‘My parents are traditional working-class people. I was the first one in my family to go to university. This made me very driven and motivated to grab this opportunity with both hands and make sure I made a success of it. That said, in those days, I had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise, so I must admit, my decision to study Information Science was a tad random. Aside from my boyish aspirations to become an astronaut, pilot or a firefighter, the only other area that really fascinated me was astronomy. But when I realized that only the lucky few prosper in this field – well done André Kuipers! – I turned to the other subject that I had always found interesting: technology. After finishing my Electrical Engineering bachelor’s degree in Rotterdam, I went on to do my Computer Science master’s in Delft.’
Black coffee is best - well, sort of
‘My parents’ families originate from the Netherlands, Indonesia, Spain, the Czech Republic and Poland, so a desire to experience different cultures is part of my DNA. When I was 24, I did a year-long internship in the United Kingdom. As I’d only ever lived at home before then, this trip was the first time I was really on my own. I studied in a town called Swindon in South West England, and although it definitely wasn’t as vibey as London or other big cities, I had the time of my life. Taking care of myself, making friends from all over the world, interacting with so many different cultures, dealing with setbacks on my own, even making my own coffee – all meaningful learning points. Although, I must say, I did start drinking my coffee black during this time – not because I liked it that way, but because so often I forgot to buy milk and sugar at the supermarket.’
A desire to experience different cultures is part of my DNA.
‘If it wasn’t for my then-girlfriend and now my wife, Angelique, I probably would have stayed in the United Kingdom to work there a little longer. But she gave me lots of reasons to come back, and so that’s what I did. A little while later, in late 1996, I was at a job fair when somebody from Andersen Consulting [Accenture’s former name] approached me. I had never even heard of Andersen Consulting, but still, we had a rather nice chat. A few weeks later I had a job interview and before I knew it there was a contract in front of me waiting to be signed.’
'One of the things that appealed to me most about the field of consultancy was the fact that it didn’t limit me to a narrow career path or force me to choose a specific line of work that would define me forever. As a consultant, you come across so many different industries and roles, so I figured this job would help me to find my niche one day. The fact that I am still at Accenture almost 22 years later is proof that I have come to realize that this is my niche – it is exactly what I want to do with my life. It also helped that from day one at the company I have worked on projects that have a technical component to them. In the first group I was placed in, there were numerous technically-oriented people. Together, we accomplished Accenture’s first-ever BPO deal. Those were just very exciting times, and in fact, over the past two decades, my work has never stopped being exciting.’
More about Michael's passion, life-changing moments, and surprising facts are awaiting you to discover. Read his full story and explore the opportunities to join us and share your own stories at: www.werkenbijaccenture.nl