Backbone is the corporate magazine of Erasmus School of Economics Published three times a year, once in print and twice online, the magazine highlights successful and interesting alumni, covers the latest economics trends and faculty research, and reports on school news, events, and student, faculty, and alumni accomplishments.
Meet our Students
Dive in the world's most inspiring city
A short introduction to our groundbreaking research
Research in a nutshell
Four professors share their story
Meet your Professor
Erasmus School of Economics in numbers
Facts & Figures
Top tips from Jolanda Poots-Bijl
Meet our Alumni
Noted & Quoted
Publication Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam Editors Ronald de Groot, Babette den Daas, Lotte van de Laak, Yasmine van der Straten, Yrla van de Ven, Annemarieke Dumay-Roest, Madeleine Kemna Concept, design and realization Kris Kras context, content and design Print De Bondt grafimedia communicatie BV Illustrations Carolyn Ridsdale Photography Kees Stuip, Gerhard Nel, Chris Gorzeman, Sanne Donders, Iris van den Broek, Sophie van den Hoek, Fabian Calis, Sjoerd van der Hucht, Rosa Quist, Jan de Groen, Ka-chun Lo, Heritage Foundation EUR, Rotterdam Topsport, Rotterdam Imagebank, Koala Koncepts
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At Erasmus School of Economics students excel both within and besides their study programmes. Meet some of the students that combine their study with extracurricular activities such as consultancy, sustainability and entrepreneurship.
Meet our Students
Study & Sustainability
Study & Entrepreneurship
Study & Consultancy
'From a very young age I have been triggered by the need for sustainability. My father, who was one of the first to switch to an ecofriendly boiler, solar panels and an electric car, inspired me. When I was seven, I wrote a letter to (then) Prime Minister Balkenende with a plan to combat climate change. I received a polite reply, suggesting I should take my plans to the local municipality. Currently, I am Dutch Youth Representative for Sustainable Development to the United Nations (UN).
As former vice-president of the Economic Faculty Association Rotterdam (EFR) I was able to help plant the seeds for more sustainability at our university. I was involved in setting up a minor about this topic, participated in organising a major event on sustainable development goals and started the sustainability committee at EFR. It was good to see that this appealed to many students who wanted to bundle their efforts.
I spent so much time on EFR that I had to postpone my thesis for my Bachelor Economics and Business Economics to the summer holidays. Sitting alone in the library was rather boring and to distract myself I scrolled on Sin-Online. When I saw there was an opportunity to become involved in sustainability at the UN, I decided to go for it. There were several selection rounds with interviews, a debate and campaigning. The same (former) Prime Minister I had contacted as a seven-year old, agreed to appear in my promotion video.
When I started at the UN, I thought the amount of procedures was rather time-consuming and superfluous. However, I soon learned that there is such a wide range of cultures and interests with so many different approaches that procedures bring some much needed structure, in the absence of which we might never achieve anything. The knowledge of Economics and Law I have gathered at Erasmus Univeristy Rotterdam enables me to understand better what is feasible in terms of improving sustainability. A biologist approaches the issues from a physical angle, but I can place it in a legal framework and assess what we might need to change in our economy.
Before becoming youth representative, I participated in an exchange programme organised by our university, which meant that I could study one semester at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. One of the things I have learned there is that there are indeed major differences between cultures, sometimes born out of necessity. I saw that sustainability has a relatively low priority because there are so many other urgent problems such as racism and segregation. At the UN I experiences that the involvement of young people is not something that is generally accepted in all cultures. I remember a meeting about climate change, where the Indian representatives questioned whether adolescents should take part in the discussion.
As a Dutch representative you really do get involved. The Netherlands has the oldest youth programme at the UN. Our former Queen Beatrix was the first to present the Dutch youngsters. I just attended the climate negotiations in Bonn. On behalf of young people worldwide I gave a speech on youth participation. Here in the Netherlands I visit many schools and give hands-on support to lobbying and policy projects.
Sustainability is work in progress and it will continue to play an important role in my life, no matter what direction my future career will take me.'
