NSM Focus | Ingrid Pauwels: “We want to contribute to a better society with our courses”

She hails from a Nijmegen entrepreneurial family, worked for the Rabobank Group for 22 years and studied Business Administration at the Radboud Management Academy (RMa). Ingrid Pauwels is now business director of this institute. She wants to broaden its portfolio, strengthen cooperation with external partners and introduce blended learning.

Ingrid PauwelsFirst student, now director. How did that come about?
“After obtaining my HEAO qualification in Commercial Economics, I went to work for the Rabobank Group. I mainly worked for Schretlen & Co, a Rabo subsidiary for private banking. In 2014 I started the evening course in Business Administration. I was looking for more theoretical and scientific support to my knowledge. Moreover, I noticed that for some positions you do need an academic education.”

Shortly after this you left the banking industry. Why?
“Schretlen was merged into the Rabobank and as a result of this I was faced with a career choice. Because of the pressure of banking laws and regulations, this sector was forced to undergo a thorough reorganisation. Understandable, but for me a context in which I often missed the human dimension. I also wanted to get to know another sector and transferred to Coöperatie DELA. Services again, but this time involving very different emotions.”

Why did you apply to the RMa?
“I get a very warm feeling when I look back on my time as a student. I really liked the institute and the course was great. So, when I heard there was a vacancy, I got in contact. I immediately felt that we had a match.”

Now you are business director. What is your role?
“I’m responsible for the business operations and the content and quality of the service. As a commercial educational institution, we help all the faculty departments to develop and provide courses for leaders and professionals. Through these courses we aim to contribute to a better society. People must be put central again and given the opportunity to flourish. Organisations must create conditions so that employees can develop and use their skills to the full. Our motto isn’t ‘creating capabilities’ for nothing.

What are your first experiences?
“COVID-19 made it difficult to get to know colleagues, business operations and environment well. But I can see an enthusiastic group of people who are keen to move forward. I can also see an education world that has changed drastically. Because of COVID-19 people have been able to test out online education. It really works for some people, so we reviewed all our courses and looked at which combination of online and face-to-face teaching is desirable and fits within our quality requirements and education vision. For example, we believe getting to know one another in a group is important, so this has to have a place in our form of blended learning.”

Any other ambitions?
“I want to broaden our portfolio. Our courses are generally related to business administration. We are currently discussing course development with various other departments. And we also work with external partners. With UMIO, Maastricht University’s business school, we have developed a learning pathway for Radboud university medical center and Maastricht UMC+ that will start this autumn. We also provide part of the training programme of Breinstein, an agency that seconds and trains recent graduates. I want to expand these kinds of initiatives in the future. In addition to these bespoke projects, at the beginning of 2022 we are starting two Post-Master’s with open registration: one about HRM in a change organisation and one about strategy development for very complex (VUCA) issues.”

Do you find that society is in need of your kind of approach?
“Absolutely! We often hear from students that this approach helps to bring back the human dimension. Everyone wants to break with the way in which we deal with one another in politics and society as a whole. This is very difficult, so you have to give people tools. That’s why I want a broader portfolio and more students. The more people who have this vision and the tools to implement it, the more steps we can take.” /MvZ

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