EXTERNAL AFFAIRS OFFICER OF THE BOARD: MY EXPERIENCES
Curious about how I experienced my board year? In this article, I will tell you a bit more about being the External Affairs Officer of Asset | International Business & Management.
First thing first, let me introduce myself; My name is Laura van Wesel, I am 20 years old, and for the last 6 months I am the External Affairs Officer of Asset | IB&M. I was born in Zegge, and lived there my whole life before moving to Tilburg. I still have to finish my third year of the BSc International Business Administration, with hopefully an exchange to Barcelona. Initially, I would go to Lima, Peru on exchange last year. But, like many other exchanges, this was canceled because of COVID-19.
Speaking of COVID-19, it has changed a board year a lot in comparison to other years, but I can assure you, it didn’t make it less fun!
Why did I choose to do a board year?
As I already mentioned, I first planned to go on exchange to Lima, Peru. When I heard that this was canceled, I started thinking about my other options. At first, I was thinking about doing an internship since I already figured out that online lectures would not be suitable for me. But then, my roommate suggested doing a board year. She did one herself, and was super enthusiastic about it, and promised me that doing a board year would be a good decision. This was not the first time I thought about doing a board year. I always wanted to do something where I could put all the theory I learned during my Bachelor’s into practice, preferably combined with a lot of fun. And this is exactly what you get to do during a board year. You get to put theory into practice by learning what it is like to run an association while also being able to have fun with all the members and other boardies and attend many fun events and parties. The last part is also the reason why I specifically chose to do a board year at IB&M. Although I have been an active member for only a year before doing a board year, I always really liked the atmosphere at IB&M. I was not the most active member before joining the board, but every time I went to an event, had a meeting or had to pick anything up at the rooms I felt very welcome.
The reason that I chose to apply for the function of External Affairs Officer was that I really liked the social aspect of it. I was curious what it was like to be the contact for companies, to make sure they are up-to-date about anything, to acquire firms, and then seeing them at our formal events which they and other parties will also enjoy and benefit from. Another reason for choosing the function of External is that I had the feeling I could learn a lot of the function. In the beginning, my planning wasn’t that good but it evolved a lot the last few months because planning is essential as an External. Besides this, I also learned to keep a clear overview. Together with the other External, you are the helping hand for all the externals of the committees, and they often ask you to reach out to companies or for questions. Before doing this, you also have to think about the fit with the company, maybe the company has already suggested that a certain event is not for them, so you should not approach them again for that event.
A challenge we faced during COVID-19, was the changing policies of companies. This year, quite some companies were hesitant to make promises, because they have also suffered from COVID-19. Besides this, we had to make a lot of changes in our events, and keep all the participating companies up-to-date about the changes. These are a few things that made the function of external different from other years, but also a nice challenge Gijs, Nicole, and I faced where we learned a lot from. And even though it sometimes causes some stress, having a successful event makes everything worth it!
When starting your board year, you get to do a lot from the beginning on. After the announcement, you start the conveyance period together with your predecessor. In that period you also have summer rounds, where you go to the (online) offices of all of IB&M’s partners or potential partners and have a conversation with them about the possibilities for the upcoming academic year. These conversations are probably my favorite part of being an External. At first, it might seem scary to do this, but in the end, you find out that these recruiters are also just people, who are interested in what we have to offer them, and what they can get out of it. These conversations also really broaden your network and can be helpful with looking for an internship or a future career.
Would you recommend doing a board year?
Most definitely! My board year so far has been the highlight of my ‘University career’. I am sad to leave, so I think that is a good indication of how much I like being a the board members at Asset | IB&M. If you are looking for an opportunity to develop yourself, broaden your network, and have a lot of fun, then I would highly recommend doing a board year!
I hope this article has given you somewhat of an insight into what it entails to be the External Affairs Officer of the board of Asset | International Business & Management. If you ever have any questions about my function, Asset | IB&M in general or anything I wrote in this article, do not hesitate to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you possibly interested in becoming my successor? You can take a look at our website for more information about my function, the other opening functions, and how to apply!