Doing a Board Year as Vice-Chairman, External Relations and Internal Relations

In this article you will get to know a little bit more about our Board Members. Gijs Hatzmann (Vice-Chairman), Sebastiaan Gessel (External Relations) and Sarah van der Wal (Internal Relations) will tell a bit more about what they are up to in a day and how they experienced their board year. 

Article about the position of Chairman: Douwe
Article about the positions of Secretary and Treasurer: Johan & Noor

Hi guys! Could you please introduce yourselves?

Gijs: Hi my name is Gijs and I am 22 years old. Currently I am the Vice Chairman of the Risk Board. Just over 3 years ago I came to Groningen and started with my bachelor Business Administration with the track Accountancy & Controlling. During my first year I became familiar with Risk and joined the Activity Committee. This made me enthusiastic about the association and pushed me to develop myself more. I have gotten to know a lot of amazing people and I am really enjoying my time at the association so far. 

Sebastiaan: Hi, my name is Sebastiaan. Currently I am 22 years old and within the board of Risk I am the External Relations Officer. Almost two years ago I finished my Bachelor International Business, which I concluded with a semester abroad in Bordeaux, France.  After my Bachelor I started with my Master Management Accounting and Control.  Halfway through my Master I was eager to develop myself in a more practical way instead of building theories on theories. I then came across the opportunity to apply for a board year at THE financial study association of Groningen of which I immediately knew I should not skip out on. 

Sarah: Hi! My name is Sarah and I am 23 years old. Within the Risk Board I am responsible for the Internal Relations. I am studying Accountancy, and I am currently in my Masters. After being active at Risk for almost two years I decided to apply for the Risk Board. In my time of being an Active member I’ve had the opportunity to meet lots of great people and expand my network. I wanted to develop myself further within the association by applying for the Risk Board. 

What does a typical day as a Risk Board Member look like?

Gijs: Within the function as Vice Chairman, every day is different. But in general it looks a bit like this. When I arrive at the office I usually start with checking my mailbox and see what’s on the agenda for the day. The first hour I usually clean my inbox and after which I have a meeting with either a committee, the Chairman or one of the other Board members. As the Vice Chairman has a lot of different responsibilities I really enjoy the variety of my days. When the meeting is over it is time for lunch with my fellow Board members and the board members of the other associations. After lunch I have some calls scheduled with some of the partners to discuss upcoming events and talk about the available promotion we offer. In between and after the calls I am sitting at my desk and will work on different things. It can range from our sustainability plans and possible new events to the general policy of the Board. When sitting at the office I am always available for students that stop by to give them some advice about their career. If they want they can also schedule a personal meeting with me to talk about all the options that they have and I am there to answer any questions and help them find the right company. At the end of the day I log off from my computer and will enjoy a social with my fellow Board members.

Sebastiaan: Every Monday morning (and Thursday), we start the day with a board meeting. We discuss strategy, committees, events etc. In the afternoon, I scheduled a meeting with all External Relations Officers of the FEB study associations, followed by a meeting with our Conference Committee. On a typical day I have a call with one of our partners to discuss our ongoing collaboration. Since I am responsible for all our partnerships, I process all emailing and make sure that agreements with our partners are met. The contracts that contain all agreements are designed by me, so I know exactly what me and my partners agreed on.

Sarah: I usually start my day by checking my emails, and take a look at my calendar of the day. After that I drink a cup of coffee or have a video call with someone who is interested in joining a committee at Risk, so I can tell all about the active membership at Risk and answer a lot of questions about the committee work and the other possibilities that Risk offers. Thereafter, I have a meeting with one of the four committees that I coordinate. After this meeting I help an active member responsible for the Promotion & Logistics with the design of the promotion material for his event. I have the overview of all the promotion of Risk, so I make sure all the promotion of Risk looks professional at all times. Also organizing the Active Members activities is one of my tasks, so on a typical day I am also busy contacting companies for our weekends, trainings and other activities. I close the day with scheduling job interviews for the incoming committee applications, and set up the interview questions.

What do you like most about your position?

Gijs: What I like most about my position is all the variety that comes with it. Every day looks different and I enjoy that. I am working together with the Chairman and the External Relations of the Board, which ensures that I always have someone to spar with. As there are different responsibilities I can be working on the strategic plans together with the Chairman in the morning and have a meeting with all External Relations of the other boards in the afternoon. On first glance I thought my position would tie me to my desk a lot, but in hindsight this is the complete opposite. I also meet with a lot of the members to talk about their career path and really enjoy this. It gives satisfaction to help people with their choices with the knowledge that you have.

Sebastiaan: During the summer, I visited some of our partners and held online meetings with all other partners of Risk (in total Risk has around 80 partnerships). During these visits, I got the chance to see all these companies from the inside. Furthermore, during these visits I agreed on for example participation in Risk Events, which I finalized in creating a contract. The main responsibility for the External Relations Officer is to maintain and create partnerships for Risk. Within this function you can operate relative free compared to other functions, something I like. Almost all income of the association is generated by you. In the beginning of the board year you budget a goal and in the end, achieving this goal is the best part of being an External Relations Officer.

