|Luuk Eliens @Linkedin|
I remember like yesterday, the moment I decided to apply for MIETE: I was sitting in a small office room together with my best friend Tim (who also enrolled). We were in the middle of selling our second company (Excellent Student) and we were looking for something new, something exciting, something where we could learn and start a company at the same time. As soon as we found MIETE, we knew we found the master for us. So off we went, to one of the most beautiful cities of Europe on a two-year adventure. The MIETE master itself provides us with a solid foundation in all the fundamentals of doing business including marketing, finance, lean startup, design (thinking) and technology commercialization – all of which I still apply on a daily basis in my professional career. More importantly though, I did not just go to MIETE to study; I went there to continue my journey as an entrepreneur. That is why, during my studies and with the help of MIETE, I interacted with many different researchers to try to find interesting technologies to commercialize. Ultimately, I found a technology and tried to create a company specialized in software quality. Even though the company did not pan out, I am to this very day, very grateful for the opportunity I had to start a company while I was doing my master degree. Ultimately, entrepreneurship is about action; about ruthlessly executing towards your goal. No master will ever be able to teach you how to do that. You simply have to go out and try.
After I finished my master degree, I went on to co-found an innovation program for EY with the goal of creating internal spin-outs. With blood, sweat and tears, we created a program allowing employees of EY to create their own innovation teams. Even though the experience was rewarding and I was part of a very motivated and close-knit team, ultimately, working for such a big corporate was not my cup of tea; the entrepreneurial bug was too strong. So, when I got approached to expand for the local Dutch Accelerator HighTechXL (www.hightechxl.com) to China, I simply could not refuse. At the time, I went to China with 2 colleagues, 1 launching customers and lots of dreams and expectations. Now, three years later, we managed to build a partnership with a local Chinese partner (www.xnode.com) and are building the leading Chinese-Global platform for innovation with a team of 40 dedicated innovators. Throughout the last years, my personal growth really accelerated and I learnt (amongst other things) how to sell, how to hire, how to fire, how to (try to) manage a team, how to build a strategy, how to continuously make hard decisions and how it is the job of a leader to think in the interest of the organization rather then any individual. If I look back at my journey so far and my current role as the Head of Innovation and Partner at XNode, I believe my time at MIETE helped to nurture the traits I know need very day: grit, resilience, problem-solving, functioning in an intercultural context and presentation. If you are considering MIETE as a pathway towards learning about entrepreneurship while being an entrepreneur, it might just be the master for you. However, as with all things in life, output is a function of input. It’s up to you to get the best experience possible.
Ludovicus Henricus Fransiscus Eliens studied @MIETE: 2013-15