Meet our MSc Student Kiki Van der Zee from the Netherlands

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Working, travelling and back to school

What is your story, how did you get to IBS?

After I finished my school in The Hague I thought, never again, I did not want to go back to school. I am a traveler and I did not have the money so I had to raise money for traveling plus I am really interested in hospitality. So I went to Aruba, it is a Caribbean island, many American tourists’ favorite place. I worked in an amazing restaurant and bar, 6 days a week. Then I travelled two months in south America which was great. During the trip, I realized that I wanted to do my masters. I traveled with my boyfriend and we talked a lot about this. Education, official certificates can just help, you have more options with these. Then I went home and everything happened very fast. We chose to go together for a study abroad. I searched the internet, there is a Dutch site called Study-Globe and there I found IBS. What really fascinated me was that you could do a master’s degree and get a diploma in one year. Budapest also attracted me, where I had not been but I heard about it and I knew it was an amazing city, which proved to be true. We traveled together and then we came together to Budapest, my boyfriend wanted it more than me. We both are doing Marketing management. The prices seemed to be good for students, too. So, I use part of the money that I collected for my education, I also have a student loan from the Dutch Government that later I need to pay back.

Were you always interested in marketing?

In marketing, yes a bit, but not necessarily in business, and maths. I like hospitality, I like to work with people, I like to see them happy. That was my first choice, I want to do something within hospitality. But then, I said, why not to combine it with marketing? I must say I really liked Professor Balint Nagy and his classes. We were sitting in a class that was very interactive and never boring. When I arrived at class for the first time, I was very scared. Professor Nagy just turned to me, and asked, Kiki what do you think about this? I was shocked. At that point, I realized that I could not fade away. I always had to pay attention. He could keep everyone attentive, and everyone listened to him.

You participated in IBS life in other ways as well.

Yes, I met admissions officer Orsolya Hentes, and she asked me to go with them to an educational fair in Stuttgart to promote the school, which I did. I like communication with people, and I like the school, so it was easy for me and I liked to do it. We were there for a few days. I must say I was very popular, many people came to me to get information about IBS. After the fair, I received inquiries from approximately 100 people interested to come to IBS, Budapest. I was standing there, talking, I loved doing this, and this was a great success, I was told later. Now I help out by doing posts for the Instagram account for IBS, I take images for example about our weekends, programs, student life, and put them up on Instagram. I have a lot of friends here from all over the world. A lot of students are studying marketing here, the pool to choose friends is big, with a lot of diversity, so it was easy to make friends. In general, I can say that Budapest is amazing for students. Food is good, the prices are good, partying is amazing, the best clubs are the ruin bars, we always go together with IBS students. This is kind of your family here. We do everything together, we go out, we make dinners together, we eat together. And well, we generally end up in Instant Club, where there are five different rooms with different music, with international people, it is a great place to meet people. We also rented a boat and went for a boat party on the Danube, you can hike a lot here, I think Budapest is a very student friendly city.

What does it mean for you that you receive the diploma of the University of Buckingham?

It means a lot. In Holland before you start your Masters you have to pass a GMat exam which is very difficult, especially for those who, like myself, are not really into mathematics, and rather expensive as well. The other thing is that in Holland to do a Masters takes two years, here I can complete it in one year. Now I can receive my diploma really soon and I can begin real life. Writing my dissertation, though, is rather challenging for me.

What is your topic?

It is a hard one. Artificial Intelligence and hospitality. I examine how far five star hotels can go with artificial intelligence at the front desk. How much can a hotel change the service at the front desk with AI? We pay a lot of money so we expect human “touch”. I see that it is a trend that even one star hotels change their front desk service and apply AI. They do not have personal check-in service any more for example. Do consumers want this happen or not? That is what I am going to test. I am going to set up a questionnaire, collect data. First, I am doing interviews with experts, who work in premium hotels, what they think, how they see this trend. Then I will ask the customers. I want to see the gaps and then write my dissertation. Professor Alan Godsave is my tutor and, actually, he is another favorite professor of mine, he is very helpful, he really really wants to help students. I have to submit my paper by the end of September, I still have a lot ahead of me.

What are your plans when you have your diploma?

I hope I can find valid research outcomes, which are helpful and informative. This work will be helpful for myself as well, I can use this knowledge when I apply for a job. I would like to work in hospitality, and I do hope that this work will help me to be a better applicant in this field. I also like event management, organizing events. These are my interests but honestly, it is really hard to tell what I want and it is a bit early. I hope for the best, we will see what life brings.

MSc in Marketing Management