What is it like to be Commissioner of Activities & Marketing?

Dear members of B&R Beurs, my name is Lennon van Laar and I’m the Commissioner of Activities and Marketing of the 35th board. In the year 2016 I joined B&R Beurs because I was always interested in investing. I wanted to expand my knowledge and B&R Beurs seemed the place to be. When I became a member, it surprised me how tight and dynamic this society was. In this interview, you can read more about what it is like to be the Commissioner of Activities and Marketing of this exciting society.

If you still have some more questions after reading this interview, feel free to contact me at activities@bnrbeurs.nl or simply stop by our office (P-1.074)!

Why did you choose to apply for a board year at B&R Beurs?

A board position had been in my mind since halfway through my first year. I still remember quite fondly how me and my friend joked about how we were going to a board year at our respective societies and now we are actually both following through on our jokes. Over the last few years I have been a part of several committees at B&R Beurs; such as the Activities committee, the Introduction Period committee and the Investment Week & Symposium committee. After that, I still felt that I hadn’t accomplished everything I could accomplish within the society and after all the great times B&R Beurs gave me, I wanted to give something more back.

A board year, in my opinion, should be done because of two main reasons: Personal development and giving something back to the society. For both of these reasons I decided to do a board year at B&R. I wanted to develop myself personally, for example by full-time working in a team for an entire year and feeling responsible, not just for myself, but for an entire organization. As a society, B&R Beurs offers a lot to its members, from social to professional activities. I felt like the society gave me a lot and therefore I wanted to give something back to it. So, when the time came around that I could send in my application, there was no hesitation in my mind.

What are your main tasks as Commissioner of Activities & Marketing during the year?

You start off with selecting the new Introduction Period committee together with the current Commissioner of Activities & Marketing. These are the people you are going to spending a lot of time with in the summer and during the introduction period. During this time, they will help you organize all the introduction events such as the weekend. When I look back at it; this was definitely the most hectic, but also the most fun and rewarding period in my board year.

Furthermore, your biggest responsibility is maintaining and increasing the social cohesion of the society during the year. You do this by organizing social events like boxing clinics, cocktail workshops, Christmas dinners, themed drinks and many more. Each year, we try to reinvent some events and create some new events to keep things fresh and interesting. This all wouldn’t be possible without the help of the Activities Committee.

I am also responsible for all the marketing within the society. This means that you will have meetings with marketing officers from other societies like FSR, EFR or ESN. Whenever you have an event together, you try to create the best marketing strategy for such an event. The same thing applies to all the big plans and events of your fellow board members, such as the Commissioner of External Relations & the Commissioner of Education and Career. Furthermore, you try to optimize all your channels and increase their reach by increasing the total followers on Instagram or scheduling posts on the right time for the right audience.

What skills should a good Commissioner of Activities & Marketing possess, in your opinion?
Next to being social, you also need to be resistant to stress and pressure. These two traits are tested the most during the Introduction Period. In this period, it is very important to keep your head cool and to not let the stress and pressure take the better of you. Throughout the whole year, you have to be quick on your feet and come up with creative solutions on the spot. Another important skill you need is the ability to see the bigger picture. You have to plan out all your activities for the whole year, but you also need to incorporate the marketing of other events together with your fellow board members. Decisions must be made about which activity or event has more priority and needs more exposure. 

Besides this, a board member in general needs to have a deep sense of responsibility, as you are no longer solely responsible for your own behavior, you are responsible for an entire society. Everyone can hold you accountable for everything that happens. Keeping this in mind, it is very important that you are highly intrinsically motivated, how else are you going to motivate people if you are not motivated yourself?

During a board year, you will have to face some challenges. Can you name a few and tell us how you coped with them?
A big challenge that comes with this board position is ensuring professionalism when it comes to the marketing. Besides that, you have to keep challenging yourself to invent new marketing strategies. One of the ideas I’ve had this year is to reinvent our designs regarding social media and the optimization of the channels. In the summer, I worked very hard to come up with a new design that would be more modern. We even see other associations copying our style! Next to this, I started the Instagram account under the guidance of Abe Scholten last year to increase our general reach and followers. While writing this article, it has been increased by around 69% and I firmly believe we will reach a triple digit increase this year! It’s a nice way to connect with our members even more, especially with the younger generation switching towards it instead of Facebook.

Another challenge that I’ve had to face this year is the member count, especially during the Introduction Period. It is at this time when it’s crucial that all of the marketing goes as smoothly as possible. Every Commissioner of Activities & Marketing wants to increase the member total to new record highs. We ultimately ended up with a record amount of new and total members of which I am very proud of!

What has been the most memorable experience for you so far?
The introduction period was definitely on the most rewarding times of my board year. From seeing so many new members get enthusiastic about our society to trying to guide them towards the perfect fit with an investment group. Furthermore, I really liked how well the people at introduction weekend got along and how we bonded as a board during the weekend with one ultimate goal in sight. Another thing I liked during the introduction period was the amount of boards of the other associations I got to know during this time. They, together with my own board of course, have made this year an unforgettable experience that I would not trade for anything in this world!

Joining Interfaculty Rotterdam was also a great experience, with the Interfaculty Gala as the highlight. However, some of the most memorable experiences are still yet to come; I am looking forward to organizing many great events with my amazing Activities committee such as the Dies Natalis: Lustrum Edition and other events. Of course, the Investment Week & Symposium will be another highlight!

What are your plans after this academic year?

Next year, I am going to finish my bachelor. Just kidding (laughs). In the upcoming academic year, I will start (and hopefully finish in one year) my masters in Strategic Management at Rotterdam School of Management & Financial Law at Erasmus School of Law. After these masters, I want to study a Master in Finance abroad, preferably Madrid or Milan. I will (for the foreseeable future) not become an investment banker or anything like that. I do however like M&A and Asset Management a lot, so I might go in one of those directions. The financial world in general will therefore still be a part of my future, as well as investing by the way, no reason to put your money on a savings account nowadays.