A Matter Of Making The Right Choices – Fetze Andringa: Nyenrode Business University
Determination, resilience, an appetite for success and a dedication to self-improvement. Such qualities can be typically found on the CV or personal statement of anyone seeking to gain entry to the C-Suite – a seat at the table in the boardroom. The same skillset can also be found in the locker rooms and on the courts and pitches of any sport in the world – from ping-pong to football.
Indeed, professional athletes share a skillset and an attitude akin to many of the most successful and ambitious leaders in industry today, so it’s hardly a surprise that so many of the world’s sporting elite find their way to business education, and excel at it. Whether to satisfy their consistent desire for professional growth and improvement or to set in place a plan B – a way to continue their legacies when their sporting glories are behind them, business schools around the world are opening their doors to students from less stereotypical backgrounds such as sports, recognising the value such individuals can bring.
In this BlueSky Thinking mini-series, we sit down with sporting stars around the world, transforming the attitudes, values and ambitions developed through lifelong competition to the classroom. Here they share how their own experiences have helped to shape their futures, and provide learning opportunities for those around them.
Name: Fetze Andringa
School: Nyenrode Business University
Programme: BSc in Business Administration
Tell us a little about yourself. Where did your journey in competitive sports begin? How have you grown as an athlete over the years?
My journey in sports began even before I was born, because my parents were both competitive athletes. My mom even played volleyball at national level. So, when I was old enough to participate in some sports, I was keen to get involved.
First, I began with playing baseball and football. This was during the time we lived in the USA (I moved to the US when I was a few months old and then lived there for around five years). When I came back to the Netherlands, I started to play hockey, along with tennis and sailing. Over the years, as I started playing more and more competitively, hockey became my priority over the other sports.
I still play hockey at the same club where I started – Gooise Hockeycub. My whole youth I looked up to the first team of our club and this year I had the honour to play in that team myself.
Studying and training for competitions must take up a lot of time. How do you balance your busy timetable, so that you are able to perform both academically and athletically?
It is indeed difficult to combine sometimes, but for me it was a matter of making choices. I chose to play hockey so this meant I sometimes had to miss out on having fun with friends in order to train. To make up for this lost time, I would hurry back after training so I could still have a few drinks with my friends.
Planning is also very important, because you have less time than other students may have to complete the homework or revise exams.
Are there scholarships/schemes/facilities at Nyenrode that have helped you keep competing in sports while studying? If so, how have they helped you?)
At Nyenrode there are scholarships, but this is more for students who do not have the financial capability to pay for tuition by themselves and this way they can still access higher education. For sports, there are no scholarships I am aware of, but they are busy making plans to ensure we can combine studying with competitive sports. What this will entail I do not know, but they are actively engaged in making sure the combination is doable.
Business and sports are both highly competitive environments. Have you found there are advantages from having a foot in both worlds? And if so, how have these advantages shaped your time at business school?
There are multiple advantages of playing sports and studying at a business school. One of the biggest is that you need to have discipline to combine the two things and this discipline is going to be a benefit further on in my life.
Next to that, it is also nice to come back home and visit the club I grew up with. The energy I get from this I take it back with me to Nyenrode and this is often very nice, because study can be hard and tiring.
Finally, what are your future plans? How do you see your time as a sportsperson shaping the rest of your career? And how will your studies also provide career opportunities in the short and the long-term?
I still do not know what I am going to do next year with sports. However, I have already learned a lot about teamwork and discipline from engaging in competitive sports.
If I stay at Gooise Heren 1, I would learn a lot more – how to combine sports with a job and how the lessons I have learned from playing hockey can feed into my future career.