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NSM Focus | Alumnus in the picture: Ruud Kleijn Hofmeijer: 'Don’t skimp on your own development’

Date of news: 22 September 2021

He was drawn to the idea of becoming a cook or hotel owner when he was young. But his fascination with large companies, which was already present at the time, knew no bounds. And so, in 2001, Ruud Klein Hojmeijer (38) boarded a train to Nijmegen to study Business Administration. He was on the right track, as it turned out.

What did you base your decision to study Business Administration in Nijmegen on?
“As a child, on our way to our holiday destination, I was fascinated by the large companies along the motorway. There were names I knew from the Netherlands that I also came across in Germany and France. I asked myself: How do things work there? Are things the same in the Dutch organisation as in the French one? And how do they organise that? I liked the Business Administration open day in Nijmegen and the study programme – the first three years being a general overview, and the fourth year giving you the opportunity to specialise yourself – appealed to me. I got to know people in the introduction who I am still friends with today, and I soon felt at home in the city. So I would say it was a good choice.”

Which course do you have the fondest memories of?
“Of the Management Game. We had to set up a fictitious company in groups. We had to put everything we knew from our study books had into practice. We had to think about all the different elements and their relationships with each other: product or service, price, customers, staffing, logistics, advertising... It was an incredibly interesting challenge.”

What did you miss in the curriculum?
“With today’s knowledge: gaining practical experience. Theory was the common thread; we were mainly prepared for conducting research. Maybe this has already changed, otherwise I would argue for making a stronger connection with the business community, through internships, for example. It’s best if students can get an idea of what it is like in the workplace and what options are available to them.
I would also have welcomed more attention being paid to personal development. Include more evaluation and peer reviewing into the programme. Teach students to give and receive feedback. What didn’t go so well this week, and how can you work on improving this next week? It is extremely valuable if you discover your talents, areas of improvement and development opportunities during your studies. The better you know yourself, the easier it is to find your way after you graduate.”

How did you end up with the position of production manager at MSD Animal Health? 
“Before this, I held a number of HR and recruitment positions. I discovered that I really enjoy getting ‘the right people to the right place’. But I wanted more: to not only to create a successful team, but to manage and coach that team to achieve the best results together. All of this comes together in my role as production manager, which is really exciting.”

Do you have any advice for current students?
“Studying is expensive, but don’t skimp on your own development. Try to get the most out of these years. Get to know yourself. Every investment you make in yourself is worthwhile. Especially nowadays - the job market is tight, but you will find your place. Find out what you really like, what you are good at, what you would still like to learn. And look around to see where and how you can get better at it. Perhaps in a board position, with a part-time job, as an active member of a study or sports association... Nijmegen has so much to offer here. Just go for it!”