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Alumni Spotlight

Portrait of Joren Scharn in a business suit.

Joren Scharn

  • Doctor in Business Administration from UIW School of Professional Studies (USA)
  • M.S. in Business Administration from Nyenrode Business School (NL)
  • B.S. in Information Engineering from Hogeschool Zuyd (NL)
  1. Tell us about your background.
    I am a result-oriented professional with 14 years of international experience in strategy consulting and business transformation. My skills are in delivering creative, client-oriented solutions that translate into lasting competitive advantage. I am passionate about people, quantitative research and complex problem solving. I am also multi-lingual with strong command over Dutch, English, German, and French languages. I've been recognized for my performance in outstanding change leadership, value creation and people development.
  2. What are some of your hobbies and interests?
    My hobbies are mostly related to music. I love going to music festivals, playing guitar in my band (nothing beats doing what you love live on stage!), sound engineering and recording, and tinkering with guitar equipment and electronics.
  3. What are your currently reading or what is your favorite quote? 
    I am currently reading Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. My favorite quote is “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” by Winston Churchill.
  4. Are you involved in any organizations or associations? Tell us about how you are involved. 
    I am an Advisory board member of an international Fintech investment firm, as well as a mentor and coach at an Amsterdam based accelerator/incubator for entrepreneurs and startup companies.
  5. Why did you choose to pursue the DBA at UIW? Joren Scharn on stage playing guitar to his toddler daughter.
    I was ready for a new intellectual challenge. Coincidentally, my employer launched a very generous reimbursement arrangement for educational expenses at the same time the DBA program started at UIW. The circumstances were just right and the University had a good reputation, so I went for it. It was a bit of an impulse decision really, but I never had any regrets.
  6. Tell us about one of your favorite experiences as a SPS student. Did it involve a faculty member or a class project?
    Conducting a 2.5-hour overseas conference call with a few of my classmates while sitting alone in a dark dining hall of a 150-year-old hotel in Cullinan, South Africa in the middle of the night. We were finalizing a presentation and recording voice-overs for a case assignment that was due the next day. We had been branding our case work with Francis Quarles’ Midnight Oil rhyme for a while and we sure lived up to it that night! It was tough at the time, but I have fond memories of it now, especially since the hard work was rewarded with top marks.
  7. How did you juggle life and school at the same time?
    Carmen, my wife and the mother of my two young kids (1 and 3 at the time), said that she would support me through the DBA program as long as I would complete it in the shortest possible amount of time, so I did. While three courses per semester for five straight semesters (including research & dissertation) required some serious discipline from my part, she is the one who made it all possible. On the dedication page of my dissertation it aptly reads, “Carmen, love of my life, thank you for your endless support, patience, inspiration, encouragement and sacrifice. This would be my present to you, if it weren’t your gift to me.” 
  8. What advice would you give prospective and current SPS students?
    • Get to know your classmates and be a team player. While you could technically complete the program all by yourself, you’ll have a much richer experience tackling the case work in groups.
    • Identify students that run at your pace and team up with them. I was very fortunate to be in study groups with the same 3-5 people a number of times and we became a well-oiled case assignment machine.
    • When putting together your curriculum, pay attention to the order of the courses. Some lay the groundwork for others or give you a head start if you take them early on, such as the Writing for Publication course.
    • While the online/hybrid programs are very well organized, join classes in person as often as you can. I found most of them to be very interactive and you’ll have both richer discussions and more opportunity for social engagements.
  9. What are your 2020 goals?
    I am not a goal-oriented person. Like a surfer, I try to get on a good wave and stay on it as long as it propels me forward or until a better wave comes along. This opportunity-focused mindset led to a rather messy but adventurous journey in life and I’m very happy with where that got me. I’ve been flirting with the idea to combine teaching at a university with freelance consulting work and the doctorate degree I earned at the UIW School of Professional Studies is a critical enabler of that scenario. All it takes now is for the right wave to come by…

Pictured above: Joren Scharn playing guitar at a charity event in Helotes, Texas, the last gig he did in the US. In front of him is his biggest fan and 3 year old daughter, Rachel.