This year has been an amazing rollercoaster. Where do I start?

My name is Gijs Korthout and I am 20 years old. Currently, I am an External Affairs Officer of study association Asset | International Business & Management. Asset | IB&M is the study association for students studying the BSc International Business Administration and the MSc International Management. We serve over 1200 students. In this blog I will tell more about my year as an External Affairs Officer at Asset | IB&M and why I decided to do this.


Before I joined the Board of Asset | IB&M, I have had some years to get to know IB&M already. During my first year, I joined the IBA Committee, of which I was a treasurer. We were responsible for the guidelines, organizing the IBA trip to Frankfurt, the IBA cantus, and the IBA party. After that, I was an External of the Intercontinental Travel Committee. We successfully organized a 16-day trip to Miami and Mexico-City. During the first semester of my third year, I went on exchange to Lima, Peru. The whole application process took place, while I was on exchange. Five day after returning from exchange, I was already meeting up with the board to start conveyance. After my board year, I still have to finish the last part of my study International Business Administration.

Of course, when I began no one heard of COVID-19. Unfortunately, this had an enormous impact on my board year, but I can proudly say that it also taught me a lot and that I still am so happy that I decided to take on this challenge. I would not have wanted to miss it!

Personal motivation

Before finishing up my last semester of my bachelor International Business Administration, I wanted to do something to further develop myself and to gain insights into what direction I want to go regarding my future career. A board year seemed the perfect opportunity to grow. For me, it was important to become better at prioritizing and putting things into perspective. Furthermore, I wished to learn how to come across as more professional. This goal could be linked to another goal; I wanted to become verbally stronger and more confident representing my vision. Lastly, the skill of leading and guiding groups is something I wished to develop. I experienced this year that doing a board year is the best way to develop these skills. Besides improving the skills mentioned above, a board year made a good means of applying my knowledge and skills learned in real-life situations.

Besides that, I was eager to work in a small group of motivated people to serve a common goal. I learned how to work together with various personalities. It was challenging sometimes, but that is also what makes it so fruitful. This was something different than just your regular team assignments.

Playing a role in people’s growth and development

The main reason why I wanted to do a board year, specifically at Asset IB&M, is the members. I admired the cozy ambiance at our association and how the members are given the chance to be actively involved in the association and I was so glad to see this. I got the amazing opportunity to experience this welcoming, caring group of people myself for two and a half years before I joined the board and I wanted to give others the same feeling. I hope I was able to make them feel the same way about Asset IB&M as I did, even in these odd times. Furthermore, during my time as an active member, I was able to develop myself in many different ways. During my board year, I believe I was able to contribute to other people’s growth and development now too.

I already got excited thinking about being able to give my touch to this association and I managed to do this. For example, I set up a committee with whom I could organize an event that interested me. This was something I thought off before doing a board year and we made it happen now. The first edition of the Sustainability Event will take place on November 24, 2020. This is just one of the things in which you can see that it truly is possible to apply your ideas in this ‘small company’ that IB&M actually is. 

Besides the Sustainability Event Committee, I got to coordinate many more great committees. I was coordinator of the Consultancy Days Committee (full year), Orange Pride Committee (one semester), European Travel Committee (only a couple of months), and the Drinks and Themes Committee (one semester). I learned a lot from each of these committees. They ranged from very formal to very informal, which is exactly what I wanted. I am very happy with the committees I got and I believe I could help the development of a lot of my committee members as well.

Role as an External Affairs Officer

I wanted to become an External Affairs Officer to learn to handle stress and stay calm, positive, and professional at the same time.

From my first year onwards, I was present at events like the Consultancy Days and the IBA week. I always knew that I liked these settings a lot. A reason for this is that I also still do not know what direction I want to go in with my career. During my time as an External Affairs Officer of the ITC, I noticed that I really enjoyed doing acquisition. I learned a lot from that time and it gave me the motivation to organize the rest of the trip. Most of all, it made me extra proud to see the result. The trip was amazing and the companies we could arrange were very interesting. This is exactly what I felt during my time as an External Affairs Officer of the Board. I felt very responsible for the organization of the events, which could sometimes also be a pitfall. I had to remind myself that I was not the only one organizing and therefore, I had to let go of some control and I had to give out tasks to other people. I managed to handle stress better, stay calm, positive, and professional at the same time. This will help in making events big successes. My two big formal events, the Consultancy Days and the Sustainability Event are coming up in November. I hope to be as proud during and after both events, just like I experienced during the ITC. 

Besides the pride I experience when having organized a formal event, I enjoy the negotiation part of the whole acquisition process. I like to see how two parties can benefit from each other and can be of added value to each other. I found it interesting to figure out what was the most effective for the company and where we, as Asset | IB&M, could play a role. During these times, it is especially important to show companies how flexible you are and that you would like to actively think along with them. This is an extra challenge that comes with this time. It is important to stay motivated and determined during the whole period of doing acquisition, but that is an extra thing I learned. 

Furthermore, you get to know a lot of recruiters during the year. This could be very helpful when looking for an internship or job in de future. I get to talk to a lot of people in various interest fields, which gave me a clearer idea of what career to pursue afterward. I got to hear the story of many interesting companies. Of course, we could not physically visit all the companies within their offices, but an online meeting with them is already so useful! I got to experience how companies in various industries operate.

Apart from the acquisition I did for Asset | IB&M together with Laura and Tom, I got to help External Affairs Officer from all committees. This was, for example, done by giving them External Training or by helping them with questions about reaching out to companies for the first time.

Below you can find an example of one of my weeks:

MondayMorningBoard meeting
 AfternoonCommittee meeting with Sustainability Event Committee and Consultancy Days Committee
 EveningInformal activity with the Consultancy Days Committee
TuesdayMorningCold acquisition for Asset | IB&M
 AfternoonHave a partner conversation
 EveningFree evening, so hanging out with friends
WednesdayMorningCommittee meeting with Drink & Themes Committee
 AfternoonCreate new contracts
 EveningAdvisory Council meeting
ThursdayMorningMeet up with the other External Affairs to go over the COVID-19 acquisition plan
 AfternoonAsset Acquisition Meeting
 EveningBoard evening
FridayMorningHave some call appointments with companies
 AfternoonFill in the agenda for the next board meeting
 EveningFree, weekend!
Weekend Fill in and preminute the agenda for Monday


I am so glad to have taken on this challenge. I developed myself in so many more ways than I imagined and I found many new things that I can still develop on.

Thank you for reading.

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