John van Rij

In this interview, Entrepreneur and ESG professional John shares his experience at AIB and the benefits he found in joining AIB’s global network of MBA students.

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John van Rij, originally from Amsterdam, moved to Canada almost 30 years ago. With a background in accounting, he started his Canadian career in the IT industry as a software developer. And it wasn’t too long after that he would start his own import and wholesale business. Successfully running the business for over 18 years based in Vancouver with an office in Toronto, John decided it was time to do something different and decided to take a sabbatical which led him to the MBA program at AIB.

In the interview below, we ask John about his experience at AIB, why he chose AIB and the benefits he found in joining AIB’s global network of MBA students.

What was your motivation to study for an MBA?

I actually wanted to validate my experience in the industry with actual book smarts of it. And having the MBA behind your name is not necessarily a bad thing – people will take you way more serious after that. And it’s also something that I always wanted, and I always regretted not doing when I was young. I never really did it because I moved to Canada. And so my education stopped, and I started to work here. And when I decided I wanted to do something different in my life and stopped working, I that was the first thing that came up.

Why did you choose AIB?

Well, there were a few things. One of my criteria was that I did not want to do GMAT. You have to do a course to actually successfully finish the GMAT and I just didn’t see that happening.

The other thing is flexibility with AIB. That was really important to me. And then the other thing was that I really liked the diversity of it. So, there are people from around the world that participate in this program. And I do believe that it’s not just the material that you work with like that AIB provides, but you also learn a lot from the people around you, from different cultures, different backgrounds, and different age groups.

Did you feel a sense of community whilst studying at AIB?

I was happily surprised that studying online is not lonely at all. The first week, right away when I started, we had a WhatsApp group, and it just became bigger and bigger, and it was just from there on – we had zoom calls among students. We had little groups of people with sort of the same backgrounds that were helping each other, but then we also had our little Zoom calls, like little conferences helping each other, especially during assignments. So, it’s definitely not something you do on your own.

Advice for those unsure about studying for an MBA?

For people are on the fence about starting. Don’t. Just do not be on the fence. Go and do it. I’ve been telling a lot of people if you want to do MBA, try AIB because I think it’s a really good system that they have in place. There are great professors and OLFS that are helping you out. I thought it was a great program.

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