You see them every day and might even have a small talk with them. They provide you with knowledge, food and your necessary caffeine. They are there for you to make your life as a student a little easier. They help you pass your exams, survive that hangover and keep you awake during the lectures. But who are they? In ‘Meet the Campus’ we give these heroes a voice and ask them who they are and what they exactly do. Today, Spar University Manager Marvin will tell you all about himself.
Hi Marvin, can you shortly introduce yourself?
“My name is Marvin Tjoe-A-On and I am thirty years old. I live in Zeist, Utrecht, and have been working fulltime at Spar University for over four years.”
When and how did you start working at Spar University?
“After working for seven years at restaurant La Place, I met franchise entrepreneur Erwin Binneveld from Denk Different. He had a mission: to open a supermarket at every University in the Netherlands, specifically aimed at the needs of the student. While sitting at his kitchen table, he explained his vision and immediately got me excited about it. One week later he called me to offer me a job to support him while opening new stores.”
What makes working at Spar University different from working at a regular supermarket?
“Definitely the immense chaos around lunch time. As you probably have noticed, there is often a line from the entrance all the way through the store. Next to that, I believe our vision really differentiates us from regular supermarkets. We are really here for the students. I enjoy interacting with them and asking them about their studies. Not in a salesman type of way, no just being sincerely interested. We also try to organize events for the students. Two years ago, we collaborated with Jupiler and rented a barbeque bus. Everybody could get a free drink and dance on the beats of the DJ, just as a signal that we are here for them.”
What is the craziest thing that happened during your work?
“A while ago, some random man came in. He had three bags of groceries, but at the checkout station he only paid ten euros. When I approached him, he told me that he simply forgot to scan the other two bags. The next time he came in, I followed him around to make sure that ‘he would not forget to pay for some products’. At one point he started shouting really loud: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT, NOT EVERY BLACK GUY IS A THIEF!”
What did you do next?
“I tried to remain calm and guided him outside.”
Where can we find you after your work?
“After work I usually go home, take a shower and lay on the couch for a few hours. I also play soccer three times a week and try to go to the gym sometimes. Other than that, I also like to go to the bar with some friends and have a drink.”
This one is for all the female students: Are you single?
“Yes, I am still single.” (you know where to find him)
For what Spar University product can we wake you up in the middle of the night?
“The carrot cake. It is the best!”
Do you have some advice or any tips for students who aspire to work within a management position?
“Always treat people the way you want to be treated yourself. I also try to make sure that my employees can be themselves during their shifts. I believe it is very important to establish strong relationships with your employees as they are probably willing to go the extra mile. Another valuable lesson that I have learned is that you should not invest too much time in uncommitted employees. Sometimes it is just better to go your separate ways.”
What are you hoping to do in the future?
“I do not really like to look ahead. However, in the future I would like to give trainings and clinics at other Spar supermarkets. My strength is my social skills and thus I would like to teach people about interacting with employees and customers.”
Do you want to know more about Marvin? Go to Spar University as he is always down for a talk. Furthermore, would you also like to become a manager? Go check out our vacancies by clicking the button below!