Zitem from Bulgaria studies Global Project and Change Management at HZ in Middelburg. "For me it’s a big opportunity to work on global challenges, together with students from all over the world."

Why did you decide to study Global Project and Change Management in the Netherlands?

“The programme GPCM at HZ gives me the chance to deal with sustainability issues, while also broadening my knowledge in a variety of fields. For example economics, technology, science, politics and international relations. For me it’s a big opportunity to work on global challenges, together with students from all over the world. Global Project and Change Management is a unique programme. It has no equivalent in the Netherlands. So it was easy for me to chose for HZ in Middelburg.”

Why is it important for you to contribute to a better world through your education?

“Improving and sustaining our environment is an increasingly vital part of our daily lives. Yet, many businesses are unaware of how to tackle the problem or lack the drive to do so. I want to work towards changing that. I feel that my generation bears an equal responsibility to contribute to a sustainable world. By enrolling this programme, I hope I will be able to inspire young people to act responsibly towards improving and protecting our environment.”

How would you describe Global Project and Change Management?

Briefly, it is a Bachelor of Business Administration combined with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The programme combines theory and practice, project management, business and research with global issues. During the first semester, we collaborated with Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) on a project to improve the water quality in Lake Veere. We will be working on a variety of valuable projects in the coming years, as each semester has a different theme. As a GPCM student, you will develop into a professional with a cross-domain approach. For example between the themes of water, energy, vitality and agro-industrial food."

What are your goals during and after your study?

“My short-term goals are to improve my self-reflection processes, have a deeper understanding of business complexity, and refine my soft skills and competencies. This would entail learning about various leadership styles, as well as developing my own emotional intelligence, communication, and social dynamic abilities. GPCM appeals to me as a personal development opportunity. I think it will have a substantial influence on my professional career. After graduation, I'm thinking about the master Public Policy and Human Development at Maastricht University.”

Do you need a lot of specific knowledge on the different topics to get through the programme properly?

As GPCM students, we learn to bring focus to the strategic themes. There is close collaboration with the affiliated research groups and professorships. Simultaneously, we develop the domain wide GPCM competencies. They will help you graduate as a widely focused and highly employable project leader and change professional. We have supplementary "Living Lab" lectures for each project that helps us grasp the context and background of the issue we're working on. We learn how to interpret major social-economic developments, recognize the value offered by new technologies, and initiate and facilitate co-operation between the various stakeholders.”

Can you describe how GPCM differs from many other studies?

“Great value is placed on things like personal and professional growth, attendance and involvement, reflection and feedback, and extracurricular engagement. They are all heavily emphasized throughout the curriculum. The professional competence that you must learn to master and display is the starting point of each semester. Every semester, we create portfolios comprising deliverables such as professional products (reports, designs, analysis) to demonstrate competency. To build our portfolio, we must carry out assignments for current stakeholders and parties throughout courses and projects. Students are also encouraged to participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities linked to personal and community development, as well as the SDG's. As a student you are expected to participate actively in an international learning community in which students and lecturers co-create the GPCM curriculum and design extracurricular activities.”

Can you tell us something about the atmosphere and the cooperation with your fellow students?

“My interactions with the students from GPCM and even other study programmes have been really positive and beneficial. We all help each other. This really strengthens our personal growth. Cooperation is a key skill for future employers. So far I've loved working in groups. I always appreciate the opportunity to learn from my peers. Besides that, the contact with lecturers has been very helpful and effective for me.”

In your view, what are the most important skills for a GPCM student?

“For a good start, I think that would be work ethic, adaptability and organizational skills. But it's also the ability to solve problems in a timely and effective manner. If you have the capacity to approach a subject from several perspectives, this allows you to accomplish tasks even under difficult circumstances. Besides that it’s very helpful when you’re good at communicating. During the programme I think leadership is an important skill to develop. Currently I’m working on my leadership qualities. We do a lot of that in self-awareness classes. For me it’s very challenging, because it asks me to step outside my comfort zone.”

Read more about the programme Global Project and Change Management at HZ in the Netherlands