Life after the Executive MBA, taking up new challenges - Nico Freriks


Following an Executive MBA next to your job and family responsibilities requires a lot of commitment, discipline and perseverance. The MSM Executive MBA attracts participants who are strong in character and not afraid to challenge themselves to the fullest. With the end goal in mind, they know how to focus, how to overcome obstacles and how to deal with setbacks. Once they have reached their goal – obtaining the MBA degree – they are ready to take up the next challenge, either in their personal life, in their professional life or even both.

In this blog, the spotlight is on Nico Freriks, who graduated in 2018 from the MSM Executive MBA with a specialization in Sports Management.

The decision to follow the MSM Executive MBA
Before starting the MSM Executive MBA in 2016, Nico was having an intensive sports career as a professional volleyball player. After finishing his professional sports career, the decision to follow the Executive MBA was driven by multiple reasons. “Firstly, to finish the master level which at my time of studying wasn’t possible to combine with my sports career. There were no adaptable program possibilities like nowadays. Secondly to get up to date with the current ways in business life. Finally, the most important reason…to find out which parts of business management I would like and would fit me best.”

Working towards a career switch
While finishing the Executive MBA, Nico made already a career switch from managing a lifestyle project for younger people in his municipality to a management position at the University of Maastricht. “Unfortunately, that didn’t work out for me, which made me search for what I value at this time in life and work. After a while I got in touch with someone from Fontys.” It turned out that at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Venlo, there was a need for coaches that could help students in start-up projects and with their personal career development. “Within this job I could contribute to the development of a younger generation and use my experiences from my professional sports career and the Executive MBA. Managing projects, processes and teams challenges me on a strategic and tactical level and in the end, it is nice to see the results and experience happy customers. These were exactly the things I was looking for in a job.”

Another important reason for this career change is Nico’s family: “Because of elite sports I wasn’t always around. For example, the last three seasons I played in Iran and my family was in the Netherlands. Also, my job in Maastricht was intense and time consuming. Living now 15 minutes from work makes it easier to spend more time with my family. Something I think is very important in this part of our lives, as my children are 8, 6 and 4 years old at the moment.”

An ambitious project
Taking up a whole new career was not enough of a challenge for Nico. Therefore, he decided to join an ambitious volleyball project in the Province of Limburg. “Together with a successful businessman, a gold-winning Olympian (old colleague) and a communication expert we try - in cooperation with the region and in particular the volleyball club of V.C Limac - to bring Elite volleyball back to the Province of Limburg. Combining my knowledge from my previous sports life in combination with business elements of the Executive MBA in Sports Management is very useful in order to make important decisions. After a successful first year, we made quite some progress and we are looking forward to another successful year.”

Enjoying the ‘fruits’ of the Executive MBA
The lessons learned from the MSM Executive MBA still contribute to Nico’s daily job: “I think the MSM Executive MBA program gives you another (higher) strategic level and perspective to look at things. Furthermore, I use it in practical ways during my daily job. For example, when students are lost it is nice to give them a framework or overview in order to help them with their next steps.”

Also, in his personal life the Executive MBA left its footprints: “During my Executive MBA time, which was a very intense and great learning experience, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to some great people, which resulted in some nice friendships.”

For future students, Nico has a good advice: “From my perspective the MBA creates a lot of opportunities and adds value in many possible ways. Knowledge, skills, insights, a degree, a network and friends. It is up to you to take the best out of the experience!”  

Are you ready to challenge yourself?
And do you want to share the classroom with like-minded peers? Then check out the MSM Executive MBA – a demanding but enriching program preparing you for the next step in your career and for any other challenge you would like to take up in your life.