Every year five people are responsible for everything around Asset S&L, the board members. Five board members have the responsibility to organize the events, mentor the active members in their organization of events, direct the financial policies, improve existing processes and events, recruit new active and passive members, and so on. Every year the board is replaced by five new enthusiastic students that want to take this responsibility. In this article, you will meet the board members of 2020-2021. Channels online member Guus went to Ewout & Oliver and Jorn went to Freek, Sophie and Ron in order to gain more insides about the life as a board member.
Meet the board members
Freek Prinsen – I am 21 years old and the chairman of Asset S&L. I am born in Lieshout and live in Tilburg since 2019. I studied business economics (bachelor) and I probably do a master supply chain management after my board year. As a chairman, I coordinate all activities and have a spot in the overarching board of Asset.
Ron van Leeuwen – I am 22 years old and the vice-chairman of Asset S&L. I am born in Elst and live in Tilburg with five housemates, including Freek. I studied business economics and after my board year I will study supply chain management. I am responsible for the promotion, website of S&L, and the recruitment and communication with members.
Ewout Timmer – I am 24 years old. I have been the external affairs officer for Asset S&L since September 2020. I am originally from Nuenen and I decided to move to Rotterdam to study Business Administration. After finishing the Bachelor, I desired to do the Master in Supply Chain Management and that brought me to Tilburg.
Sophie Bakx – I am 21 years old and have been the secretary since September 2020. I live in Tilburg since 2019 with six other housemates. I studied a bachelor legal studies and want to do a Master’s in a similar topic. I am responsible for the external communication, administration, and coordination of the new bachelor Entrepreneurship & business innovation.
Oliver Schouten – I am 23 years old and from the small town Boekel. At this moment, I am the treasurer of Asset Strategy & Logistics. My student life started in Breda, where I did the Bachelor of Logistics Management. I already finished my pre-master and master before I entered the board year. Therefore, I could start the master study right after finishing this Bachelor.
Interview with Ewout & Oliver
How did Asset│S&L come across your path?
Both Ewout and Oliver came in touch with Asset S&L during the TOP week in the summer of 2019. Their TOP mentors were active members of Asset. One of them was going to be a board member and the other was an active member. Coincidence or not, Ewout and Oliver were in the same TOP week group.
When did you decide to become an active member of Asset│S&L?
O: Initially, I wanted to join Asset after hearing about the COdE Cantus. For those who do not know, this is a cantus for all active members of the several departments of Asset.
E: This was the same for me. That cantus was as crazy as we expected. Oliver and I came on the Promotion Committee when we joined Asset as active members.
What was your favorite formal and informal committee in which you participated at Asset│S&L?
E: To start with the informal committee, for me it is ACOM.The Activities Committee is a nice club of people who organize cozy activities. We always receive positive feedback about the activities, so that is great. The formal committee that I liked the most is Supply Chain Days. Last year, it was quite challenging to make an event that engages students and the six participating companies in a sense that all parties involved are satisfied. Since COVID-19 was upcoming at that moment and we were required to shift the event from offline to online. After all, students and the companies rated the event over an 8/10. All in All, we concluded that the event was valuable.
O: The promotion committee is the informal committee that I like the most. At this moment, I am the coordinator of this committee. We need to be a bit more creative to organize events during the COVID times. However, I think that certainly at this moment we make the most fun about it that is possible. The formal committee I like the most is the upcoming Supply Chain Battle, everyone in the committee is motivated and I am more than satisfied with the companies that are participating in the battle.
How is the life of a board member at this moment? Is it what you expected of it beforehand, or not, and why?
E: You expect a combination between partying and performing serious tasks as a board member. I think there is more time for the formal part of a board year this year than in other times. As an External Affairs Officer, contacting companies is one of the tasks that I take very seriously. Normally, traveling to the businesses is required for meetings. However, it is all online via Teams or Zoom now. Being creative and adaptive with the completion of events considering the changing corona measures is something that I perceive as valuable for the future.
O: One of the main reasons for joining the S&L Board this year was that I did not want to quit student time already. Another reason was that I hoped to learn new skills and meet companies/people which will be valuable both for the present and the future. I agree with Ewout that the aspect of still living the student life this year was of course not as much the case as in other years. The fun aspect of parties and activities was less. However, I am positive about what is still possible during these times and I conceive that we make the best of it. Purely about my tasks, there is not a significant difference between this year and other years as a treasurer. The only real difference is that people would have come to the rooms to hand over declaration forms, which is online at the moment.
Have you gained new insights because of your board life?
O: I have decided to start my working career after the board year. Meeting the companies during events and doing the board year has given me the insight that I think I am ready to start working. I was in doubt of doing another Master or starting my working career at the beginning of the board year.
E: I think that I learned from the board year to manage time more properly. Besides that, having a proactive attitude while collaborating with other people. Speaking up for a large crowd feels more natural than it did before.
Besides what we discussed before, why should people consider doing a board year?
O: Doing a board year helps you with building a great network. You get in touch with a lot of students who could become friends or colleagues in the future. Of course, the opportunity to meet businesses in your field of interest is most valuable. Besides that, there are a lot of fun activities and memories that come along with doing a board year.
E: I agree with everything that Oliver said. The networking aspect with both the companies and students is really valuable and made me realize that I think that I am ready for working life after this board year. I like the idea that you share a “small enterprise” with your fellow board members and run that business the best way possible. That entrepreneurial aspect of a board year is something that I always perceived as interesting.
