MEET THE FUNCTION: external affairs officer

Author: Max van den Hurk
Date: 03-03-2023

Since past September I have had the opportunity to have responsibility for all external affairs of Asset | Economics. These past months have been filled with meeting companies, forging a bond with my fellow board members, developing and executing several formal events and getting to know a whole lot of new people. All in all, a wonderful experience to say the least. 

Hi, my name is Max van den Hurk, third year bachelor student Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. I’m the odd one out when it comes to the current board of Asset | Economics due to my study not being either Economics and Business Economics or Economics, and not being a member of Asset before doing a board year either. Some facts about me: I am originally from Tiel, a small city in the middle of the Netherlands. I am an avid cook, both at home and professionally. Furthermore, I love listening and playing music, although sometimes my fellow board members disagree with the type of music I listen to.  

So how does someone who is not even a member of the association become part of the board? Asking nicely would be a good start. Having family members who have already been a part of that same board in years prior, so you can ask them what it entails and if they would recommend doing it is also a very nice trick.

Long story short however, I wanted to do something other than just studying for this academic year, and through a friend of mine I knew Asset | Economics was looking for a fourth board member. I applied and was asked to come in for an interview and meet the other candidate board members. One thing led to another and I was a candidate board member as well. 

As a new member of Asset, and as a board member, there were a lot of matters that can be interpreted as both a challenge and an opportunity to grow. For instance, I had to get to know a lot of different people, my fellow board members, both of Economics and all the other departments of Asset, members of Asset | Economics and a lot of recruiters who were new to me, but had been a partner of our association for quite some time. Next to that, I had to learn how Asset was structured, and how the culture differed from what I was used to, due to my past experiences at Vidar, the rowing association I have been a part of for the past years. 

All of these things meant putting in effort to learn, but also, rather than seeing this as a ‘task’, for me it was an opportunity to experience a part of the student culture of Tilburg that I had not experienced prior to doing a board year.

Now what have I been doing for the past months? What does an external affairs officer actually do?

One of the most important tasks I have been responsible for is the acquisition of partners. Partners are companies we as Asset | Economics think would be a good match for our students. These companies want to get in touch with our students, and we think our students would have something to gain from getting involved with these companies, either during or more likely, after their studies, as they can get an internship, part time job or full time job out of these partnerships. 

Once this acquisition has been done, I have to make sure these partners stay with us, so another aspect of my day to day tasks would be relationship management. This entails for instance that I have to take meetings with recruiters from all these companies during the year, to see how we can be of service to them, and how they might be of value to us as well. 

This past monday for instance, I was invited to come and have a meeting with one of our partners in Brussels to discuss how we might help each other in the coming academic year, which was one of the more fun days of my life as an External Affairs Officer. 

Another large aspect of my responsibilities as an External Affairs Officer would be the development and execution of our formal events, events at which students can get in touch with companies through for instance case days, recruitment dinners or fun activities where companies partake next to our students. This means I will coordinate the committee that is organising the event, make sure there are interesting companies attending the event, and be the main point of contact during the event itself. This part of my board year has probably taught me the most, as it requires you to really adapt and apply yourself in different ways as you’re switching roles between coordinator and face towards the companies almost every five minutes. 

To reflect on the past months, I would need another blog or two to really get everything down, but to be a bit shorter it has taught me a lot about my intrapersonal skills, how to set expectations for others and how to work together with people who might not know you at all, while you still need them to work with you. 

Furthermore the networking and ‘sales’ experience I have gained in this time has been unparalleled, and certainly one of the most important developments I have done on a professional level in the past years, and probably in the years to come. 

To experience a board year like this, is something I had not thought of as I started studying, but right now, I would advise everyone to do it, as it is one of the most unique experiences in your studying life, and maybe even afterwards. 

Hopefully this article has given you some insight in what it entails to be External Affairs Officer of the board of Asset | Economics. If you have any questions or want to know more, do not hesitate to contact me by phone (06-39008515), or by mail: [email protected]

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