Get to Know MS in Entrepreneurship Student: Lex van den Herik

The MS in Entrepreneurship program is made up of a diverse group of students who come from various backgrounds and experiences. We love to highlight students from the current cohort, so read on to hear more about Lex’s journey to the program.

Please tell us your name.

Lex van den Herik.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in the city of Haarlem, The Netherlands, which is about 20 minutes outside of Amsterdam. After high school, I moved to Rotterdam for my undergraduate studies and lived there for about four years with friends. Growing up I aspired to move to the United States someday. The melting pot of cultures and business opportunities is what attracts me to this country.

What did you do before entering this program?

Before starting this program, I had several work, project, and educational experiences in business. In high school, I had multiple side jobs with the goal of seeing businesses operate from the inside. My roles varied from stocking shelves at a grocery store, working 14+ hour shifts at beach restaurants during summer, and soliciting donations in busy shopping districts. Looking inside those organizations inspired me to self-educate about how businesses are started and run successfully by reading books and listening to podcasts. After graduating from high school my interest brought me to Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, to study Business Administration. This shaped my understanding of how established organizations are being managed. After graduating from Erasmus University, I joined the consumer electronics webshop Coolblue as a buyer/vendor manager. This experience revealed to me that big companies rely on old systems and clumsy procedures.

When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Did you have any entrepreneurship experience before entering this program?

Being an entrepreneur has been on my mind for as long as I can remember. Growing up I was surrounded by family and friends who were entrepreneurs. Hearing their stories and seeing their work come to life has been very inspiring. Their shaping of our environment grabbed my attention for becoming an entrepreneur. My first entrepreneurial experience was in high school when I built a community on Instagram with 50,000 organic followers. This community allowed me to run paid advertisements for Amazon Prime Video and start a merchandising business to monetize the audience. Also, the entrepreneurship contest at university showed me I want to be an entrepreneur. It was thrilling to talk to customers, create a minimum viable product, and pitch our ideas to stakeholders. The best part? Our team won first place in the contest.

Tell us why you are excited to be a part of the current cohort for the MS ENTRE degree program?

What excites me about this cohort is that it brings you in touch with many awesome professionals in the Seattle community. Every week the level of teachers, guest speakers, and mentors who are brought into class next amazes me. Because this cohort is small-scale we get a lot of attention to our personal development from all these professionals. They truly care about my growth and are eager to help me reach my goals.

What advantages do you see to opening a business now?

Starting a business now has its perks, thanks to technology and a more complicated world. This complexity creates new chances to solve emerging problems. Technology makes it simpler to develop and deliver products and services to the right people.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Solving a big problem by running a business! A bonus would be that I get to travel around the world and meet new people working on interesting projects in the process.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love going outdoors and doing sports with friends. You can find me hiking, playing soccer and field hockey, and being on the road with friends or my girlfriend. Seattle has a lot to offer. My goal is to explore as much as I can and meet and learn from new people working on interesting stuff while I’m here.

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about applying to the MS ENTRE degree program?

You should know that this is a program where you get as much out of it as you put time into it. When you work hard on a project and make the most out of the connections being handed to you your learning potential is unlimited. In addition, make sure that you have clear for yourself whether you want to start, work in, or advise startups after graduating. All options are valid for this program. Having this clarified will just help a lot to make focused decisions in the program that are in line with your goals.

Learn About MS in Entrepreneurship

This post is part of a series where we ask current students to answer questions about their experience at Foster. Explore the 11 questions tag for more interviews.

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