Portrait photograph of: Mark Suiker

Mark Suiker

Country Of Origin: Netherlands

Degree: Executive MBA, 2023

Business Development Manager, N2 Applied

What did you do prior to joining the MBA?

I have had several commercial roles in the sporting goods industry, and at the time I had a position as strategic account manager eCommerce at Viking Outdoor Footwear.

Why did you decide to do an MBA?

I wanted to sharpen my skills, especially in leadership. Also, I had experienced that there were limitations to where my bachelor's degree could take me, both in terms of what opportunities I could get access to, but also in terms of what I could manage and bring to a good end. The unexpected passing away of a good friend triggered me to do something about that.

Why did you choose Lancaster University?

My dual Dutch-Norwegian background led me to look for a business school on 'neutral ground', and the UK seemed like the perfect place. If a foreign MBA qualification was to help me leverage my position in the Norwegian or Dutch job market, branding would be an essential element. Therefore, choosing a business school that was world-ranked and triple-crown accredited was imperative.

What made the Lancaster MBA stand out for me was the personal touch, the respectful and supportive way you are treated as a person and how you are encouraged to bring out the best of yourself. This positive approach proved to be a red thread all the way through, from the initial application interview with the Program Director to the final graduation speech of the Vice Chancellor.

What did you enjoy most about the Lancaster MBA?

I enjoyed the small classes, which accommodated group interaction and learning from the lecturers as well as from your fellow students. The experience that classmates from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life brought in has been hugely inspirational and extremely beneficial. Therefore, group assignments, and particularly the consultancy challenge, have been memorable and rewarding to be a part of.

Another aspect that I enjoyed was the creative process of report writing. Each module became sort of a quest, a process of discovery in search of answers and creating solutions for real-life problems in the workplace that you were familiar with. The new and sometimes surprising insights that this process gave stimulated motivation and gave a real sense of achievement.

How do you think the Lancaster MBA benefitted you?

It has benefited me in many ways. For starters, it has shown me that you can do much more than you can imagine if you just put your mind to it. I have also learnt that in order to arrive at the right answers, you must first ask the right questions. From my fellow students I have learnt that a group of people from different backgrounds can do magic when mutual trust is there and team members play to each other's strengths. The reflective writing assignments provided a unique opportunity to take time and space to reflect, which has given me new insights into myself, the strengths and weaknesses I have, and what direction I see for myself and my career. The general insight that the Lancaster MBA has left me with is that above all, business is a social science – a people's game, more than a numbers game.

What impact has your Lancaster experience had on your career?

Two months after submitting my MBA dissertation, I got a new job. The module on business ethics and sustainability had inspired me to actively look for a company that does more for society than just selling products. I am now in a business development role in a high-tech startup environment in the fertilizer industry. It is a new job with new technology, in a new industry. Something completely different from what I have done before, and way outside of my comfort zone. The resilience you build up during an Executive MBA really helps you to manage the steep learning curve that an unknown environment demands of you.

Is there anything else about your MBA experience that you'd like to share?

It has been an experience for life. I wouldn't have missed it for the world!