Working life after MBE: Sarah Heemskerk

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Sarah Heemskerk
Sarah HeemskerkProject Manager at abcnova
Sarah Heemskerk graduated from MBE in 2017. During her years at the faculty, she was an active BOSS member and functioned within the 24th BOSS board. In her graduation research, she focused on Design & Construction Management, with a focus on leadership styles of project managers. After finishing her Master, Sarah started working as a project manager at abcnova. She focuses on both social and commercial real estate there. We interviewed her to get more insight into her day-to-day working life and how she looks back on MBE and BOSS.

Working life after MBE: Sarah Heemskerk

How did you experience the master track of MBE?

I experienced MBE as a very informative and fun Master track. The different ways of working throughout the track have appealed to me very much. In particular, working in groups has taught me a lot. Also, I find the small distance between students and professors very positive.

You spent quite some time as an active member and board member of BOSS. What were the most important things you learned during your time at BOSS? And what was your favorite moment/event?

During my Master, I have indeed been closely involved with BOSS. In addition to organising a large-scale event and leading a committee, I consider the development of a large network in the real estate world to be the most important development. My favorite event was the study trip to Miami and Havana that I have organised.

What took place after you gratuated? How did you career develop?

After my graduation, I travelled for two months first. I’m still very happy I did that, because during work, it’s difficult to get such a long period of time off. After my journey, I came back to abcnova, where I had previously done my graduation internship.


abcnova is a leading project- and consultancy firm for the built environment. We translate the plans and ambitions of our clients to financially feasible and sustainable solutions. We provide a grip on processes and projects and thereby achieve concrete and nice results. We do this through project and process management, through smart and progressive advice and by excelling in special expertise. This includes sustainability and earthquake-resistant construction. We are the best partner in real estate and area development in terms of know-how and hands-on.

You worked as a project manager at abcnova for one and a half year now. What has been your experience so far? What was your favorite project you got to work on and why?

During my time at abcnova I learned a lot. During my internship I already had the opportunity to participate in projects and it became clear that you actually learn the most in practice. At abcnova I get the chance to do many different types of projects. For example, I have already been involved in the development of various primary schools, but also in a major commercial renovation project in which 107 apartments are being realised in a national monument. In addition, I have contributed to the writing of various housing advices. I find it difficult to pinpoint a favorite project, I am mainly happy that I can develop in a broad sense to find out which direction I ultimately want to go.

What are you currently working on/what will you be working on in the future?

I am currently working on various projects:

  • The renovation of a primary school in Broek in Waterland. We are currently looking for a construction team partner with whom we will further develop the current Final Design into a specification. That means that I am speaking with various contractors to choose a suitable partner.
  • The renovation of a monumental building into rental apartments in Warmond. The Realisation phase of this project is about to start, with asbestos remediation taking place first. At the moment, my work in this project mainly consists of consulting with the contractor and installer.
  • The preparation of housing advice for a commercial organisation in Renswoude. Because of a growing number of employees, a lot of pressure has been put on the number of workplaces at the headquarters of this organisation. In addition, the installations are very outdated and do not meet the requirements of the growing number of employees. We are currently drawing up the frameworks for the project, which serve as the basis for a decision document for managing board. For this, we prepare a report based on consultations with the client, the architect and the installation consultant.

What advice would you give yourself – with the knowledge and experience you have obtained over the last years – if you were to graduate now?

I would advise you to always keep an eye on your development. During work it is easy to lose yourself in projects, but keep thinking about what you want to achieve. Which projects do you want to do and what can you learn from? That way you can always steer in the direction that you want to go.