Former board interview: Daphne Roovers
Hi everyone! My name is Daphne, and as some of you might know, I was the External Affairs Officer of the Board of 2017-2018! Before joining the board, I studied International Business Administration at Tilburg University like many of you. As I like being busy and I easily get enthusiastic about a wide variety of things, I participated in quite a lot of extracurricular activities: I was in a hip-hop dancing group, I joined the Outreaching Honours Program and I had an interesting side-job at an e-commerce and fulfillment company. And, of course, I was an active member at Asset IB&M! Before I joined the board I was a member of the First Year Committee, the Food for Thought committee of Asset General and the Consultancy Days committee and during my time at Asset, I had a lot of great parties and made friends for life (Lustrum song reference)!
Right now, I am using these quarantine times to write my thesis and finish my master in Global Business & Sustainability in Rotterdam, after taking an extra year to do an internship at a sustainability consultancy firm. However, for now, I will use this blog to tell you a little bit more about my experiences during my board year at Asset IB&M!
Why did you want to join the board/become an external affairs officer?
When I came back from my exchange in Hong Kong, I was quite busy with writing my bachelor thesis, working and a bunch of other stuff. I had no idea which master I wanted to do and I felt like I was too young to start working immediately after my master (I would have just turned 21). Besides that, I felt like it would be really useful to have some practical experience before starting my master and my job afterwards, as this is, of course, something that is not included in your bachelor at university. I figured that doing an internship would be more useful when I had gained more insights into my specific interests, so this left me with doing a board year. Doing a board year is a great opportunity to basically run your own small company for a year and have some first-hand leadership experience by not only working together with your board, but also by coordinating committees.
Even though I did consider other associations, my previous experiences with IB&M and the great atmosphere made the choice fairly easy. So, after talking a lot to the board members at that time, I decided to apply!
At first, I did not really know which function I was most interested in. As mentioned before, I had some talks with the board members to learn a bit more about each function. The function of External Affairs officer appealed to me because it gives you a unique opportunity to get in touch with a lot of companies. Besides learning a lot about sales and company contact, which was quite out of my comfort zone at first, this is also really useful for your own network! Next to that, I learned that as an External Affairs Officer you are the coordinator of the biggest career event of IB&M, which also seemed like a cool challenge for me. Finally, being in charge of alumni relations, working together with the other External Affairs Officers of Asset and also being able to coordinate some informal committees are some really fun other aspects of the function as well.
Tell us a bit about your experiences as a board member
Where to start? Your board year is filled with all kinds of different experiences, ranging from calling a lot of companies, coordinating committees and taking a seat in general Asset meetings, to a lot of events, parties and, lucky for us, the lustrum in our year! What I especially enjoyed about my experience at IB&M was the contact with the members: not only are they really motivated to do their committee work, they also come with quite a lot of ideas to further improve our association. And, of course, they are all a lot of fun to hang out with at the rooms!
“What I especially enjoyed about my experience at IB&M was the contact with the members: not only are they really motivated to do their committee work, they also come with quite a lot of ideas to further improve our association.”
Another great experience for me was the IBA Week, an event organized by six people in a committee that I coordinated. It was a really interesting experience to find out what the best way was to motivate the committee to contact companies and to guide them in this process, but also to collaborate with them to improve the event. In the end, in my opinion, we organized a very successful edition and we had a lot of fun doing it!
What I also really enjoyed was the contact with your fellow board members. Even though everyone has his or her own tasks, everything is discussed with everyone during the board meetings. And, as mentioned, I learned a lot from working this closely with close friends in a team! Another thing which I thought was nice is that at IB&M, there are always 2 external affairs officers. I really enjoyed this as in the first half year, you can learn a lot from your colleague and in the second half, you can help the new external affairs officer in getting acquainted, which is both really valuable. Moreover, you always have a sparring partner, someone to go to meetings with and visit companies with!
A special mention, of course, was that it was really cool that we were the board in the lustrum year of IB&M. The committee put in a lot of effort to organize a great week with a party, a cantus, a charity event and of course, a gala. This week was a true highlight!
All and all, there are way too many experiences from my board year that I would like to discuss here: the International Career Event, Ski Trip, being in the external meetings of Asset, our board weekend, company visits in the summer, and so on. If you are interested in more stories, please feel free to contact me!
What skill that you developed during your board year do you use regularly in your daily life now (work/study/etc)?
I think the most important thing you learn during your board year is how to work in a team. All of a sudden, you spend 60+ hours in a week with the same five people, which is a lot of fun, but it also can be challenging! I think this is a really good environment to learn about the roles you take in a team and your own strengths and weaknesses, for example in communication. You learn that communication is key, especially when you are dealing with not only your board, but also with your members, companies, the other departments of Asset and the University! This skill has been really useful in my master, which consisted for a large part out of large group assignments, but also during my internship, where I could sense a lot better how to communicate with my team members and project leaders, but also which tasks would fit me best.
Additionally, being the coordinator of multiple committees has taught me quite a lot about how to best keep structure during meetings, but also how to coordinate the process and planning. This was also a very useful skill during my internship: I had to plan my projects and because of my board year, I knew better how to do that and how to keep the overview. Moreover, in my master I found it easier to take the lead in some situations and to coordinate the process of for example team assignments.
Another thing I developed a lot during my board year is time management and planning: it can be quite hectic sometimes with a lot of committee meetings, Asset meetings and your general tasks as an External Affairs Officer. Even though I felt like I was quite good at planning beforehand, my board year taught me even more about the importance of planning, but also about asking help when you are too busy (which I found really difficult before). This was, again, quite useful during my internship: in one situation I had agreed upon too many tasks. Even though I still partly tried to fix it myself, it was less difficult for me to ask the help of my colleagues.
Finally, especially as an External Affairs Officer, I feel like I have learned a lot from the contact I had with companies. As it can be quite challenging sometimes to ‘sell’ an association to companies, I learned a lot about how to best contact companies, to ‘feel’ what they were interested in, structure your arguments and persuade them to for example join an event. I believe that this skill can be very useful in for example job interviews, where you, of course, have to be able to convince someone to hire you!
What would have been different now when you would have decided not to do a board year?
A lot! First of all, I would not have experienced so many great events and spent a year with so many amazing people! Additionally, in my board year it became a lot more clearer to me what I wanted to do, what I found important and which skills I was good at or could still improve. This all has led to the choice of doing my master in a different city (Rotterdam) and focusing on sustainability, which is the center of all that I am doing right now! Moreover, I think it would have taken me longer to ‘master’ the practical skills that a board year provides: teamwork, persuasion, communication, and planning for example. I noticed that most examples that I give during job interviews, whether it are skills I have learned, challenges I have faced or situations that I handled well, are from my board year!
“What surprised me anyway, was that you are so busy with the daily business of your association”
What was something you wanted to develop/learn, but you did not?
That is a good question! I think beforehand I maybe expected to have been working more on a more high-level strategy of the study association: where do we want to go, what do we want to change and how do we want to do this? It is not the case that we did not do this in our board year: we had policy sessions twice in our year and we thought a lot about how we could best sell IB&M to companies. However, what (even though everyone tells you) surprised me anyway, was that you are so busy with the daily business of your association that this sometimes slips a little. In retrospective, I would have maybe wanted to work more on developing new ideas and a more general strategy. However, it is important to note that this is also something I realized quite recently, so my recent other experiences have also impacted this.
I hope I have given you an interesting and fun insight into my experience as a boardie of Asset IB&M. If you have any questions or just want to get in touch, please feel free to contact me!