First graduates from HAS University of Applied Sciences in Venlo!

News 4 July 2017
dominique &  kai graduates location Venlo - HAS Univeristy of Applied Sciences

The first 18 graduates were presented with their Bachelor degrees in front of proud family and friends. Dominique and Kai are 2 of them. 

In late summer 2013, the first students stepped through the front door of the brand new HAS building in Venlo, to start their study programmes in Applied Biology and Business Management & Agribusiness. Four years later, on 10 July 2017, the first 18 graduates (7 women and 11 men) were presented with their Bachelor degrees in front of proud family and friends.  Some are continuing their studies, others are about to start working in the sector. A few of them will stay in Limburg, which is exactly the reason why HAS added the Venlo site back in 2013: to help strengthen the local economy by providing qualified graduates for the local economy.


Walking straight into a job

Some graduates already had a job at the time they received their degree. We asked 2 of them, Dominique Troisfontaine (Business Management & Agribusiness) and Kai Smolenaers (Applied Biology) to tell us something about their time at HAS. Dominique is local student from Venray. The highlight of his time at the HAS was when he was invited to present at TedX Venlo. He is now beginning a career with the accountancy firm, ABAB. Kai Smolenaers is taking up a position at Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds. When he started at the HAS 4 years ago, he already knew that this was where he wanted to work.

Why did you choose for the new HAS University of Applied Sciences in Venlo?

Dominique: “Before I came to HAS, I studied Greenport Retail Management at the Citaverde College in Horst. My favourite subjects were management and economics. I also went on an internship to Canada at that time, and became interested in travelling further afield. The combined degree in Business Management & Agribusiness was ideal for me. I wanted to go to a small university, and that’s why I chose Venlo. Living in Venray also helps. It was very special that everything and everyone was new when we started. We got to know each other really quickly as a result, and had great personal contact with the lecturers.”

Kai: “I first wanted to sign up in Den Bosch, but I was too late. This was because I wasn’t sure about taking a degree or going straight on to an internal training programme at Bayer CropScience, the company where I had worked part-time for several years. I eventually chose the first option and that’s when Venlo came into the picture. This also turned out to be the better option, because it’s much closer to my home. I really enjoyed being one of the first students there. Things didn’t all go smoothly during the first year, but because we were with such a small group, those ‘minor problems’ soon got resolved. There was a great open atmosphere.”

What was the highlight of your study programme?

Dominique:My highlight was my TEDx Talk about dyslexia. Our lecturer, Marc Pruijssers, told me about TEDx Venlo, and I decided to enter the preliminary rounds. That was an experience I won’t forget easily! It really made an impact. The best reaction was when 4 adults came up to me at the end and said: ‘Thank you for also telling our story.’ And I’ve now also been invited by the municipality of Venlo to tell my story about how to tackle low literacy.”

HAS Hogeschool eerste gediplomeerden

Photo Dominique: Estera Marysia

Kai: “I think the highlight of my studies was my internship abroad. I went to Bayer CropScience in Murcia, Spain, where I carried out research into the specific traits of a population of double haploid Cantaloupe melons. This data from DNA samples of the plants in question allowed a lab in America to find the genes responsible for various traits. This was a great time with amazing colleagues. I learned such a lot during that period.”

What personal traits have you conquered over the past 4 years?

Dominique: “For me, it was my insecurity. If someone told me 4 years ago that I would stand in front of 400 people at TEDx, I would probably have asked if they were in their right mind. Now, I enjoy giving presentations, and people tell me I come across naturally. And I’ve also learnt that those who persevere, win. During my first year, I decided that I really wanted an internship in the Food & Agriculture department of the Rabobank. It took 3 years, but I was finally invited for an interview and was accepted.”

Kai: “I conquered my procrastination. Just like a lot of my fellow students, during the first couple of years, I waited till the end of term to hand in my reports. This went ok for a while, until I reached a point where I barely finished a report before the deadline. Then I realised that I had to change something. I resolved this during my final year project, because I realised that I’d wouldn’t pass my degree otherwise. And I’ll will never deadlines get the better of me again.”


You both have a job nearby. Tell us a bit about that.

Dominique: “I’ve got a job with the accountancy firm, ABAB in Boxmeer. I did a project for them with 3 other students during the second year, during which we analysed ABAB Venlo, based on the 7S model. Since then, I’ve been connected to Monique Jenniskens, Accountancy Manager at ABAB in Venlo, via LinkedIn. When I placed an update on LinkedIn, saying that I’d started my final year project, Monique approached me and then things just went from there. For the next few years, I’m going to study to become a registered accountant.”  

Kai: “Even before I came to HAS, I knew from my part-time job that I wanted to become an assistant plant breeder. And that is exactly the job I now have. I’m really happy that I managed this after my 4 years of studying! I’m sure I’m really going to enjoy the work and, because I already know the company so well, I feel as though I’ve got off to a great start.”