Story #3 Paul

That educational system was the place to be, Breda was the place to be

  • 06.09.16

Paul van Wijngaarden (alumnus) is Regional Workplace Manager at Uber and this is his #NHTVStory:

”Apart from all the beers and all the parties of course, I had all of my friends here in Breda. Breda is a fantastic city all by itself. I was eighteen years old, I learned a lot during the last two years at NHTV and suddenly I got an opportunity to move to London and to do a number of consulting assignments for the BBC, Barclays Bank and Ericsson. A lot of big, international companies. For me, all the theory that I learned in the last two years, really brought home in that experience in London.

I think it was the first airplane ride together with my mom; I had never flown in an airplane before. So suddenly you go over to London with your mum who has got to bring you there and to find your first place. I guess it is just an overall, an overwhelming kind of experience. You have to be self-efficient, you have to sort your own food, your own life and go on the tube every day to go to your work. And then you walk up to supposedly all these imposing organizations that you then consulting. It brings you to a next level and it was really the thing that was a game changer for me.

What I learned most from that period, is that business decisions are really based on data. Whenever you get your data story right, you can convince the leadership people to go with the change. Still a big part of change management decision making lands in terms of how people feel about it, but when your data story is right and you tell that in a compelling way, I think that makes the change a lot easier. What I learned there is really making compelling business cases.

Now I work at Uber and it is an organization which is very much data scented and data focused. The way we capture data, the way we store it and the way we analyze it, is what really sets our company apart. We are an on demand platform in which we deliver transportation and sometimes services as well. If you don’t organize your data in such a way, it becomes a very inefficient process. That is not differently for me, I know it from my Real Estate and Facility Management education and my product management role. If I don’t have data to prove what I am doing, I would be out I think.

NHTV is a fantastic period where you meet a lot of new people. It has been a great kind of educational system where I landed in, that really fit to my personality. At my HAVO education I wasn’t someone that was great at learning rows of words by heart, straight from the book: I needed more context to my learning experience to really drive me further. At NHTV, this was the case, theory and business brought together in a fantastic mix. It made me super driven and performed better than before. This has lasted ever since. For me, it brought itself home to my personality how I like to work and how I like to learn. I learned a lot in the way that I needed to learn.

It is the University of Applied Sciences. And I don’t think that we talk about that enough, but it is really bringing applied knowledge home in companies in the world. And no matter if that system changes: if you go from a competency based system to more an international system where the kind of international school points are translated more easily, it doesn’t really matter. As long as that philosophy around applying what you learn, remains at NHTV. ’’

For me that educational system was the place to be. For me, Breda was the place to be.