“I grew tremendously and learned many new skills over the past year, but if I had to pick the most important aspect of my growth, that would be personal development.” The speaker is Marizel Vorster, who has just completed her Full-time MBA. “Many of the students at our recent graduation agreed that we never expected to grow so much personally when we met and started our journey together. The focus on business and society, along with our class’s diversity, definitely contributed to my leadership development and my perspective on developing the whole company as a whole. Essentially, I gained and practiced a growth mindset.”

Starting ambitions Marizel: “I have always wanted to do an MBA, but I have never been in a position to take a year off and do so full-time. When we moved to the Netherlands to allow my husband to pursue an exciting job opportunity, I was suddenly ‘in between jobs.’ I was free to study or look for a job, and I explored both options. The Full-time MBA was a confluence of time and opportunity for which I am truly grateful. I’m glad I had the chance and that I decided to make it happen.” Overall perspective “I expected the Full-time MBA to help me develop an overall perspective on the optimal way to set up and manage a business. Regardless of the type of business you own, manage or work for, knowing how the parts work together is always valuable. The TIAS Full-time MBA definitely delivered on that expectation. When you start by zooming in on the most important factors and understanding how these fit the bigger business picture or structure, your vision when zoomed out will be much clearer. Entrepreneurship “I hope to have my own business some day, one that combines my passion for communication, concepts and commerce with sustainability and a strong focus on society. I’m still figuring out which form it will take, but the courses we were taught during the Full-time MBA, those on entrepreneurship for example, the stories we heard and people we met, have encouraged me to keep working to achieve that dream.”

Name: Marizel Vorster Educational and professional background: Strategic Communication Management with ten years of professional experience in Branding, Marketing & Communication Current ambition: Considering opportunities in Branding, Marketing & Communication Education: Full-time MBA Highlight: Awarded international AIM2Flourish Flourish Prize 2021 “For me, a business cannot function within a society and not recognize and work to meet its needs. In the same way, society need businesses. They are interdependent.”


“For me, a business cannot function within a society and not recognize and work to meet its needs. In the same way, society need businesses. They are interdependent. When I was still considering my options and visiting the Tilburg campus, a friendly student offered me a tour there. He related the University’s history, and that it was founded on the premise that businesses only exist because of society and society because of businesses. The two are interrelated, one cannot exist without the other. That really resonated with me. TIAS holds the same view, with business & society as a fundamental theme in all its programs. That definitely influenced my choice.”

International AIM2Flourish award As part of the course on Sustainable Development Goals in Business Practice, Marizel participated in the AIM2Flourish competition, an international, UN-supported platform to share stories about business innovations that create value for both business and society. Together with Samar Morshedi, she presented the story ‘Clean Mobility for Everyone Featuring Lightyear in the Netherlands,’ which won the 2021 Flourish prize. Marizel: “The work Lightyear is doing deserves to be shared, and we are honored to see their efforts to fight climate change be acknowledged and celebrated through this award.” United Nations Sustainable Development Goals “Lightyear is breaking ground in the development of electric vehicles. Their business addresses many of the United Nations’ Sustainability Goals, so naturally we wanted to feature them. To get as much information as possible for the story and ensure we asked the right questions, we used appreciative inquiry, a process we learned during our courses. The writing process was really fun and exciting, because there were so many possible angles.” People and planet “Participating in the competition was both exciting and educational. We got to apply some of the tools we were taught and our fellow students introduced us to some inspiring companies. What I like about this competition is that it shines a light on companies that are doing great things. The UN’s Sustainability Goals are part of an ambitious and motivating agenda to transform our world by 2030. This competition celebrates the businesses who are contributing to that transformation.”


Marizel: “Empathy with the people you are working with, is the biggest leadership insight I have gained during the year. Growing up in South Africa has helped me appreciate difference and value input from people who are different. Being part of such a diverse class reaffirmed the importance of the realization.” Different countries, different experiences “Having students from many different countries as part of our cohort has been so beneficial to our learning experience. For nearly every business case during our courses, we had to work in study groups to discuss our approach. When your study group consists of six different people, all from different countries and industries, with different work experience and contributing different inputs, you gain so much more insight to draw on.” People first “Diversity does create its own challenges, due to different languages and subsequent miscommunications for instance. We had to consciously work to make sure we understood each other. I hope to remember and apply those experiences as a manager, listening and trying to understand while still leading and delivering on expectations. The lessons on miscommunication that I learned in this international environment will remain with me.”

