Alumni in the Spotlight Webster University Leiden- Mike Komor

Mike Komor, Sales Representative at Mollie and Webster Alumnus

Webster University Alumni in the Spotlight Mike Komor

Alumni in the Spotlight
Mike Komor graduated with an MA in Media and Communication. After graduation he felt like he had a hard time finding a job. He learned that you can’t predict the future at all; “Life is what happens to you, while you're busy making other plans.” He discovered what his talents are, let go of his secure lifestyle and jumped into the unknown.

New media
I was born in the U.S., but my family is originally from Hungary. One year after I was born we moved back to the Netherlands. I will always have a connection with the US. That is one of the rea-sons I choose Webster, besides the fact that the transition from Dutch HBO education to Webster University was easier compared to the public uni-versity in the Netherlands. My bachelor was in Marketing and Communication and I was very interested in new media, so I opted for the Mas-ter’s in Media Communication. I think it’s interest-ing to know a lot about media. Compared to tradi-tional media, new media is so much faster and more dynamic, and also very interesting in terms of business. Online business is really innovative and “on the move.” I think that’s fascinating!

A new direction
The classes at Webster were always in the evening, so I could work during the day. Along with a friend of mine, I had my own company, Happy Feelings. We organized music events and club nights. After a while I also became a project manager for a design studio called Wonderland. Our own company started as a hobby, but eventually it became very popular. By us-ing social media, we built up our brand. The use of social media was a key factor for our success. At Won-derland I first did a small internship for credits, and then I started working there as a project manager. As a project manager, I organized the projects from begin-ning to end. I really enjoyed the new business aspect: getting more clients and negotiating with them. Back then I followed an elective Emotional Intelligence course at Webster. It really helped me in my work, because negotiation is all about psychology.

“I decided to jump into the unknown.”

At my work, I enjoyed the new business part the most, but unfortunately I had no real sales experience yet, and it was only a small part of my job at Wonderland. An acquaintance of mine posted a message on social media that he was looking for a sales representative for the company Hungry. So I called him, and the next day we went for a coffee. A week later I had a coffee with the managing director, and it was all set. I had convinced them that I was a perfect match. So my first sales pitch went great by selling myself. I think you just have to be very enthusiastic and show them that you want to work and have the right work ethic and mindset. Hungry was a really promising story. So I decided to jump into the unknown and let go of my own company and my work at Wonderland. With Hungry, an online food ordering platform, we started in a café with three people, and the business has ex-panded to an office of 30 people!

Using my talent
When I was young, people told me that I had to do something with my talent. I didn’t understand what I could do with my people skills. Teaching or some-thing? During my time at Wonderland, I finally under-stood that I could use my talent in formal business. My role at Hungry was focused on the business devel-opment side. I was always hunting for new restaurants and new partners. I focused on building long-term relationships that helped the company to grow. I really like to talk to people; I’m just a social person, and I enjoy maintaining relationships. I learned a lot at Hun-gry, but again, I would like to develop myself. There-fore, I will start with my new job as a Sales Repre-sentative at Mollie, a payment service provider. The sales cycle for this product is longer than that of the product at Hungry. When you sell a more complex product, you have to be more like a consultant. You need to have a different skillset. That’s something I would like to learn. Again I would like to challenge myself.

Challenge
Our business (Happy Feelings) was very successful from the start, and nowadays it's even more success-ful. My biggest challenge was to step out and go into another direction. Sales has an image problem. You can’t study sales like you can study marketing or psy-chology, but I loved it, so I chose to develop myself and let go of a business that was doing very well. I’m not a senior, so I had to become an entry employee again and build it up from scratch. I had to let go of a certain lifestyle and went after my gut feeling. I want-ed to learn from others about sales. Now I can do what I really love and what I’m good at. I’ve always had a path for myself that I wanted to follow, but in the end, as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you, while you're busy making other plans”. And it feels good.

Interview and picture by Laura Weijers
Edited by Allison Kirk