In the regular feature The President EM interviews the leader of different student organizations. In this first edition of this feature, we’ve spoken with Rik Bross from EFR.

Name: Rik Bross

Age: 23

Degree: Economics & Business Economics, fifth year

Association: Economic Faculty association Rotterdam (EFR), the study association of Economics.

Number of members: around 5300

President since: 11 September 2015 (official)

Motto: “I want to stand among the group members to support them”

Why did you want to become president?

“Economics in Rotterdam is a fantastic programme, but it’s rather theoretical. If you want to gain experience, you need to go and find it yourself. Doing an internship was one option I considered, but eventually I chose the EFR. It’s a huge organisation, for which I am now responsible. What’s more, it’s even better now that I’m working with peers and I’ve already learned an awful lot. And I’ve only just begun.”

Did you have any doubts about applying?

“Of course. I only recently became an active member of the EFR. And I didn’t know whether I’d enjoy certain things, like all the networking, for example. But developing strategies and policy, working with other people and motivating them seemed so appealing that I eventually applied in May.”

Do you work long hours?

“Board members get to the office at around nine o’clock in the morning. One day a week you can arrive later, at around eleven. Usually we go home at seven or eight in the evening. And we’re busy most weekends too.”

Do you look after yourself properly?

“Ha ha, yes I do, because the phenomenon ‘executive kilos’ is well known in our circles. So I do sports regularly and try to eat healthily.”

What are your tasks as EFR president?

“My work involves lots of small things. I chair meetings, give talks at openings and events – obviously, the vice president and I are the face of the association – but ultimately my main task is to maintain a constant overview: know what’s going on, both professionally and personally, so that you can take fast decisions.”

What are your strengths?

“I think they would be related to motivating and keeping the team together. That’s also the nicest challenge of being president: making sure that people work hard, but not too hard – alternating between keeping your foot on the accelerator and pushing the brake, when necessary. People mainly see you as president when you do something in public, but that’s the side I find less interesting.”

Did you make any specific preparations for the role?

“I did think about taking a course in English, because I was a bit concerned about my proficiency. But I needn’t have worried. What’s more, you usually give presentations to first years who also don’t speak English as a native language…”

What do you feel makes the ideal president?

“There isn’t one type of president. You have to be true to yourself as much as possible. Discover how you want to lead the organisation. As long as everyone in the association does their job, it’s fine.”

How would you like people to describe you as president in a year’s tim

“For me, the opinion of my seven fellow board members is the most important. If I’ve managed to keep the group together, if they have felt appreciated and felt I was a good president, then I’ll be satisfied. And hopefully, in ten years’ time we’ll be having a drink together at each other’s weddings.”