. If you pay close attention, you will see all kinds of opportunities passing in front of you. If you see an opportunity, let yourself be heard.”
Text: Jolanda van den Braak