Study & Sustainability
is work in progress'
'The internship during my Bachelor Econometrics and Operations Research consisted of an assignment that I could do from home. It meant I was able to work very efficiently and had plenty of spare time. This allowed me to achieve significant progress on the implementation of a plan I had been discussing with a fellow beer lover for some time. Given the increasing popularity of regional beer we thought it was time for the Westland (the area between Rotterdam and The Hague) to have its own version.
We used social media and the newspaper to ask potential customers what the beer should taste like. There was a clear majority for pale lager and tripel. We needed a brewer that could help with the production, but unfortunately there is no brewery in the area so we have opted to rent a kettle in Amsterdam where the production takes place according to our recipe. Nevertheless, there is a clear link with the Westland because we use spelt grown in the region and 5% of the profits go to a charity that supports local patients with ALS disease. We take care of the logistics ourselves, delivering the orders from the brewery to our clients. We are now selling 40 hectolitres per year, which is the equivalent of 12000 beer bottles.
Since beer and burgers go together so well, the next step was to start a pop up restaurant. During the fall of 2017 we opened in a local pub for four weeks, selling almost 1000 hamburgers in total. I went on a trip to Asia after finishing my Bachelor, but it was definitely not all play. Apart from the day-to-day business, there were many things that needed to be organised before the restaurant could open. As an entrepreneur you will never be away from work completely. When I came back I started working in the restaurant straight away. I learned to stay calm and improvise when things go wrong. One evening, there was so much demand from walk-in clients that all hamburgers were sold out before people with a late-night reservation came. The fact that we maintained a good relationship with our supplier meant that he was willing to come to the rescue with an extra delivery.
The success of the pop up restaurant made us hungry for more and we decided to offer the same service on location. It has led to a successful catering business for clients who want to organise an event for fifty people or more. This is usually during the weekend, so it does not interfere with my internship at the revenue management department of Heineken. The data we analyse here are not so clean as those in my Bachelor study. Real life is very different. However, my university experience has taught me what you can do with data and helped me to develop an ability to assess very quickly what opportunities a data set offers.
Next year, I will start the Econometrics Master in Quantitative Marketing and Business Analytics. Upon finishing my study, I would like to join the Heineken trainee programme, but I hope to be able to continue having my business on the side. I do not like twiddling my thumbs.’
Study & Entrepreneurship
'As an entrepreneur you will never be away from work completely'
'My decision to study International Economics and Business Economics (IBEB) for my Bachelor degree turned out to be a great choice. The group was very diverse, with many different nationalities and backgrounds, but I was still in a familiar environment. I was selected for an exchange programme, which brought me to Bocconi University in Milan where I was forced to be truly independent. Navigating my own course through the Italian way of life, I realised that Erasmus School of Economics is very well organised, something you might take for granted if you have n ot had the chance to look elsewhere.
Upon my return I joined De Kleine Consultant. The mission of this student-run consultancy group is to help clients and aspiring consultants to grow. Talented students are selected to do at least three projects that enable them to achieve previously formulated learning goals. We partner with several leading consultancy firms that offer us coaching and traning. Of course the challenges we encounter can be wide-ranging. The coaches help the teams to define the research question in such a way that it is manageable. The projects are done in cycles of ten weeks and the teams meet regularly with their coaches during that period. Each local branch also organises weekly debriefing sessions in which team members discuss their cases and assess how well they are realising their personal goals.
In my first round I worked for Coca-Cola European Partners, a Dutch corporate. It suited me because I wanted to apply myself to handle challenging data sets. Having achieved the first objective, I realised that the best experience for me would mean involvement in managing De Kleine Consultant itself. I become a director and was responsible for finance and training. The training I organised for the Rotterdam-based consultants was mainly given by former members or by external parties. Now, in my third round, I am the chairman of the Rotterdam team. What I like is the opportunity to develop. Feedback is an important part of the process; using the tiptop model, we tell each other what went really well and where improvement is needed.
De Kleine Consultant is a fantastic playground. In most other companies you would not be able to implement changes so quickly and adapt if you see something does not work. A good example is our decision to take on more projects. Instead of having three projects with four consultants each, we now have four projects with some run by three people.
For my Masters' degree, I have chosen Financial Economics. I also work four hours a week for this department, for which I develop valuation models. After graduation, I want to stay for a PhD. At 21, I consider myself too young to enter corporate life.'
Study & Consultancy
'We partner with consultancy firms that offer us coaching and training'