Doing a Board Year at Risk: Chairman
In March, the Risk Board 2020-2021 will be constituted. Although that seems pretty far away, we are already looking for the new chairman! For many people, it is not exactly clear what the tasks and responsibilities of Risk Board members are. Therefore, we will give you more insights into the Risk Board the upcoming week, kicking off with the position of Chairman! Victor, the current chairman, will tell about his experiences as a board member.
Hi! For the people who are not familiar with you; could you shortly introduce yourself?
Sure! I am Victor, 25 years old and currently a BSc Economics & Business Economics student. I am originally from Deventer, but started studying in Groningen in 2015. I have enjoyed two years of race rowing and after my internship at KPMG Amstelveen, I was fortunate to be chosen as chairman of Risk!
It has been almost a year since you were announced as the chairman of the Risk Board 2019-2020. Why did you choose to apply for a board year?
Initially I was interested in doing a committee at Risk, but the previous board convinced me that a board year would be a better decision. I spoke to many previous Risk board members and board members from other associations as well. They told their experience and made me quite tempted to apply.
I played my cricket and soccer at ‘Koninklijke UD’, as UD means ‘Utile Dulci’; combining the useful with the pleasurable. This was exactly my approach when returning to Groningen after my internship. I was not ready for the working life just yet, but I wanted to do something that would be a massive learning experience. I took the gamble and it doesn’t take me much hesitation to say that I am extremely happy with the choice I have made.
Before applying for the board, you had no previous experience within Risk. Was this a problem for you?
It took a bit of extra effort to get used to the association. Also, all the (active) members of Risk were new to me. But I felt at home straight-away and my predecessor Annelien helped me get through every stage of the ‘transition period’. Applying for this position meant I was going to dive into a totally new adventure, but that motivated me even more.
What did your application process look like?
The initial application consisted of submitting a one-page letter of motivation and my resume. After I handed this in, I got invited for an interview. In preparation of this interview, I read articles like this one on the Risk website and scanned General Members Meeting booklets. I also practiced some interview questions with my friends and felt well prepared. During the interview, I noticed myself becoming even more eager to become chairman, although I felt that my lack of previous Risk experience was hindering me. However, the former board made me feel at comfort, so it went well. The interview took about 2 hours and after it was finished, I walked away quite happily. A few days later, I was announced as the new Risk Chairman!
So, then you were selected. When were your other board members announced? How did the time until your official installment looked like?
After a very good party to celebrate my announcement (which was one that will last long in my memory, or not, if you know what I mean), the transition period started. This was a period of almost three months. I was still an intern at KPMG during the first month, but it was doable to combine both things together. During this period, I recruited my fellow board members and I got to know everything about the association. It was a challenging time as there was plenty to learn and do. But the month February was great fun as me and the rest of my board got ourselves ready for a fantastic year.
What are the responsibilities of a chairman?
As a chairman, you are responsible for a lot of different tasks. First of all, I manage the board on an operational level, as well as on a strategic level. This means that I prepare our weekly meetings, check with my board members how they are doing and supervise and execute our policy. Another important task is communication with our stakeholders. This means that I have a lot of meetings and contact with university staff, specifically the departments of Accountancy, Accounting and Finance. Moreover, I am in touch with the chairmans of other associations, ranging from other Financial Association in the Netherlands (the FAN) or associations at the RUG.
Alright, sounds challenging! What would a typical day of a chairman look like?
During my year, I found this one of the hardest questions to answer to my friends and family. A day of a chairman is never the same, and often things happen on the day itself that require immediate action. However, to give you an idea of a typical day, I will give an example of a Monday: After I cycled to the Risk office located the Duisenberg building, the day started at 9:15. The first thing I did, was getting myself a cup of coffee and check if there were any Active Members at the Risk Active Member Office. After a little chat, I checked the board calendar and checked my e-mail. Then it was time to prepare the agenda for the board meeting. During the board meeting, we always start with a personal update of the weekend after which the official part starts. We normally discuss all the committees, upcoming events and other essential things. After the meeting, I have lunch with my board. My next appointment is at 13:00: a meeting with the chairmans of other associations at the FEB, the so-called ‘Platform Voorzitters’. About an hour later the meeting was finished and I decided to reply on some on-going projects in my mailbox. The last meeting of the day was at 15:00 with the International Financial Program Board of which I am the board coordinator. After this meeting, I finished the day with some small final tasks, before cycling back home. In the evening my board and I met up to have dinner together, which is always a lot of fun! It’s great to spend quality time with your board outside office hours, as we can then have fun about things that lie outside the association. After some drinks in the evening, we either attend the Social of a different association, or our own, which is always a great Monday as a night together with the Risk Members brings a lot of joy!
How do you combine your board year with your studies?
The Risk Board year is full time, which I think is one of the best things about taking a board year. You can fully focus on your one task: being a board member. We are working every workday from 10:00 until 17:00 at the Risk office. Therefore, you need to take a ‘gap year’ from your studies. However, combining it with some courses is surely possible since you can study during the evenings or in the weekends. Moreover, we always have ‘study days’ before the exam, to make sure you can fully focus on passing your exams. On a personal taste, I would recommend to not take more than five courses during the year.
What do you like the most about your board year?
I think a board year at Risk combines a lot of amazing factors: you get a lot of responsibilities and therefore you learn a lot really fast. Besides, you get to meet amazing companies and it opens up a lot of career opportunities. Another good thing is the social part: you meet a lot of amazing people and you have fun all year long.
But what stands out for me is the team effort we are delivering every day with the 6 of us. We go through pleasant and unpleasant times. We laugh and argue. We learn from each other and make each other stronger. I feel we are a team that can take on anything as we experience moments that will last in our memory for the rest of our life!
Thank you for the interview! Any last words for people who are interested in becoming the new Risk Chairman?
Everyone can take the easy route. But if you really want to take a big step in your student life, of which you will take huge profit from, then a board year is the way to go.
If you are interested in becoming my successor, do not hesitate to send me a mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can have a coffee and I can tell you more about being a chairman in real life!