External Affairs Officer of the Board: Experience Report
My name is Tom Hoskens and this year I am the External Affairs Officer of Asset | International Business & Management.
I am 22 years old and I am from Geldrop, a village just beneath Eindhoven. I am currently already living in Tilburg for more than 3 years, and I can honestly say these have been the most fun years of my life! I am a fourth-year International Business Administration student, and I only have to do my exchange to complete my bachelor’s. This is my first year at Asset | IB&M, however, it feels like I have been here forever. The ambiance within the organization is subliminal and everyone is extremely friendly. Even though a lot of members already knew each other for multiple years, I immediately felt included within the group. Within Asset | IB&M there is a very open and inclusive culture, you have students from year 1 to master students hanging out together and it really feels like a large friend group. Also the international character of Asset | IB&M is very fun to function in, you have committees with multiple nationalities and cultures, in which you really learn a lot.
Why did I decide to do a board year?
There are multiple reasons I decided to do a board year. Firstly, to be honest the main reason I decided to start a board year was because of the cancellation of my exchange to Sydney. At this moment I decided that I wanted kind of a ‘’gap’’ year. I was not ready to throw myself into the full-time working environment and give up my student life. That brings me to the second reason, doing a board year at Asset | IB&M is the perfect combination to work in a professional environment while maintaining the perks of student life. Besides this reason, a board year is a perfect opportunity to develop yourself professionally and personally with the margin to make mistakes. During a board year within Asset | IB&M you basically run an organization/company with over 150 people, you are responsible for the vision of the organization, as well as the execution of this vision together with your other board members. You really improve on your organization- and leadership skills during this year and it is the perfect opportunity to broaden your network with other board members, members of Asset | IB&M and all the other people you will meet during your year as a board member.
I chose to apply for the role of External Affairs Officer because I wanted to get in contact with all kinds of companies. The variety of companies you have contact with is very fun to work with, it varies from enormous multinationals to large Dutch companies, but also local companies and small-medium enterprises. Moreover, I wanted to improve my acquisition and organizational skills. As the External Affairs Officer of the board, you are responsible for the organization of the majority of the (large) career events. I also really liked the social part of being the External Affairs Officer, you have a lot of contact with recruiters and employees from different companies and often you are invited to the offices to have your meetings there.
What was your biggest challenge during your board year?
To be honest, I think I must make a division into my 2 biggest challenges.
Firstly, the biggest challenge I faced was during the organization of the Ski Trip. Besides formal events, I also had the opportunity to organize the Asset | IB&M Ski Trip. Just weeks before we went on the trip, the regulations surrounding COVID-19 changed in France. As a result, I had to make a lot of phone calls with stakeholders, think of GGD, participants, Travel organization, the Dutch government, the committee, and other people who had an interest in the Ski Trip. We were almost forced to cancel the trip, but due to the flexibility and perseverance of the committee, we managed to make the trip happen and provide 18 IBA students with 8 days full of snow, apres-ski, and sun.
Secondly, the IBA week. This is a four-day event which is organized by the External Affairs Officer, just 2 weeks before the event we did not have sufficient companies to fill the days. Together with the committee, we mailed more than 200 companies, and, in the end, we managed to fill the days and provide more than 100 students with an exceptional career orientation event.
What did you spend most of your time on during your board year?
Most of my time was spent on contact with companies/recruiters. As the External, you will do the acquisition for events, make sure communication upfront is good with companies, you are the communication point during events and make sure to have evaluation talks with the companies after the event. Besides this, you represent IB&M during the Acquisition meeting of Asset. In this meeting, you sit together with all External Affairs Officers of the Asset departments. Together, we organized the new site and launch of CareerPlatformTilburg, bachelor internship market, extended master program market and other tasks. Another important (and maybe even most fun) part of being on the Board, is coordinating the committees. I coordinated the Marketing Expedition and IBA Week committees, together with these committees we organize the ‘’IBA Week’’ which is a 4-day event in which in total 8 companies participate. The Acquisition and Business Club committees, both committees are fully focused on doing acquisition. At last, I coordinated the Ski Trip, in which we organize a 10-day skiing trip for IBA and IM students to have an amazing time with each other on the slopes. Besides committees, you also have electives as a board member. Where I am responsible for organizing the International Career Event, Business Cafes, Inhouse-Days, Company Database and Board connection. The first 3 are events which are organized without committees, as External you are responsible for organizing these events.
What did you learn during your board year?
Before my board year, I was a very chaotic person. I did not use an agenda or calendar and basically never knew what to do. Currently, I have no idea what to do without an agenda, I plan my days very carefully and make sure I do not have overlapping meetings. Even when I do not have a meeting, I plan the tasks and the time I think I need for those tasks in my agenda. Besides my planning skills, I really improved in my organizational, leadership and teamwork skills. By working on a 6 persons board and coordinating various committees, you really develop your ability to work in teams and make well-considered decisions. By organizing formal events, informal events, and a trip, I really developed my organizational skills.
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 or +31 6 23 37 56 03.
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!