Meet MSM's faculty members: introducing Hans Nijhoff


Maastricht School of Management provides scientific knowledge allowing managers and entrepreneurs to make evidence-based decisions. To achieve our mission we encourage and support our faculty members in a broad range of areas. MSM’s faculty members are passionate about what they do and tenacious in finding solutions to the toughest business challenges. Each month MSM will highlight one of its faculty members and this month the spotlight is on Hans Nijhoff.

Let me introduce myself…
I am Hans Nijhoff, Senior Project Consultant at the International Projects department (IPD) of MSM). I hold and Msc-degree in Agricultural Marketing Systems for Developing Countries from Cranfield University in the UK.

Through my consultancy work I came in contact with MSM…
Before joining MSM, I worked for about 15 years for Wageningen University & Research’s Centre for Development Innovation. In 2017, after returning from a 3-year post in Tanzania, I decided to start my own company “Pioneers Consulting”. Through consultancy work I came in contact with MSM and worked on several of its projects, specifically for the Latia project in Kenya. One thing led to another and I am now 80% employed at the MSM IPD department and manage 3 large OKP (Orange Knowledge Program) projects in South Africa, Tanzania and Jordan.

I enjoy coordinating multi-country teams…
I am what is called a “private sector development expert”, a field of work in which I am active for over 20 years. My focus is on business growth in the agriculture sector. Through this, I also gained much experience in managing teams while doing projects and assignments related to agricultural markets & value chain development, agribusiness finance and investments, and institutional development. I have built a strong professional network in Tanzania, Kenya Uganda and South Africa in these areas. I enjoy coordinating multi-country teams and bring out the best of my team members.

It is great that MSM takes the Triple Helix platform approach a step further into the rural setting context...
In my work it is important that the private sector believes in the benefits of our project ideas and activities. If we, our client and private companies are convinced, we know that we provide sustainable solutions. I enjoy working on models in this context, for example on how to achieve value chain growth by building local business clusters around lead firms. I have worked closely with many of such lead companies – looking for ways to grow their own business and through that provide market access to the thousands of small-scale and emerging farmers around them. Related to the ‘Aid, Trade & Investment’ agenda of the Dutch government, I helped many of these companies to get their ideas financed by investment funds such as AECF, aBi Trust, RVO, NMB, and Rabobank International. It is great that MSM – as a business school – takes the Triple Helix platform approach a step further into the rural setting context, and from there make it work at local scale. The Triple Helix model is part of most of MSM’s OKP projects and by combining best practices we can bring it to a next level model for agriculture development in Africa, Middle East and Asia.

You prepare, fly, implement, report, and start over again with the next mission…
I love my work at MSM. It gives me the opportunity to work with teams of individual experts. In this way I keep on learning, while at the same time create new friendships. It also allows me to travel and see the beauty that different countries have to offer. On the other hand, it can also be demanding at times: it means being away from your family for quite a lot of time. The work is never finished: you prepare, fly, implement, report, and start over again with the next mission of another project – while at the same time day-to-day stuff continues.

In my spare time you can often find me…
Spending time with my wife, kids and dog. The ordinary things in life are more attractive when traveling a lot. I live in Athens, Greece, and together with my family I like to walk in the nearby nature or in old neighborhoods around the city center. Or visit a Taverna with friends and enjoy some good food and wine. Or spend time with family in our hide-out cottage on the hill in south Crete. As a family we have traveled a lot, and have moved from the Netherlands to Tanzania and back to the Netherlands and then to Greece during the past 6 years. I am sure we will make some more nice trips in the future, perhaps combined with a work trip.

One of the most famous people I admire in life is…
Perhaps not very original, but for me this will always be Nelson Mandela. In my opinion, his way of being, speaking and smiling is just a one-in-a-million.

Related News:
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Defining competencies of TVET graduated for the water-smart horticulture industry in South Africa
MSM strengthens its project activities in the Middle East
Launching new Nuffic Orange Knowledge Projects in Tanzania and South Africa
Meet MSM’s faculty members: introducing Gigi Limpens