Skye van Heyzen

Skye van Heyzen began his journey studying a Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship (SLMBA) at Arden University and has always regarded himself as having entrepreneurial spirit. Now, thanks to the skills he has learnt through his apprenticeship he’s been able to put his business passion into practice.

Skye, 36, grew up in South Africa and later moved to the Netherlands to study plant science and genetic resources before moving to Norfolk, England, where he now lives with his wife and their two-year-old daughter.

Skye works full-time as an Innovation Crops Product Manager for the agricultural agronomy merchant, Agrii, and studied for his MBA at the same time.

While working full-time, Skye decided that it was time to return to education: “I wanted further progression and realised that I had a lack of knowledge, experience and know-how in business related activities.

He continued: “Arden was recommended by our HR team as a suitable fit for me and the company. After investigating what Arden had to offer, I realised it would be perfect for my circumstances.”

After looking at various MBA providers, no other universities seemed to match the cross-functional approach that Arden offered with the SLMBA apprenticeship. Skye explains: “Most other apprenticeships are still taught in a “silo” type style which didn’t appeal to me. Inevitably my hope was to not just gain the degree and knowledge but to gain experience through interacting with individuals from different sectors; while developing a different way of thinking.”

The flexibility of distance learning worked perfectly for Skye’s work and family commitments, explaining that the apprenticeship ran alongside his day job: “This in itself creates significant challenges, but if they can be met it is extremely rewarding.”

Arden enabled Skye to achieve an education and relevant work experience to grow his knowledge in different ways simultaneously, he explains: “I now have the ability to think differently while developing my knowledge base and can consider a range of various ramifications around decision making.

“With this in mind, I had been tasked to create a business case for a diversification opportunity with Agrii. I utilised the various bits of gleaned knowledge and thought processes to successfully develop, defend and now deploy the business case.”

Skye was recently given the go-ahead by his employer to conduct a project with a significant budget, reflecting on securing this project, he said: “I honestly do not think I would have been able to do it without having gone through the SLMBA apprenticeship process. I feel my project proposition was a success because of the development journey I have been on during my apprenticeship.”

However, Skye faced a few obstacles during his time studying with Arden, explaining: “Finding time has been difficult, in between balancing work, studying my MBA and life. Arguably, I haven’t made it easy for myself, not only because of a toddler running around but also moving house during the pandemic.”

Reflecting on his upbringing, where his Dad was a businessman, Skye also felt that he also had an entrepreneurial spirit running through him and his apprenticeship allowed him to open up and reach his full potential. He says: “Having gone through this course so far what has become apparent is the power of the entrepreneur mindset and I’m excited to implement more of the skills that I have learnt from my apprenticeship into my daily work.”

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