Blog and opinion
13 November 2017
Let’s play with the big boys
We’re doing our best to attract businesses to The Hague, but there’s still room for improvement.
On 3 November, I was a guest speaker at the Captain’s Conference held in the WTC The Hague. This was a two-day event that addressed enhancing The Hague as a global talent hub. How could we make this city a breeding ground for young talent? There were inspiring speakers, validation sessions and escalator pitches (less than 60-second presentations given by young professionals). A lot was said about the collaborations in the city as well as in the region and about how The Hague could promote its international image.
I felt proud
I felt honoured to have been invited to talk about what The Hague could learn from other cities and about how having sources of knowledge present in a city could help attract international organisations. The Hague University of Applied Sciences plays an important role in this. We’re reaping the benefits of our commitment to excellent education: in September, we heard that we’ve retained our rating as the best university of applied sciences in the Randstad, and I’m pretty proud of this.
Even so… During the first evening of the Captain’s Conference, a gentleman from the Jacobs Engineering Group approached me. He told me that his company worked with almost all the technical degree programmes in the region except for those offered by The Hague University of Applied Sciences. He told me and two Business Management Studies students accompanying me that he was ashamed to say that he didn’t even know the President of our Executive Board. It made no difference to him – he could take his pick from many others – but it was embarrassing for me. This man was acquainted with many good lecturers at our school but thought our Executive Board should take the lead in promoting us.
What he said started me thinking. It wasn’t the first time that I had heard things like this from the professional arena. On the one hand, we’re committed to promoting ourselves: individual lecturers do their best, and the External Relations Team in the Education, Knowledge & Communication Department serves as a single point for maintaining external contacts. But shouldn’t deans, the Executive Board and departmental managers be responsible for attracting businesses and maintaining contacts with them? If not – and especially if we want to work with major influential players – shouldn’t we be talking with the big boys: the directors, CEOs and those in senior management? Shouldn’t each degree programme be required to attract one of these major players? Why not? I think so.
OK, we’re already doing a good job, but we could always do better. Let’s start doing even more to attract collaboration with businesses in the region – at least to the extent that these major players can’t ignore us.
Rosa Groen lectures on research skills, public management, external projects and globalisation in the Business Management Studies degree programme at the Faculty of Management & Organisation. Since 2015, she has also been working on her dissertation at Leiden University and she is a member of the International Peace, Justice & Security Research Group. The focus of her research is Western European cities and their policies aimed at attracting and retaining international organisations. Her personal motto is: ‘Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.’ (W. Clement Stone)