My board experience – Lucas Houben

Hi everyone! My name is Lucas Houben and I am the current commissioner of Activities & Marketing at B&R Beurs. Today, it is my turn to provide you guys with some stories regarding my board experience! So sit back, relax, and enjoy your read. If you have any more questions after reading this, feel free to contact me at activities@bnrbeurs.nl or at +31 6 53297760! 

How does your story at B&R Beurs start?

My story at B&R Beurs started over 5 years ago when I came to Rotterdam for my bachelor International Business Administration. I found stocks very interesting but had no idea how any of it actually worked. Therefore, when I came across B&R Beurs on campus, I thought it would be the ideal opportunity to learn more about investments and get to know some people! I became a member of Borsa Valori and enjoyed the fact that B&R Beurs did not cost me too much time as I wanted to focus on my studies, especially during my bachelor’s.

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

After my master’s in Business Information Management, I was not sure what I wanted to do this year. I did not want to get a ‘real’ job yet, so I thought about doing an internship. That is when I came across the opportunity to apply for a board year. What appealed to me most was the fact that you get a lot of responsibilities, while being able to have lots of fun. Secondly, I wanted to further develop my leadership skills, for which a board year is more appropriate than an internship. Third, I thought a board year would be a great way to give back to the society. This is my sixth year as a member of B&R Beurs, and I have enjoyed being a member for such a long time. I thought a board year would be a wonderful way of returning the favor.

What are your main responsibilities as Commissioner of Activities & Marketing?

As Commissioner of Activities & Marketing, you experience quite an intense start of your board year. Before the official start of your board year, you form the Introduction Period Committee together with the current Commissioner of Activities & Marketing (that would be me!). You will be spending a lot of time with the people in the IPC during the summer and the first months of the academic year. After all, you are responsible for the entire Introduction Period, including everything from the Eurekaweek, on-campus marketing, Introduction Drinks and the Introduction Weekend! Managing all of this is a hectic task, but one that is extremely rewarding and enjoyable, too.

After the Introduction Period, your focus shifts to organizing social events together with the Activities Committee. One of the biggest events is the Christmas Dinner, which we organized for 90 people this year. Other events include Wine Tastings, the Liga Investimento Football Competition, the Beer Cantus and themed Social Drinks. Naturally, you also get the opportunity to come up with new events that haven’t been organized before!

As the title says, you are also responsible for all marketing that B&R Beurs does. This means you have to think about how to get your members enthusiastic for the countless social, educational and career-related events that B&R Beurs organizes. Together with the Design Committee, you will design Instagram posts, stories, Facebook banners, and of course, everything from flyers to billboards and three editions of the B&R Magazine!

For each event, you have to determine the optimal marketing approach in order to get as many people to attend as possible! Some events, including the Investment Week & Symposium, are organized in cooperation with other societies. This means you have to coordinate designs and strategy with marketing officers from these other associations like FSR and ESN. Another important aspect of marketing is communication with your fellow board members. Of course, you won’t forget to market the social events that you organize yourself, but you also have to ensure you are up to date about events organized by other board members in order to market them as well.

What skills should a good Commissioner of Activities & Marketing possess?

I think two traits of a good Commissioner of Activities & Marketing are flexibility and positive thinking. Especially during the Introduction Period, you have to be flexible and able to cope with the stress and pressure that period brings. When things do not go according to plan – and believe me; at some point, they surely will – you have to keep your head cool and sometimes come up with solutions on the spot. Positive thinking will also help you and those around you to push through some of the less fun or more boring tasks, such as cleaning up after the Introduction Weekend or learning to use Adobe Indesign.

What have you learned during the past year?

I have learned more than I could imagine during this year. There are two things I would like to highlight. First of all, I have learned to prioritize. I used to want to execute every task with precision, but this is simply not possible during a board year. There are so many things to be done that you really have to divide your attention and time in a good way. Some things deserve your full dedication and time, while others are simply not that important. Not spending too much time on the little things that can be handled quickly is definitely something I am much better at now than I was before the start of my board year, and I have my fellow board members to thank for that as well!

The second thing I would like to illustrate is that I have learned to delegate. I did not have any managing experience before this year and had no idea how I would manage a committee. I used to want to be involved in every task, even when I did not have to be so and could let my committee handle it. Learning to delegate and then not get involved in some tasks while doing others myself has been a great learning experience.

What has been the most memorable experience for you so far?

A board year itself is a fantastic experience and one I enjoy every single day. I am so happy I chose for a board year over an internship last year, and I will never forget many moments that happened during the past year. The Introduction Weekend, in particular, was extremely exciting. Leading the Beer Cantus during the weekend, with about 150 people participating, is a great memory. But the very best part of a board year is that you get to share the entire experience with 5 other individuals! Working closely together during the year means you bond a lot and get to know each other really well. These friendships to me are the most valuable thing this board year has given me by far!

Interested in more stories and more information regarding a board year, including how to apply? Click here!