• secretary@fulbright.be
  • Boas Alumni Association : stanislas.adam@curia.europa.eu

The new Boas Scholars introduce themselves! – Laurens De Poorter

Laurens de Poorter

I am part of the MBA Class of 2020 at Harvard Business School. I was born and raised close to Antwerp, Belgium. Even as a child, I was fascinated how technology had such a big positive impact in our world. After finishing my secondary education in Mathematics and Sciences at Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege in West-Malle, I commenced my engineering studies at KU Leuven. By studying to be an engineer, I wanted to make my own contribution to a better world.
In the summer after my Bachelor studies, I went to Peru to build a wind turbine to provide electricity to a local school. During this life-changing experience I realized that if you combine technology with a profitable business model, you can scale and have a much larger impact. I became a strong advocate of social entrepreneurship in which business is used to address one of society’s social challenges.
Immediately after my exchange year at Imperial College London, I founded Academics For Development (AFD) in Leuven. AFD is a student-led non-profit organization that allows students to help social entrepreneurs in developing countries start or grow their social businesses. The novel concept attracted large interest from students and academic institutions as well as social entrepreneurs and non-profits. Today, our organization has expanded to Louvain-La-Neuve (Belgium), Utrecht (Netherlands) and Stellenbosch (South-Africa). In total, more than 150 university students have worked on more than 35 projects across Africa, Asia and South-America.
After working as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for almost 4 years to hone my business skills, I will now start my MBA at Harvard Business School (HBS). In parallel to pushing the growth of AFD to the next level and expanding the organization to North-America, I would like to explore further opportunities to leverage business and technology in order to – and fully in line with HBS’s mission – become a leader who makes a difference in the world. To get there, I hope to build upon the solid academic foundation in business, as well as the entrepreneurial eco-system, resources and network of HBS and the wider Harvard community.
In my leisure time, I love sailing and kitesurfing in summer and skiing in winter. I am an avid traveler, and hope the move to Boston will enable me to explore more of the Americas – both up North as well as down South. Finally, I am a true bon vivant when it comes to food and drinks, and enjoy spending my time with friends and family.