Meet Omar Hoek
Learn more about Omar Hoek, Alumni (Class of 1988)
Where are you living now?
What did you do after you left ISL?
I went to University in Brussels, where I studied Business. I then went to work for a company in Spain, where I stayed for 2 years (and met my future wife), before eventually coming back to Luxembourg to work for Avery Dennison for 17 years. I then moved with various multinational companies to Geneva, Lyon, and eventually back to Luxembourg again as it was important for my sons to have an international education. One of my sons, Luka, graduated from ISL in 2019, and my other son, Kimi, is currently enrolled in 9th grade at the school.
What did you study at University?
What are you doing now?
I am the Executive Vice President of a large material science company. I run the engineering division. We have 15 people here in Luxembourg, but 3500 employees worldwide. I spend a lot of time in airplanes.
What advantages has studying at ISL given you?
I have always been a bit of an adventurer, as I was never really afraid of things, but ISL made me curious. When I was at the school, it was very small (250 students) and we all knew each other. We were a close community and people were actually meaningful to you, we were rooted to each other. In fact, I am still connected to 70% of my former classmates. Being exposed to all of the different nationalities at the school stimulated my curiosity and made me want to learn people’s stories. Luxembourg was/is a safe and small place where you are free to move and do things. ISL helped us to navigate the world, gave us the agility to move, and to understand and appreciate diversity.
What advice would you give students to help them make the most of their time at ISL?
You know, I am very proud of my kids. They are tolerant, pragmatic, have common sense and know right from wrong. So, my first piece of advice would really be to make sure you can look through this big fuzzy world and pick right from wrong. Second, use your experience at the school to help shape yourself as an individual. ISL really helps students to learn to think independently – there is no ‘group think’ or ‘critical mass’. Your exposure to the diversity of the students and teachers – you can learn from their stories and experiences. Use this information to help you learn and grow as your own person.
Were you involved in any clubs/activities at ISL?
I was a big soccer player (on Varsity Team). Most people expected that I would play basketball due to my height, but soccer was my thing. I also did a bit of theatre.
Describe some of the things that ISL does above and beyond teaching and learning:
The diversity and experience of the teachers really helps to stimulate the curiosity of the students. Teachers feed you with information, with different viewpoints, with their own stories which you learn from. This is much more than a 9 to 5 job for them. I do think it would be wonderful to see the students learn more tangible, hands-on skills though. Things like basic DIY skills, cooking, for example. The school is fantastic for sports, trips, etc, but I would really love to see some more ‘less traditional’ things being offered.
What do you think is unique about ISL?
The way the school communicates with students is very individualised. While the school has become much larger than when I studied here, and one could say being bigger makes you more ‘generic’. But fundamentally, the world is made of individuals. Students at ISL learn to think independently, absorbing the differences around them. Students are very fortunate to be at ISL.
Describe ISL in 5 words:
Institution, Tolerance, Unique, Happy , Multi-Culti