Joeri van Geelen on challenges and following dreams

Rohan: Youssef is a RealAcader from the 2nd Stanford camp this year. Youssef, by himself, is a very inspiring person and I’m sure we will nail him down for an interview in one of the upcoming Monday posts. Youssef is a 25 year old who recently graduated from the Masters Program at HEC, Paris. He will be starting his career at the Boston Consulting Group having previously interned there and is a Moroccan Chess Champion. He has already run a speed-chess competition venture in Morocco and even had the honor of playing a game with famous Russian Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov.

joeriYoussef is greatly inspired by Joeri – Joeri is a 24 year old clean-tech entrepreneur in China. Joeri and Youssef first met in France at a regional event of the CEMS prestigious Master. Joeri has a varied range of experiences at Siemens Wind Power, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. He has completed his Master in International Management from the Rotterdam School of Management and from NHH (Norway) as parts as his CEMS degree.


Interview Transcript

1. What inspires/drives/motivates you?

Challenges motivate and drive me. I always look for new personal learning and growth opportunities, since they encourage me to go the extra mile.
My entrepreneurial mindset usually drags me into new and creative avenues that present uncertain and complex situations, yet inspiring and exciting at the same time

2. Looking back, was there a defying moment/experience in your life?

Here, I will refer to my first study abroad period in Nottingham, UK. For the first time I started living entirely independently of my peers at home and enriched my life by thinking across borders and cultural boundaries.

The experience shaped me to become the person I am today, and has opened my mind to anything undiscovered. Basically, I thrive in an international atmosphere since it presents a rich and diverse chemistry, bearing most potential for added value in many ways. The study abroad experience has thus given me the international edge that has had a long-term impact on all decisions I make, and has made me a more ‘all-round’ person.

3. What advice would you give to future young leaders?

Recently, I found exactly the industry and type of people I would like to surround myself with. I would advise young leaders to follow their heart before listening to their brain’s impulse.
I believe that everyone becomes most successful, according to his or her own definition, when doing what one loves and is passionate about. Why? Because it eventually makes one a more happy person, which positively enhances one’s energy level, which in turn boosts personal and societal success.


The aim going forward would be to have a nice mix of youth and experience. And it was nice to have that youthful, thought provoking and idealistic view from Joeri..

Real Leaders Team