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Graduate’s story: working after the Real Estate and Facility Management Programme

Student stories 31 August 2011, 00:00

Suzanne Steehouder, a graduate of the Bachelor programme in International Real Estate and Facility Management is telling how her knowledge gained at NHTV helps her in her everyday work as a facility manager.

Suzanne Steehouder, a graduate of the Bachelor programme in International Real Estate and Facility Management is telling how her knowledge gained at NHTV helps her in her everyday work as a facility manager.

What kind of responsibilities do you have?

After completing my degree, I started working with SKON. SKON is an umbrella organisation of 240 day nurseries. My job involves the complete spectrum of facility management aspects. I am responsible for several services, such as cleaning, budget management, and maintenance of the nurseries. What’s more, I keep a close watch on trends and developments in the market, in order to improve our services.

What is your impression of the Real Estate and Facility Management programme?

The programme taught me nearly all aspects of the facility management profession. After all, facility services are needed in all levels of an organisation. You have to be a real go-getter, and NHTV offers you a great deal of choice in your studies. For instance, in my third year, I organised the field trip for students, together with a number of fellow-students.

Was it the right programme to choose?

The programme was certainly a good choice for me. Many lecturers have ample industry experience, which I considered to be a positive thing.

Did the programme give you the knowledge needed for your current job?

The programme teaches you to work in a certain way and to deal with specific situations. I acquired actual professional expertise in my work placements. And in my strategic-level professional activities, I now use many of the theoretical models I learned about during my years as a student.

What is your usual working day like?

I start at 08.30 hrs with a work meeting. Then I start working on the activities I had planned for the day. There is usually a lot of ad hoc work. The advantage of this is that not a single day is the same, and that every day is a challenge. My intention is to be a step ahead by anticipating the ad hoc work, but with 240 locations this is not always possible. I get a lot of calls and e-mails, and have many contacts with location managers as well as suppliers.

What are your best memories of NHTV?

The year I liked the most, was my fourth year. I did a work placement which lasted almost the entire year. I had the freedom to learn what I was interested in and kept in touch with lecturers and student at school. The lecturers supported me very well. Whenever I had any questions, I could ask them, and I even had a private lecture in SPSS, because I didn’t understand this subject really well. In the fourth year, my relations with the lecturers assumed a much more professional character, because the teaching was no longer a one-way street; I learned from them as well as they learned from me.

What can you advise to future students?

Think carefully about what kind of study programme would suit you. The International Real Estate and Facility Management programme has many aspects in common with Hotel Management. It gives you a wide variety of career opportunities, because every business or organisation has a facility management department.

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