For this week’s blog we gave the word to Nadine Gronert, the Career Officer of the 64th board of Aureus. Read further to find out how she looks back on this amazing opportunity.
Who are you?
Hi, I’m Nadine, currently living in Manila, Philippines and recently turned 30 (yuck!). I was part of the 2012-2013 board of Aureus as Career Officer. I did my Bachelor Business Administration, and my Master Strategy & Organization at the VU. Three years ago I joined ING as a trainee and now I am the head of payment operations for the Netherlands and Asia at ING Bank.
Why did you apply for the board?
Unlike many others, I wasn’t part of a committee or an active member in general in Aureus. I joined some of the trips they had organized, but due to my professional commitment to sports (basketball), I didn’t have the time to join a committee. When I was nearing the end of my Bachelor’s degree, I was looking for a way to challenge myself and go completely outside my comfort zone. Plus, I didn’t want to start my Masters’s degree straight away so I was looking for a gap year that would add tremendous value to my development. Of course, I could have just traveled for a year, but would I have gained enough from that to apply for a job? After chatting to some friends who were active in Aureus, I decided to take the plunge and applied for a board year.
What did you do as a Career Officer?
As a Career Officer, you deal with anything and everything career-related, within Aureus but also in broader terms by working together with the economic faculty. The role aims to govern all the major career events, such as Amsterdams Career Days, to develop a long term strategy within the economic faculty on the career of students as well as to create awareness for professional development among students in general. In practice, this means that as a Career Officer you guide all career committees and their members towards its goal, aligning it with the overall (board) strategy and coach them individually. Additionally, you have frequent meetings with the faculty board and its career office to align your goals, and work together where possible. Of course, there are companies where students may end up, so together with the Commercial Officer you review what companies want and need from us to offer them better services and help them recruit the best students.
So, was it worth it?
Absolutely! I’m quite confident in saying that it has led me to where I am now. Imagine that when you graduate from university, your professional working experience is extremely limited, with perhaps the exception of certain student jobs. You have to ask yourself: what will set you apart from all the other hundreds of students that will graduate with you? What did you do to prove that you have excellent decision-making skills or leadership experience? Maybe better than your fellow-students? Which examples can you cite during an interview that you can handle pressure, and take ownership of? A board year teaches you these skills in a pressure cooker set up. Within a year you get immersed in all sorts of scenarios, deal with all sorts of stakeholders whilst leading the organization to the next level. It’s the perfect playground to learn, develop and grow whilst exploring what you enjoy doing.