Conversation with Ron, Freek and Sophie
In the student house of Ron and Freek the informal setting was rapidly created. Directly it was visible that the three board members are not only colleagues, also gained a good friendship. Several topics came across in the conversation with the three board members.
Private life vs board life – As a board member you work four days from 10 – 17 and one day from 9 – 17. Furthermore, you have to attend most of the events Asset S&L organizes. After a day at the office you sometimes have formal or informal events, which was maybe more tensive for the board members before the corona pandemic. You work a lot of hours during daytime and have two to three events during the evenings. It sounds tensive however, everything that happens after 17.00 o’clock is fun.
Preparation for business life – Working forty hours a week is new and very instructive for the three, although the work life experience is a bit less due to the Corona measures. You learn easily how it is to work that much in a week. The combination between informal events and formal events and the interplay between communication with companies and students makes working forty hours varied and fun.
A board year is somewhat different than working for an owner of a company. It is more informal, the members are also your clients and also your friends. We also do not want to make a profit, so we have to match income and costs instead of making the organization profitable. Still, board members are responsible for a financial situation many starters in the job market will not face in their first years. The five board members are responsible for themselves and have to mutually take the responsibility of managing Asset S&L. Together you keep each other motivated and they confront each other if they do not work properly enough. You also learn to trust in each other and their abilities. You should be able to allow somebody work on something without controlling it obsessively. Every member has its’ responsibility for an event. You have to take the responsibility and pressure of organizing successful events. The success of an event is in your hands.
Internship vs board year vs studying – Freek did not want to start his master directly after the bachelor’s. The board year was a more interesting option for him than an internship because he preferred to work with members over clients. Although Sophie agrees, she also has plans for an internship. She did not want to start and finish a master and a board year is than a perfect way to gain experience while also remaining the student life. Something Ron admits. The board year is gaining experience in business life, while also remaining a student. As an intern you join the business, which might be an advantage. However, it is not comparable anymore to the life as a student. It’s both nice on your CV.
What have you learned? – All three agree that the board year is very informative and made better future professionals of them. What you want to learn as a board member differs per person. Ron states that the huge social network with companies and other students is very beneficial. Learning how to create those bigger networks is something Freek also pinpoints. Especially for the formal events, you have to communicate with companies, which is another segment of communication compared to communicating with students. Sophie adds that a board year is new, difficult, and exiting in the beginning. After a couple of months, you have learned a lot about yourself and many new things happen naturally already. The communication and networking is a key theme as learning goal in a board year. If you study you have some group projects, but this is totally different. You really learn the weaknesses and abilities from other board members and how to use them optimal. That’s very useful to bring in business life later. You learn a business side of yourself, which you do not get to know while studying.
Organizing events is another main point of a board member’s job description. It is totally different than learning books and slides. Furthermore, it is very good to learn a professional attitude, lead meetings, show your leadership, and take responsibility. The first time Sophie had to lead a meeting was with many people from the university and professionals with over 10 years of experience. It was strange to feel that she was in charge and half a year later this feels very confidential, ‘now I ask them when things are not done on time’.
What about the mistakes made –The nicest thing is that you can make mistakes, it is more important to learn from them. The most prominent event that came up was an informal event. The corona measures allowed this pub event to occur with 30 people. Maybe the last exam on the event day was worse than expected, maybe the newly announced corona measures, the rain or other reasons made people decide not to come. The event was good, with music bingo, some beers, and a very relaxed setting. However, most participants did not show up. Firstly, we checked whether we made mistakes about time, location, or date. That was not the case. Those moments you have to act immediately to the situation and make the best of it with fewer people. Afterward, you have to indicate the cause of this situation and solve the problem by creating group chats for informal events. It is very important to act in these situations. For the event itself, we did not mock about the participation, we switched our minds and made it a night to remember for the participants.
How does a week look like – Routine wise you always have many weekly meetings. We have a weekly board meeting, you have meetings with other Asset board members with the same profile and the commissary meetings with active members of Asset S&L. Furthermore, it is very project-based working. Every board member has it commissariat and during the weeks before an event, the board member of the commissariat responsible for that event has a more tensive week. This is followed by more relaxed weeks after the event is ended. Furthermore, board members are in charge to improve processes, websites, events or you name it. Currently, Ron is working on an improved website, which might not even be finished before the board year ends. Those are bigger projects you work on as a board member. Lastly, you have to update your mail, solve problems of students or other departments, selling guidelines and the routine wise meetings always result in new tasks to do. As a member organization, it is also very important to keep in contact with all the members. The Whatsapp messages of board members are constantly going on.
Why should students consider a board year?
Freek — If you doubt about an internship of a board year it really depends on what you want to do. During an internship, you have a specific company with specific tasks and is that something I like. A board year is a broader spectrum, also skills you have never used before. Also, there is a big informal side on a board year. Board members are still a student, not an intern.
Sophie — Board year really saved my corona year. If I had to study full-time, I mostly lock myself in the library, which is not possible now. Due to the board year, I have structure and interaction with people in my life. As an asset member, you are never alone. An internship might disappoint, a board year won’t.
Ron — It is not clear yet, but we can expect that everything is open next year and then a board year becomes an amazing year. It’s fucking amazing. Everybody wants to meet new people in Asset. The parties are incredible, especially for the price you have to pay. The fun you have during the weeks is definitely better compared to an internship. It is both good for your CV however, as an intern you are an intern, as a board member you are still a student.