Hidde van der Kolk (23) studied business administration and is now undertaking a second master in the philosophy of culture and management. He also participated in The Boardroom last year, a prestigious programme of exclusive masterclasses provided by VU alumni.
Why did you sign up for The Boardroom?
„I thought it would be fun to take interesting masterclasses along with students from other faculties, and to spend a year exploring a variety of themes under the guidance of VU alumni. As a 23-year-old, I was really drawn to the idea of spending three hours with Unilever’s former HR president or the co-director of Greenpeace and finding out how they make an impact on the world."
Was the programme valuable in conjunction with your existing studies?
„Absolutely, especially during the evenings that touched on topics that I wouldn’t normally cover in my studies. For example, human rights lawyer Domenica Ghidei Biidu talked about racism and the role of slavery, both in the past and present. She gave this masterclass around the same time that Black Lives Matter rose to greater prominence, and it resulted in a rich and confronting discussion. It was valuable to hear about it from her own perspective and history, given that she fled Eritrea at the age of 15. After the masterclass, I started following her on LinkedIn. And that’s what’s really special about The Boardroom – that it brings you into contact with people like that."
Together with a subgroup, you solved a case for Rijksmuseum Muiderslot. How did that come about?
„The main question was about how we could stimulate greater involvement in the museum. We looked at how other museums went about it, and conducted a survey among young families in the local area. The result was a presentation and a 30-page report in which we proposed a framework consisting of three subscription types. We also advised Muiderslot on how they could expand on their contact with their 'business friends'."
Did any of the masterclasses particularly stand out for you?
„The “Public Speaking” masterclass by Jacobine Geel was special for me personally, as I had the opportunity to speak in the Vondelkerk about my development and to consider who I am as a person, in front of an attentive audience. It was also obvious that Jacobine and Lydia Krabbendam really enjoy doing this every year. And it’s just great in general that the alumni are really committed to helping us. Participating in The Boardroom has given me a broader perspective on how I can also contribute to society in the future."