In this section, graduates from Erasmus University talk about their lives, careers and what they learned from being at university and in their work, providing useful tips about what you should and shouldn’t do to build up a career.

Name: Jonel Timbergen

Age: 28
Study & graduation year: obtained his bachelor degree in Business Administration in 2012 with a research internship at The Walt Disney Company, and got his master degree in Business Information Management in 2014 (both at RSM)
Current job: has been doing the IT Traineeship as IT Business Analyst at Alliander since June 2014
Career: the traineeship is his first job. As a student, he did an internship at Schouten en Nelissen, studied in Finland, had a job at Deloitte, was a student assistant and was a barista at the Nespresso Academy.
Motto: ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’ (Eleanor Roosevelt)

What I learned as a student. “Focuses in the short term – completing assignments, passing exams – and in the long term – graduate.”

Be critical. “At university, you surround yourself with smart academics. Particularly in the master phase, you are forced to be critical about yourself – and about your fellow students. I still use that skill in my work today. As a business administrator, I’m not as good at engineering and electrical engineering as most of my colleagues. So I keep asking myself: do I really understand this? If not, I ask as many questions as it takes to really understand the subject or research it intensively myself until I really understand the subject. I’m not afraid to say that I don’t know something, because that’s the only way to learn new things. I learned that attitude and skill at university.”

Carriere Lindemarie – foto Jonel2
Image credit: Aysha Gasanova

Challenge yourself every day. “My father gave me this advice: try to get the best out of every day and learn something from it. It’s not always a conscious thing, but I do follow his tip in practice. For example, a while back my manager asked me if I’d give a presentation in Frankfurt two days later. My first reaction was: what about my other work? But I went anyway. There I stood on my own, a young business administrator, talking to a group of technical people. In fact, it all went well, the people were nice and I learned something. Now it wouldn’t worry me quite so much if I had to do the same thing next week in the United States, for example.
It’s a good example of doing something different, which adds to your skills. They call it being thrown ‘off balance’: it has to be just stressful enough to be able to perform.”

Luck. “At the end of 2011, I spent five months working full time for Deloitte in Zürich for a cool international research programme at a bank. The opportunity came my way and the timing was interesting, because it was right in the middle of the economic crisis. I worked with lawyers, auditors and bankers from Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands every day. As a result, I quickly learned how Deloitte operated and how you behave in such a professional international team. That’s an experience I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. Even if it meant delaying my studies. I’ve always consciously done things besides my studies. It meant I got to know myself better and enabled me to make a better choice of my master programme. I had to grow into it.”