Student Robert Sillem about the MSc in Management in Amsterdam and how it was made possible.

A friend advised Robert Sillem to obtain his master's degree at Nyenrode to grow further as a person and as an entrepreneur. He has a beautiful life goal: to be a successful entrepreneur with a positive impact on the world. A scholarship from the American Friends of Nyenrode University (AFNU), our alumni in the United States, helps him achieve his goal.

Robert Sillem

The fact that Robert has a true entrepreneurial spirit became clear during his student years in Groningen, where he obtained a bachelor's degree. After a first (not so successful) attempt of importing dishwasher tablets from Germany, he started the Postdruif Company with a friend, serving wine at student events.

From wine to cycling

In Groningen he quickly became known for his entrepreneurial spirit, which brought him into contact with Swapfiets, then still a start-up from Delft. "They asked me for the position of regional manager Groningen," says Robert. "Under my leadership, Groningen became the largest and fastest growing location for Swapfiets."

At the beginning of 2018 he started an honors minor called “Da Vinci”. “In addition to this minor, I found plenty of room to continue working on my own company. We expanded Postdruif to Leiden and soon after I started a new company called HighSynergy. This company originated from my interest in sustainable energy. We are conducting research into possibilities to help sports fields become more sustainable.”

Further develop entrepreneurial skills

After graduating in Groningen, Robert returned to his hometown Amsterdam. “I decided to continue with my ventures unless I had the opportunity to do my master's at Nyenrode. I preferred to study at Nyenrode based on the idea that I could further develop my entrepreneurial skills here.”

“I also felt attracted by the personal and warm environment and interaction at Nyenrode,” Robert continues. He applied for the MSc in Management Program and applied for a scholarship. Robert was admitted to the program and thanks to a scholarship from the American Friends of Nyenrode University, his dream also became financially feasible.

Serious and professional atmosphere

In September 2019 he started his master's program at Nyenrode at the Amsterdam campus. “The scholarship means a lot to me. I can now follow my dream master’s program. Nyenrode offers me a lot of opportunities and I am very happy and grateful that this scholarship allows me to develop further in this special place. The Nyenrode community is so special and the Amsterdam office also appealed to me because of the presence of the Incubator. The Incubator is a pressure cooker for start-ups where they can work on the development of their company under supervision of a Nyenrode professor.”

Now that he has been studying at Nyenrode in Amsterdam for six months, the fact that he made the right choice is confirmed even more. “I like the serious and professional atmosphere that prevails at the university,” says Robert. “The international character also appeals to me. Through the different group assignments, I learn to cooperate better with people from different countries, which brings great value on a personal level as well as professionally. My English has also improved strongly at an academic level and my team spirit has grown stronger. In addition, my views have changed enormously and by working with theory and various cases I become even better at entrepreneurship. Unconsciously, I already apply the new knowledge in my company HighSynergy.”

Future after Nyenrode

Robert always wanted to be an entrepreneur himself, but because of his studies at Nyenrode he conceived the idea that after obtaining his master's degree he might want to work for a company first. “The MSc title also gives me the opportunity to develop a career within companies. My network is rapidly expanding through the workshops that Nyenrode organizes at companies. I hope that will result in a great opportunity. If that challenge consists of further expanding a startup, I see that as a great learning experience. All my options are therefore still open. The only thing that is certain for me is that I also want to finance a scholarship for a future student at Nyenrode in the future. In this way I give someone the same unique opportunity as I was given.”

Do you also want to give motivated students like Robert a flying start? Then contribute to a scholarship for talents who do not have sufficient financial resources to pay for a study at Nyenrode. Please contact the Nyenrode Fund for more information: or Donating to the Nyenrode Fund or the American Friends of Nyenrode University both offer attractive tax advantages.]


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