Sleepless in Shanghai

It is 3am in Shanghai. I am awake. I have typed tons of emails. I have Skyped home. I have phoned long lost friends. It is 3am. I am awake. I am not usually a night owl, in fact, I am the opposite of a night owl.

Yep, you guessed it – jetlag. One of the things you have to live with when travelling in Asia. However, being awake at this hour of the night also allows you time to think and reflect. I often lie thinking about the cities that I have just been to as well as start planning for my visits to the cities to come. Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou – all in 13 days. Phew!!

The people I meet more than make up for the jetlag and the tiredness. It is amazing to experience the energising effect of connecting with great people. As soon as I start interviewing candidates or speaking to them at an MBA Fair, I am engrossed in their stories and often amazed by their experiences. Of course it also helps that I love RSM, so speaking about our school and our MBA programme comes easily!

I do like the attitude of our Asian candidates. They are always eager to grab new opportunities, to go to new places and experience new things. They are always very well prepared which makes for in-depth conversations. In most of them I see an eagerness to explore the world and a thankfulness for the opportunities an MBA can bring.

If you travel to Asia often you run the risk of becoming blasé about the sights, smells and sounds of this energetic continent. However, without fail,  every time I land in an Asian city, I am excited to learn more. It is as if the magnitude of these cities draws you in, forcing you to keep on looking deeper, to try to get to the bottom of everything that happens here, (a futile task, I know…but I do keep on trying!)

I am so privileged to be in a position where I can connect with locals from all these cities. It is lovely to hear their stories, to get their tips on places to go, to find out what they love about the places they live in. AND – I get to see some of them back in Rotterdam and I can return the favour!


It is now 4:23am in Shanghai. I am still awake. I have gorged down the minibar Pringles and am reading the Hotel Guide. It has come to this….:)

Maryke Luijendijk-Steenkamp
Director MBA Marketing & Admissions, RSM

Sleepless in Shanghai

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