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Wouter jacobs

Wouter Jacobs.jpg

Which courses do you teach this year?

  • MSc Seminar Disruptive Scenarios: Ports and Global Logistics (UPT)

  • MSc Elective Commodity Trade & Supply Networks (RSM)

  • Disruptive Scenarios in Shipping (MEL)

  • Maritime Studies (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

What do you like most about the course that you teach/your field of expertise?

Inspiring young talented people to think critically about the world that surrounds them, stimulate them to form informed opinions, and to bring my passion across.


What did you study and where?

MA in Spatial Planning & Human Geography at Radboud University in Nijmegen, graduated in 2002, and a PhD in Management at Radboud University (2007).

What kind of student were you?

In the first two years I was a hardworking student that just simply wanted to pass the tests and get my grades and for the rest enjoy student (night)life and the freedom of not living with my parents anymore. Later I realized that time is actually short and that when enrolled as student you have so much opportunity to gain knowledge and to follow your curiosity. That’s when I started to follow other courses outside my curriculum, went to evening debates and open lectures, did a course on a university abroad, pursued an internship abroad. I became more outspoken and critical. For example, I followed an United Nations International Student Conference and a course on European integration, topics outside my core master.

Looking back, is there anything you would do differently about your time as a student?

I do not have any regrets actually. Perhaps, I could have done a second master and learn another language. The point is that time is short with only 4 or 5 years and which are over before you notice and this kind of freedom and opportunity you will never have ever again once you start working, start family etc. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Having 3 kids (aged 8, 6, and 3) implies that I hardly have any spare time, hahaha. In these corona times there isn’t much to do anyway. But in normal times I enjoy doing outdoor activities with my kids. I enjoy travelling a lot and being in other contexts and cultures. And now and then I still have time to hang out with my buddies (which are all folks I know from university) and think that we are 25 years old again (only to find out the next morning that we are not), go out for a drink and talk about the absurdities of life. Each year since we graduated we have been on annual reunion and we visit a city abroad were we can see a football match and have some fun in the evenings.


What are you most proud of?

Personally I am most proud of my family. Seeing my kids grow up is amazing. Professionally I am most proud of setting up my own ‘business line’ within UPT. One part consists of a long term partnership with Nanyang Technological University to provide for a
4-month Maritime Studies program for 80-100 students annually. I have set up this program from scratch, going to Singapore, talk with the Embassy, connect with the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) who linked me with NTU, develop content and mobilize expertise. The other part of my business line is an executive and MSc elective program on international commodity trade. Setting up this program with industry partners was an enormous challenge and learning curve: university politics, designing, pitching, marketing etc. I learned that it is really important to believe in your ideas and yourself. Now we have many industry supporters and set up partnerships with Singapore Management University and J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities at the CU Denver Business School of the University of Colorado.


What is your advice to this year's UPT students?

Stay curious, follow your intuition and believe in yourself. Make the most of your time as a student and build friendships. My experience is that the friendships you made during your college years will last. And -I know that the world changed with the pandemic- go abroad! You learn so much when going abroad, not only about other cultures, but also about yourself and your own country. When you study or work abroad you really challenge yourself: make new friends, find accommodation, discover the easiest ways to travel around etc. etc. You continuously need to adapt and make decisions that are not part of your routine. The social skills I have learned and the many experiences I had when abroad helped me during my entire career.

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