“The diversity of our cohort complemented our learning experiences perfectly”

Benefits of diversity “The diversity of our cohort complemented our learning experiences perfectly, reminding me that we must have different perspectives to stay relevant. As individuals, as companies and as countries. In every case where we applied diverse perspectives and angles, we came up with great holistic solutions. Embracing diversity is not just good for us personally, but also for business and ultimately, for the economy.”


“A traditional approach to management is reporting on and delivering outcomes. However, I have found that when you also prioritize the development of the people with whom you work, the individuals, the team and the entire company all benefit. During the MBA’s Personal Development and Career Program (PCDP), I worked on developing my Relator and Developer strengths in order to become a better leader. The PCDP program has also helped me understand the connection between my strong sense of mission and purpose and my leadership style.” Personal Development and Career Program “The Personal Development and Career Program offers plenty of opportunities to really dive in and figure out and develop your personal drivers and motivation. I reconfirmed that I am at my best when I am developing potential, whether in people or as part of a project. This is something I will continue to focus on as a manager or leader. A particularly memorable element of the PCDP program, and I think my fellow students will agree, was the time we spent a day role-playing scenarios with actors in a theater. We had to ‘reenact’ job interviews and other work-related moments, a greater challenge than anyone had expected!” Feedback as an opportunity to grow “Thanks to the skills I learned during this exercise, my approach to interviews and difficult conversations has become much more confident and better prepared. The process and the feedback by my classmates, who paid close attention to my every move, gave me insight into how I experience things, allowing me to learn and adapt my approach. Speaking of which, there was also a very interesting session devoted exclusively to giving feedback. It was very instructive for all of us, and has inspired me to take feedback less personally and to try and learn from it instead.”

“I reconfirmed that I am at my best when I am developing potential, whether in people or as part of a project. This is something I will continue to focus on as a manager or leader.”


“I’m now ready and eager to return to the job market, equipped with a range of technical and practical skills and my most prized possession, even more than my certificate: my class notebook. Here, I’ve recorded all the stories we heard, people we met and ideas I got to discuss with people who were willing to listen and give input. The course on negotiation was one of my favorites. I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to aim for a win-win outcome in relationships. The PCDP sessions also taught us i.e how to write resumes and cover letters, optimize our LinkedIn profiles and create an elevator pitch. And after a year of creating and presenting business cases and business pitches, I’m pretty sure I can do a presentation with my eyes closed.”


“If you are considering an MBA, I encourage you to explore international environments and go full-time. You definitely learn the most when you surround yourself with people from different countries, cultures and industries. Furthermore, the risks you take in quitting your job and committing to a Full-time MBA are compensated by the chance to focus solely on your studies and take full advantage of all the MBA has to offer.”

Open up doors to career opportunities Pursuing the TIAS Full-time MBA is a life-changing experience that will provide you with excellent tools for both personal and professional growth. Prepare yourself for positions in industry with greater leadership responsibility and create a positive impact on your or your organization’s future success. Download the brochure to find out how this MBA can boost your career.


Do you want to create more impact on your organization and on society? With the flexible approach of TIAS, you create impact:

  • Tailor your education and learning path to your learning needs
  • Learn a lot in a short time through frequent interaction
  • Individual attention is at the heart of the TIAS approach
  • Learn at your own pace, both online and on-site
  • Start whenever you want

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What suits you? Are you interested in deepening your learning question together and discussing the possibilities for your personal learning trajectory? I am happy to help you discover which learning path fits well with your ambitions, learning goals and phase in your career.

Humphrey Sopakuwa Program Adviser +31 13 466 3941

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TIAS is the business school of Tilburg University and Eindhoven University of Technology.