'They care about students': In conversation with Odette de Jong

Fri 13 Oct 2023
Posted by: Benjamin Roche

“What really stands out is the support that I got throughout.” That’s the verdict of Odette de Jong, director of Outside the Box Consulting, on her experience of studying with the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT).

Graduating this year with a level 4 Diploma in International Trade, de Jong describes the course as a “personalised journey”.

“Student support were absolutely fantastic—they were always there if I had questions. They were incredibly knowledgeable and available every day. They care about students.”

Praising the content of the diploma course, she says it is “brilliantly laid out”, with plenty in the way of extra reading and advice on how to apply it.

There is the scope to be “inspired” by the topic and to really dive deep into international trade and how it works. The resources are always there, she suggests, “to be able to push yourself”.

Speaking more broadly on the course and how what she has learnt has contributed to her career, de Dong states:

“It allowed me to understand the greater context around international trade, rather than just the practicalities of doing the job.

“I found modules like physical distribution, marketing and business really helpful—it placed context around all that I’m already doing in my role.”

Of how it affected how she worked with one business in particular, she says it allowed her to “think more strategically” and to better understand its vulnerabilities. It ensured that the advice she gave and how it was implemented were tuned to the business’ needs—and strengthened her “confidence” in her suggestions.

It can be “challenging” to get to grips with the many jurisdictions whose rules you need to understand, de Jong notes, but she argues that the resources presented on the diploma course are “incredibly well-structured” to help you overcome that challenge.

This, she says, means you can target as many areas as you need to get what suits you best from the course.

What would she say to those who already have an IOE&IT qualification but are considering another?

“I’m one of those people! If you’re in international trade in any way and you’re loving what you’re doing, IOE&IT makes it so easy for you to continue your development and learning.”

Praising the flexibility afforded by the course, de Jong also notes how it could be completed alongside her work while still providing her with a qualification backed by the “credibility” of IOE&IT. Dubbing it a “thought leader” in trade, she says:

“It is pioneering alongside policymakers, in on those conversations that I want to know about. The IOE&IT is a resource in itself that I turn to if I need an authoritative opinion on something — they are one of my go-to places.”