Interview - Thomas Platenga

Name: Thomas Plantenga
Age: 37
Degree program: Biomedical Engineering
Present position: CEO
Company: Vinted

What is your fondest memory of your student days?
During my first year I wasn't at all confident that I was smart enough to ever graduate from TU/e. The combination of student life and actually studying was pretty tough. But somewhere near the start of my second year I realized that I was going to be able to finish my study program. That feeling of liberation was really great.

What is your favorite memory of life on campus?
The endless discussions with Bram and Boudewijn on just about everything were great. Without those two it would have been pretty boring.
Who is your hero at TU/e?
Frank Gijsen, my graduation supervisor. He taught me that you can do things differently; rules are only a human invention after all. Without him I would never have had the guts to take risks and set up new things. I am enormously grateful to him for the impact he had on me.
What is the most important thing you learned at TU/e?
To solve problems through critical, analytical thinking.

Who would you like to join for a drink, and in which TU/e bar?
Bram and Boudewijn. Without those two I would never have wrestled my way through all those exams. They were both far smarter than me. Because they kept on explaining to me how everything worked, I managed to pass my exams. Bram and Boudewijn were true friends and we had a lot of fun together, even though we are quite different types really. For a few years we had a sort of inseparable three-way bond. I miss those guys when I think back on those days.

What is the added value for you of being a member of an alumni community?

“I have great memories of my time at TU/e. Who knows, I might get more involved later, but right now I hardly have time to grab lunch. I know that sounds a bit sad, but that's just the way things are.

How do you stay in contact with the TU/e?
I still regularly meet up with the guys I shared a house with in Eindhoven, flying back to the Netherlands for weekend trips and parties. When we get together it's always chaos again; it's just like going back in time.

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Alumni of TU/e are all heroes, each in their own way. Some are more visible than others, but all are equally valuable. Many alumni still have a warm relationship with the university. They stay connected. Some give guest lectures or share knowledge by coaching students, for example. Others give a donation that contributes to research or talent development. In this series of interviews, we seek out alumni and ask them the following question: how did TU/e shape you into the person you are today?

Do you want to contribute to our alumni network or do you have suggestions for us? Please, reach out to us.