Business Trip 2017 April 7th, 2017
Every year towards the end of January, SCOPE | Vectum organizes its famous Business Trip. This time, we visited the companies Aegon, Quantillion, PwC, Zanders, and Ceva Logistics.
On Monday January 30th at 8:45 am, we agreed to meet at the station in Maastricht, already dressed in our formal attire. After we had gathered, we sang an energetic birthday song to our president, Merit, which was a lovely and festive way to start the trip. First on our itinerary was Aegon in the Hague. We were welcomed with a lunch of the very Dutch “broodje kroket”. At this lunch, we were given the opportunity to talk to employees of Aegon in a more informal setting, with two of them being SCOPE | Vectum alumni. After we’d filled our bellies and chatted to our heart’s content, a short presentation about Aegon was given by a recruiter, who presented us with our first case of the week. Since we visited Aegon last year as well, the company decided organized a new case. We were divided into 5 subgroups that had to compete against each other. The goal was to earn as much money as possible by investing in financial assets, essentially setting up a trading strategy. Every round, each group had to explain their adjusted trading strategy. We finished our visit by having some drinks with the employees that guided us during the case. This presented a good opportunity to talk to them and gain some insights into their careers so far. They had graduated only a few years ago which stimulated the conversation among us. After our visit at Aegon we travelled to Amsterdam. At 8:00 pm we met for a joint dinner at Piccolino. Everybody enjoyed their pizza, pasta or lasagne except for one of us who was forgotten by the staff. As compensation for waiting and watching as the rest enjoy their dinners, he received a free beer. Afterwards, we went to our habitual haunt in the evenings, De Gieter. Here we drank our first beers of the week and enjoyed the evening.
The next day, we met up to go to Quantillion. Interestingly enough, the two founders of Quantillion are econometrics students who are actually around our age. They founded the company in 2016. Together, they bring business intelligence and data science solutions to clients of all sizes, helping to improve their performance and resolve challenges of all kinds with varying levels of complexity. Since they are still growing, an inhouse-day with 30 students was a large event for them to organize. The contrast with Aegon was quite large in that regard. We again commenced with a lunch and a presentation about Quantillion itself. After that, we were tasked with working on a data-driven case. Every team of 3 people received either a laptop or a desktop in which data should be analysed through programming in R. In this way, it was very clear what kind of tasks an employee undertakes during a typical working day. Finally, we finished the day by going to Quantillion’s Haiwaiian bar and having a drink there. During the evening, everyone had some free time to do whatever they wanted. At 9:00 pm we met up again for the alumni drink at De Gieter.
On Wednesday, the program of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) started around noon. Most students slept in or went to the city centre for some sightseeing in the morning. Now, you might be wondering what the programme of the day contained? You probably guessed right; the day consisted of a lunch, a presentation, a case and last but not least the drinks afterwards. This shouldn’t be surprising, as this seems to be a very effective way of scheduling the day for companies. This enables students to experience the company as well as the work they are going to take on, while also being able to network with prospective colleagues. The company in turn gets in touch with future employees who stand out from the rest of the crowd. Two departments of PwC presented themselves, the actuarial side and the data-driven branch. The case was a combination of the two supported by a tool that PwC uses quite a lot to serve their clients. The respective client asked PwC to help in their prospective investment in order to achieve their future goal and path that they want to take on. After we had rounded up the case and the winner was announced, we went to the top floor of the building (really nice view!) to enjoy some refreshments.
The next day the alarm clock was set a little bit earlier than previous days. At 9:00 am we were expected at Zanders. So, we checked out of our hostel in Amsterdam at 7:30 am to make sure we would be in time in Bussum. Unfortunately, NS did not want to help us arrive promptly, meaning we had a delay despite our best efforts. Luckily, Zanders waited for us with their luxurious breakfast. The company was represented by a recruiter and five consultants who joined us for the whole day. In this way, we were guided in an organized way and got plenty of opportunities to talk to them. The crux of the case was helping a client with the finances of the release of their new product. Zanders wrapped up the day by giving us a tour around their office.
After this company visit, we travelled to Utrecht. Most of us were exhausted. Luckily, we had finished quite early because of the early start, and so again had some free time in Utrecht to do whatever we pleased. Some of us decided it was a good idea to have a well-deserved nap, while most of us headed into town. At 9:00 pm we met at Mick O’Connels to have dinner together. The Irish pub was crowded with people that were enjoying a beer or a burger. The ambiance was fantastic, but it might have been a bit too cosy. Just imagine how difficult it was to sit with 30 students in an already crowded café. After our delicious dinner, we continued this gathering at another café with the fun continuing late into the night.
On our final day, we visited Ceva Logistics. Ceva Logistics was a rather unknown company amongst us because they work business-to-business. In addition, the headquarter is situated in the middle of a village at an industrial park. They rent a lot of warehouses to execute their main service: handling supply chain management. Therefore, the program of the day was noticeably different from the programs we had previously experienced. The group was split into 3 subgroups and in turn we got a warehouse tour, a presentation and a workshop. Instead of being given a case, we were offered the experience to see the practical side of the job by walking through the warehouse and experiencing real-life challenges of a regular working day. Finally, a lunch was provided for us. Around noon, we took the train heading back to the south again.
The companies that we visited varied from small start-ups to old, well-established companies, ranging in area of expertise from financial work to Operations Research. We noticed large differences in other areas as well, having visited companies in offices at the city centre to industrial parks, from posh to down to earth, from business formal to casual and so on. Getting some insights into future employers by visiting them is very valuable in my opinion, offering the opportunity to have a taste of what life might be like in a couple years’ time. This is one of the reasons I joined the Business Trip Committee and I hope that you enjoyed it together with us. I would like to thank everyone, especially the board, for the great week!