How Thibo Clicteur has leapt out of his comfort zone into new challenges

Thibo Clicteur earned a Vlerick Masters in General Management (2020) in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that didn’t slow him down. On the contrary, he’s been on a super-fast track ever since.

Thibo says that it began with his university studies – Chemical Engineering at UGent – where he took the slogan ‘make a difference for people and society’ to heart. “There was a whole unknown world outside of engineering for me to explore.” He wanted to extend the scope of his knowledge and skills, and the Vlerick Masters did the trick – providing him with knowledge in a wide range of areas, from marketing and finance to supply chain and entrepreneurship.

The power of the Vlerick network

Thibo Clicteur: “I was contacted by Kimberly Pauwels who is responsible for the in-company projects at Vlerick. She offered me a project at Katoen Natie concerning modelling and optimising customs processes. My eagerness to learn and to create solutions convinced me to embrace this challenge. It’s only by diving into an unknown area and expanding our boundaries that we learn most in life. So I thought: Let’s go for it!”

“It was a fantastic experience! In spite of COVID-19, my project partner and I were able to go to the company and interview the people about their customs processes. At the end of that in-company project, I met some people from Deloitte, who were going to continue our work at Katoen Natie.”

“Through conversations with these contacts, I joined Deloitte as an intern in October 2020. I did a lot of things in the Global Trade Advisory (GTA) department, which solves international trade problems of all kinds. It was a wonderful internship, with a broad range of interesting projects for the European Commission, Pfizer, the Flemish Parliament, and more.” At the end of last year, Thibo’s directors at Deloitte offered him a full-time contract.

“This whole series of events happened so fast and was so unbelievable that I wrote to Kimberly and told her that if she had not opened the door to the Katoen Natie in-company project I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

How has Vlerick supported his leap into such a fast start?

“I learned networking at Vlerick. In fact, you’re obliged to network with everyone at Vlerick – it becomes your second nature. You meet so many different kinds of people – entrepreneurs, company leaders, consultants, professors, new friends – with a great mix of different competences, knowledge, strengths and leadership styles.”

“You also learn presentation and writing skills and the way to do projects and analyse business cases. It felt so natural stepping out of Vlerick and into Deloitte – because the approach to business feels the same.”

“In addition, there are all the Vlerick people who support your career by checking your CV, helping you with your application and in finding a job that’s a really good fit for you. For me, ‘taking the leap’ was leaping out of my comfort zone and into new fields and challenges. I think the most important thing for growing your career is to be who you are and take on new challenges. One door opens, which leads to another. And in my case, it became like a cascade!”

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