Looking back with alumnus Jasper van den Brink
Jasper van den Brink did the YEP Agrofood (batch 11) programme between 2017 and 2019 at Bio Food, Kenya. After finishing the YEP programme, he continued there as a Director of Operations. Recently, he moved with his wife to Toronto, Canada and is currently finalising his MBA. Together with Jasper we look at back at his time with YEP and how it influenced the choices he made afterwards.
Two years ago, early 2019 Jasper finished YEP Programmes. Although he lives in Toronto now, he is still in touch with several (alumni) Young Experts. ‘I met a lot of new friends during the programme, and shared great experiences with them during the social events and weekend getaways all over Kenya. I enjoyed being part of a unique group of likeminded and adventurous young professionals’, Jasper says.
Competencies are key
Although he is still at the start of his career, he recognises the value of YEP Programmes: ‘YEP Programmes offered me to explore a wide range of personal development tools and exercises. This really accelerated my critical thinking and fuelled my hunger to develop my skills and expertise, taking my talents and personality (MBTI) type as the basis. Competency development is the way to advance your career fast. We live in a digital economy where information is widely available and where access to information has become more important than actually knowing all the information. Because all your colleagues, friends and fellow students have access to the same information as you have, it is critical to develop your competencies in order to stand out. It is really important how you interpret the information and you understand the complexities at hand! Mastering the skill of effective communication, personal leadership, project management and effective planning, are critical to be successful in any fast changing environment. YEP Programmes is definitely a great way to gain access to such competency development and a steep international learning experience.’
Keep on developing
His hunger to further develop his expertise and competencies gained traction during the YEP programme and resulted in starting an MBA early 2019. At Bio food, he grew his leadership capacities relatively fast because of the challenging working environment he was in. The MBA is coming in quite early in his career, but he felt he was ready: ‘From the competency development trajectory I went through with YEP Programmes, I felt I was in the right stage of my career to start my MBA. These studies are allowing me to further develop my critical thinking and grow a deeper understanding of the business complexity. I follow an Action Learning MBA at the Business School Netherlands. I chose their programme because of the focus they have on competency development through action learning – which in essence is a framework to develop critical thinking and problem solving capabilities in complex situations. I find the two programmes very complementary. YEP Programmes is more practical and hands on in its approach, the MBA is more theoretical and on a more strategic level’ says Jasper.