Dear members, my name is Casper Snijders and I am the Commissioner of External Affairs of the 35th board. I joined B&R Beurs in 2016 because I thought it was the perfect combination of a study and student association where fun and education are both important. At the first drink I ever attended, a group of like minded students and myself started a new investment Group and that is how my B&R Beurs adventure started. In this interview, you can read more about what it is like to be the External of B&R Beurs.
If you want to know about the External position, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply stop by our office (P-1.074) for a cup of coffee or a beer.
Why did you choose to apply for a board year at B&R Beurs?
I chose to apply for a board position because I thought it was the perfect way to develop myself personally and learn more about the financial industry. I wanted to contribute to the success of the society of which I was already actively involved in for two years. Also doing a board year was in my opinion the ideal step between my bachelor and master, as I wasn’t ready to start my master yet. Furthermore, I wanted to experience firsthand what it is like to be in the board at a large society.
I chose B&R Beurs for a board year, because at B&R Beurs you can have fun, share a drink and socialize. At the same time, you can also learn about investing, the financial world and discuss these matters with like minded students. One other reason is that B&R Beurs has grown rapidly over the last 6 years, and this growth is not fully incorporated in B&R Beurs. This offers a lot of opportunities while doing a board year at B&R Beurs, where you can really leave your mark and come up with new projects and events.
What are your main tasks as Commissioner External Affairs?
The main task of the External Officer is to manage all contact with the partners of B&R Beurs. This starts off with visiting all the partners during the summer, evaluating the previous year and arranging the upcoming year. After that, you need to contact other companies and convince them that B&R Beurs is exactly what they are looking for. This includes doing research on companies, calling, visiting and preparing custom-made pitches. Every conversation is different, because you are dealing with a lot of different parties. Sometimes you have a meeting planned with a Managing Director or a Vice President, other times you are speaking with a recruiter or marketing/HR. Every conversation needs its own preparation and that is what makes it interesting to go to all kinds of companies and speak to different layers of the corporate ladder. In this effort, only the sky is the limit and as External, this task is never done.
Besides contacting companies and closing deals, being an External is way more. One of my other tasks this year was supervising 3 committees: The Risk Management Days, City Trip and the Investment Conference Committee. Furthermore, I am also busy with the Investment Week & Symposium. All committees are special in their own way and require their own approach.
Lastly, being an external is also about organizing events from A to Z. It does not stop when companies sign a contract. This year I took care of all different parts of the event, including marketing and logistics. You will work together with your fellow board members to get everything arranged.
What skills should a good Commissioner of External Affairs possess, in your opinion?
Right off the bat, two of the most important skills you need to have as an external are be able to listen carefully and you must be able to understand the needs and desires of the person you are speaking with. This will help you in the entire process of negotiating the terms and managing expectations of both parties. Of course, being confident, convincing and smooth will also help you in sealing the deal.
Besides that, it is important to have people’s knowledge. For example, body language and the way of speaking are two things you should be aware of during conversations with companies and people in general. Meeting someone in person makes this easier. But due to limited time and availability, you should also be convincing during the calls and emails you have.
During a board year, you will have to face some challenges. Can you name a few and tell us how you coped with them?
As external, you are mainly the contact person for the companies, but also for the society and all members. This can be challenging at times, because all parties have different desires or views on the subject of matter. As an external, you make sure that all parties are satisfied and understood. You can plan and think about everything perfectly, but a last-minute change can happen. You have to come up with last-minute solutions and adapt quickly, so all parties are up to date. This has proven to be challenging, but life would be boring without a challenge.
What has been the most memorable experience for you so far?
Apart from the numerous company dinners and In-House Days I organized and attended this year, my most valuable experience are the meetings, conversations and events with our partners. During the entire process of organizing and planning an event, you will have a lot of contact with a few persons within the company. By contacting these people quite regularly, you will build a strong relationship and really get to know these people. Expanding and maintaining the society’s network is important for B&R Beurs. All this comes together with the rush of excitement and the feeling of success when you get a partner to sign those important contracts that you worked so hard for!