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How the Honours Master inspired me to cross my own boundaries

Rik Kleine

Back in 2015, I was given the good news that I had been accepted for the Honours Master at the University of Groningen. I wanted to make my final year at the university count, so applying for the Honours programme seemed the logical thing to do. In retrospect, the outcome far exceeded my expectations.

The programme started off with several masterclasses that approached the theme of leadership from different academic perspectives, such as history and social psychology. In my case, it also included the course called ‘Experiencing Leadership through Movement,’ an alternative form of masterclass which provided insights on leadership by carrying out different exercises in a group context.

This combination of classes provided me with an abundance of theoretical knowledge and practical experience, which allowed me to gain precious insights. For instance, the notion that leadership is not taken by the individual, but rather given by the group, kept returning throughout the several master classes. What truly changed things for me, however, was realizing the power of teamwork. Specifically, the interdisciplinary nature of the programme provided me with a quite simple but crucial insight: everything is possible if you find the right people with the right skills to work with.

This important lesson laid the foundation for my Masterwork: the final individual project of the Honours Master. I had always wanted to develop and promote an online product, but I always found myself constrained by my own abilities to actually build something. The Honours programme made me realize that this did not have to be an obstacle. Instead, all I had to do was find a co-founder to complement my existing skill-set. Accordingly, I decided to approach my cousin, since I knew he had some programming experience. Fortunately, he enthusiastically embraced the idea to create an Android application together. This marked the beginning of an exciting partnership.

Rik Kleine
Rik Kleine

After quite some brainstorming, we came up with the idea of GroupFinder: an activity- and group-based meetup app which allows users to form a group, chat, and meet up with like-minded people in their area. My cousin set out to physically build the product, whereas I familiarized myself with the best practices surrounding product development and writing a business plan. This was the core project for my Masterwork. Drawing from influential literature recommended to me by my supervisor, such as The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and Running Lean by Ash Maurya, I finished the business plan in June. To conclude the project, I pitched GroupFinder in front of a panel of experts and a class of students enrolled in the entrepreneurship minor of the Hanze University of Applied Science.

This Masterwork was like a crash-course in entrepreneurship for me, as it took me through all of the stages involved in setting up a startup. Six months later, my cousin and I uploaded the first version of GroupFinder to Google Play. From that point onwards, I have been educating myself in online marketing. So far I set up and carried out AdWords and Facebook ad campaigns, built the website, and wrote my first blog content in efforts to improve the ranking of GroupFinder in major search engines. Although progress has been slow with our limited budget, I am confident that we will be able to make it work in the long run. Most importantly, I am loving every minute of it!

The Honours Master inspired and motivated me to cross my own boundaries. The interdisciplinary and multicultural programme challenged me to step outside of my comfort-zone. As a result, I made great strides in terms of my personal development, which will greatly benefit my future career. To other ambitious students who are approaching the final stage of their studies: I would highly recommend the Master’s Honours programme at the University of Groningen. Make your last year your best!
Last modified:11 July 2022 1.52 p.m.