My Vlerick Experience

How the knowledge-in-action project and Vlerick alumni network led to a dream role…

30 June 2022

As long as I can remember, I’d dreamed of living and working in Europe. Growing up in the United States, I’d longed to live overseas and to experience everything Europe has to offer. I studied French in high school – and then went on to study finance with a minor in international business. Then life happened, and I ended up focusing solely on my finance degree. And my dream of living abroad? It remained just that… a dream.

Jonathan Whigham

Fast forward to 2018. I took a vacation and spent time in Iceland, France and Belgium. My longing to be in Europe resurfaced. And I knew that if I seriously wanted to make this change in my life, I’d need an MBA – ideally, from a European business school. Vlerick offers one of the best MBA programmes available. The school ranks in the top 50 programmes in Europe – and it’s number one in Benelux. And I discovered I’d be studying in Brussels – which is a city I’ve fallen in love with.


Another huge attraction was that the full-time MBA at Vlerick includes a knowledge-in-action project – and I knew that this could provide the steppingstone into my new career in Europe. It also helped that the programme takes less than a year to complete. As the project approached, Anna from career services showed us how to tap into the alumni network. I used the database to identify alumni working in banking, and I found an alumnus who was Head of Transaction Services Sales. I had experience of working in this area – and wanted to take my career in it to the next level – so the fit seemed right. I reached out to him. At the time, there wasn’t an opportunity for a project with his organisation – and I ended up doing it with another company. However, I gave him more information about my background, and we stayed in touch.

It paid off! In March I saw a posting for a consultant within the Transaction Services team at his company and applied for it. I got a message from my contact within 24 hours. He appreciated my drive and experience – and of course, the fact that I am studying for my MBA at Vlerick. After three rounds of interviews, I got the job. Now my dreams have really come true – and it’s all because of Vlerick. The alumni network, support from careers services and the MBA itself have set my life on a new and exciting path – and I could not be happier.

Written by Jonathan Whigham. He graduated in 2022.