Sarah:  The first thing that I really enjoy is meeting a lot of new people during this year. During the Recruitment periods for our committees I talk to a lot of new people both informal with a coffee date as formal with a committee interview. I really like to hear all about our members and what they do and like, in the different situations. I also really like to bond with our active members at our active members activities and socials, and like to talk to new people on the other Risk events. Next to that I really like task as PR and Promotion, so I can be creative in designing new promotion material for the corporate identity. I always loved to talk to people and have a lovely chat, and I think that even though this year went a little different as we expected, I got the chance to talk to so many different people. 

How did you develop yourself so far at Risk?

Gijs: During my board year I have developed myself in different ways. First of all it gave me more insight in the workfield and it helped me with my upcoming choices for a master. Next to that I developed myself on a personal level. You are in charge of a big study association with lots of different stakeholders. This also comes with great responsibility. This is where I developed myself most I think. It motivates you to do something for all stakeholders and do it in the most efficient and effective way as possible, without losing the bigger picture. As a member of the board you also develop yourself on a social level with all the different new contacts you gather. This increased social skill is helpful in both formal and informal environments. 

Sebastiaan: After my board year I will finalize my Master Management Accounting and Control, and thanks to the contacts that I acquired in my function as External Relations Officer, I already have an offer for a Thesis Internship and full time position at one of our partners. Being on the board of Risk helps you to get in touch with a lot of different companies and in the end, will help you to find an internship or starters function. Furthermore, I developed professional communication skills and also my social skills have improved.

Sarah: I have developed myself a lot so far. Before starting my board year, I already had my career path clear. So the intention of doing a Board year for me was to develop and challenge myself personally more. Being able to connect to so many new people in a short period of time, gives you a lot of insight about yourself, but also in other people. Also, being responsible for the whole recruitment period, gave me insight into how an actual recruitment process looks like and I learnt all the tips and tricks that come with that. Coordinating committees helped me develop my leadership skills more. After this year, I gained more insight in myself and made me happy about my study choice and the job opportunities that come with that. 

How do you combine both formal and informal?

Gijs: One of the things that most spoke to me in my first year is the combination of these two. Within Risk there is a lot of room to develop yourself and get to know different companies. But next to that, the ethos is that this also needs to happen in informal and fun ways. I think this is what makes Risk Risk. I really enjoy the monthly socials and the contacts I gathered and I think this will also help me in my future career. 

Sebastiaan: Risk has a lot of both formal and informal activities. The fun part of a board year is that these two go hand in hand. During the day you work in the office with your fellow board members, but in the evening you have different options to go to. For example socials, constitution drinks, events, activities etc. This year has not been the perfect balance between work and social life, however, I have been able to make a lot of new connections and friendships.

Sarah: This combination is why I really liked Risk in the first place. There is a really good balance between formal and informal. During the day we have formal activities where we work together on our policy and other operational tasks. In the evenings we often have informal activities with (active) members such as socials and society activities. Also, we as a Board have some fun evenings together, which makes the bond between each other stronger. 

What would you like to pass on to the readers?

Gijs: I can start with an entire monologue here, but I think it all comes down to the same thing. I think for every student that wants to do something next to their studies a board year at Risk is one of the things to absolutely recommend. You develop yourself in all sorts of ways, but next to that also have an amazing year with your fellow board members and other people. A lot of people have asked me the question if it sucked to do a board year in these weird times, but I have no regret at all. I think I would have regretted it if I didn’t start with this adventure. I got to know amazing people which I will treasure for the rest of my life. 

Sebastiaan: Actually, there is only one thing I can recommend. Become active at Risk! Start with a committee or apply for the board directly. You add something valuable to your studies, to your future career and not to forget: to yourself! So far, my board year at Risk is the best thing that happened to me, I really could recommend it to everyone!

Sarah: That a Board year is always a good choice! As we all know, last year went a little bit different than we had expected. Over the past months, a lot of people have asked me if I regret choosing for a Board year in ‘’Corona times’’ and my answer is always no. Even though we had to work from home for a couple of months and were restricted to the COVID-19 measures, I would apply for the Risk Board if I knew all this would happen. Working together with my motivated fellow board members and meeting new active members are some of the things that I value the most in the past year. Next to that, I got to know the Association better and developed myself more. Last year has required a lot of adaptability from us as board members and therefore I think we may have learned even more than in a ‘regular’ board year. So, either way, a board year is always a good choice!

We are currently looking for our successors! Could that be you? Feel free to get in contact with us by sending a e-mail to and we are always willling to answer your questions! The deadline of application for all positions of the board is on Sunday the 17th of January, 23:59. You can apply by sending your resume and motivation letter to