Lara Derksen

Lara Derksen
The programme provides you with a good basis of knowledge to build on in your future career.
Lara Derksen
Strategic Human Resources Leadership
Study start date
Study end date
Previous education
BSc Recht & Management - Radboud University

Lara Derksen is a Master's student Strategic Human Resources Leadership.

What do you like about the programme/specialisation and why? How has the programme/specialisation challenged you (in relation to your previous education)?

Though most of the material in this Master's programme is rather self-explanatory, the courses provide you with certain tools in terms of how you can think or act in certain situations. The programme provides you with a good basis of knowledge to build on in your future career. Whereas parts of this specialisation lacked some depth in my opinion, I do find the programme very broad, as many subtopics related to HR are discussed (e.g., the relation of HR and performance, contemporary issues related to HR and Gender & Diversity challenges). With this, the Master's challenges you to think beyond previously acquired knowledge on basic HR themes.

This programme also urges you to think critically about certain topics/problems/solutions, which makes you not just take something for granted, but really look critically at the different sides of a story. Another part of this specialisation that I really liked is the SHRL buddy programme, in which I was paired with a buddy working in the HR field to spar with about HR in practice and to spend a day with them at work. This offered a small insight into HR practices.

What do you think about the atmosphere in class (for example the relationship between students and with the teachers/researchers)?

As I did not follow the regular course of first studying the Bachelor's Business Administration followed up by a Master's specialisation, I did not know any other students beforehand. In the week before the Master's began, we had an introduction day, on which we could get to know both the other students and the teachers. Afterwards, we had to complete many assignments in groups (also randomly selected groups), so you did get in touch with other students from your specialisation. Also, we had a WhatsApp group in which we could share information and ask questions to each other. The aforementioned resulted in a good atmosphere in class. Whereas some courses were very informal - in which we discussed the course material together in a large circle - other courses were more formal and sometimes lacked some input of students.

During this Master's programme, the relationship with my teachers was rather formal and with mutual respect. You do not have to be afraid to ask questions, as the teachers are there to help you and can also have a laugh with you.

What do you find most challenging in your Master’s (specialisation)? Have you encountered any obstacles?

The most challenging of this specialisation, for me, was the statistics course. The way this course is set up is very dependent on self-study, so you really have to put in the time and work yourself. Apart from the aforementioned course, the Master's is very doable and obtainable within 1 year.

Are you currently doing an internship? Or what is your thesis about?

I am not doing any internship at the moment. I did study abroad for three months during my previous Master's and would highly recommend anyone to experience studying and living abroad!

My thesis is about bystander interventions in relation to gender microaggressions against women in the workplace. A topic which is not necessarily HR-related, but could very well have implications for people management in terms of e.g. Gender & Diversity initiatives. This also shows how broad HR is.

Why do you think is it important that there are people out there with this degree? What are your plans once have received your Master's degree?

Employees are the backbone of their organisations, and especially in the contemporary tight labor market, attracting and retaining emloyees is crucial. This Master's provides you with (mental) tools on how to try and keep employees happy, healthy, and motivated. What is unfortunate about most Master's degrees is that there is no opportunity to gain practical experience without study delay. I would therefore highly recommend either an internship or a student job in the HR field to see how the theory looks in practice. My plans after receiving my Master's degree are to possibly start a traineeship in HR, to further obtain knowledge about HR in the working field and to put my acquired knowledge to practice!