Country of origin: Netherlands
Max now runs his own consultancy company specialising in marketing and PR for the luxury hotels sector.
After gathering exciting experiences both academically and professionally in three different countries in far different parts of the world such as Moscow, Amsterdam and New York, I understood the need to embark upon a formative curriculum that would consolidate my previous experience and prepare me for my next career move. I felt that all my knowledge and experience was like great books – scattered. I realised that an MBA would help me to build a bookshelf that would give unity and alignment to my “scattered books”.
Lancaster University Management School was top of my shortlist of business schools. The fact that it was one of the best management schools in Europe offering a one-year full-time MBA programme made Lancaster my preferred choice. This was strengthened by the very personal and welcoming approach I experienced from the outset from the MBA office.
The programme was exactly what you would expect it to be – very competitive, challenging, demanding lots of discipline and proper time management. These are the characteristics which triggered and shaped my ambitions, boosted my self-confidence, and helped to develop my professionalism.
LUMS offers very serene and picturesque surroundings which can only inspire one to learn and also to engage in sport. The University campus is in a rural location, just to the south of the Georgian city of Lancaster, with views across to the hills of the nearby English Lake District.
The key advantage I gained from the Lancaster MBA was the opportunity to learn and evaluate various theories and models whilst applying them directly in client-based consultancy projects. During the programme I was involved in projects in diverse sectors, ranging from research on operations at Manchester City Football Club to a New Venture Challenge with a local training company and a Consultancy Challenge project with one of the oldest carpet manufacturers in the UK.
As the programme progressed towards its conclusion the most existing and interesting times arose. When choosing electives, I decided to join a – a five-week self-directed project where we focused on store design, a very specific and a relatively young area of marketing. Towards the end of the module our team was given yet again a fantastic opportunity to work on a real-life consultancy project for the UK fashion retailer Hobbs. I found this learning and practical experience to be tremendously worthwhile and enriching.
I followed this up with a final research-based project examining academic and practitioner perspectives on how to make store design count in fashion retailing. The project was conducted in cooperation with various leading fashion retailers and key store designers from London, Amsterdam and New York. My dissertation analysed existing academic approaches to this area of marketing as well as practical applications implemented by fashion retailers and store designers. It also provided recommendations for retailers on how to structure the planning and measure the effectiveness of store design.
After graduating from the MBA, I first worked with a marketing consultancy company operating in the luxury hospitality sector. Recently I set up my own business: ClubCenturia – a London-based consultancy which provides comprehensive and bespoke PR, sales and marketing representation services to luxury hotels and resorts.