Meet alumnus Jean Paul Thijzen!

Meet alumnus Jean Paul Thijzen!

05/16/2024 - 08:33

A Q&A with Jean Paul who's enjoying his working life as Energy Manager at the Hyatt Regency in Aruba.

When did you study in Breda?
I started my bachelor’s in 2018, and my master’s in 2022. 

Which study programme(s) did you do? 
International Tourism Management (BA) and Tourism Destination Management (MA). 

Where do you work?
I work at the Hyatt Regency Aruba.  

What is the company’s core business?
Hyatt Regency Aruba is a four-star luxury hotel located at Palm Beach on the Caribbean island of Aruba. The hotel, which is part of the well-known Hyatt Regency chain, consists of 359 rooms. Hyatt Regency Aruba’s mission is to care for people so they can be their best. Moreover, the resort has been EarthCheck certified for 12 years. Hyatt is dedicated to sustainability and committed to making a difference through Hyatt’s regular operations.  

How does your job as Energy Manager relate to your studies at BUas?
While studying at BUas, I conducted several research reports, including analysing tourism sector trends and data. This experience has given me a strong foundation on how to conduct research and create professional reports. Currently, I am responsible for creating and analysing reports on the hotel’s consumption of resources and presenting these to the higher board. Additionally, I research ways in which the resort can implement green practices to minimise the risks associated with wastewater and energy.

Moreover, during my master's programme, I had the opportunity to travel to various destinations and work with individuals from different nationalities. This experience has helped me in my current role as a leader of a multicultural team at Hyatt Regency Aruba.  

How do you stay informed about developments in your business? 
LinkedIn is a great tool where I connect with professionals in the same industry. Moreover, I do some research to keep up to date with the trends in the hospitality industry.  

Is there a big project you are working on now which you would like to mention? 
I am currently leading the World of Care committee at Hyatt Regency Aruba. Our committee is responsible for organising various community projects, such as supporting local schools and planting trees in the destination. We also organise various campaigns to raise funds for foundations and individuals in need. In addition, I am the EarthCheck coordinator, which means I am responsible for maintaining the hotel's certification, preparing for audits, and keeping track of the hotel's consumption. I also create strategies to help reduce costs and increase awareness among the staff and management team.  

Before your studies

Why and/or how did you decide to start your studies at BUas?
I was born in Aruba, where the primary source of income is the tourism industry. From a young age, I've always been passionate about helping and connecting with people. That's why I decided to pursue a career in this industry by taking the International Tourism Management course at BUas. During my bachelor's degree, I wanted to delve deeper into destination management and learn how to create policies and strategies. That is one of the reasons I decided to continue on the master’s.  Of course, the master's degree provided me with valuable travel experiences that I highly recommend to everyone! Apart from the academic knowledge, I gained a deeper understanding of different cultures and perspectives. 

Was it what you expected?
I didn't have any expectations in the beginning. However, as I progressed through my studies, my curiosity grew and I became more interested in exploring the tourism industry in greater depth. The experience I gained during my studies will be a valuable asset to my career. In the end, I am truly satisfied and happy that I chose to study at BUas. 

During your studies 

What created an impact during your studies?
I believe that working in an international environment can have a great impact on one's personal and professional growth. During my BUas journey, the institute also provided opportunities to participate in exchange programmes and take minors in different fields of interest. During my master's degree, one of my most significant experiences was travelling to Australia, Thailand, and Malaysia to conduct research.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. What are the best memories of your student years (at school, in Breda)?
The best memories for me are the friendships that I developed with my study buddies, as well as the opportunities I had during my studies to explore the city and work on various projects with different people. Of course, it is also important to have fun during your academic journey.

Do you remember a lecturer who gave you the ultimate eye-opener? Who and what?
I have decided to choose Erdinç Çakmak as an eye-opener during my master's. He challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and pushed me to think critically. His challenging questions forced me to make tough decisions during project and thesis processes.   

Do you have a piece of advice for current or future students?
My advice would be to plan deadlines in advance to avoid last-minute work that can result in stress. Be open to receiving feedback because it is a crucial way to learn and improve. Just like you check your appearance in the mirror every morning to see how you look, consider feedback as a tool to help you become a better version of yourself. Remember to step out of your comfort zone and take on big challenges. And don't forget to have some fun! 

Developments in society

Are sustainable developments a goal in your company/current role? If so, how? 
Yes, this is the goal for Hyatt Regency Aruba. In my current role, I am responsible for creating awareness for the sustainable developments at Hyatt and the company’s corporate goal. The Hyatt Regency Aruba aims to be more sustainable and make a positive impact on the destination of Aruba.

Which current developments in your business or personal life have a big effect on your work?
My goal is to lead the Caribbean division, assisting hotels with sustainability and quality strategies.