Interview with a member: renee Hekerman

For this month’s blog article, we have interviewed an alumnus of our association, namely our very own former Chairman; Renee Hekerman! Renee is currently a Corporate Finance trainee at FrieslandCampina, after finishing her Bachelor’s Economics and Business Economics in Tilburg and Master’s in Finance & Investments in Rotterdam. 

As said, Renee decided to follow her master in another city. Rotterdam was a new surrounding, exactly what she was looking for. She also wanted to keep on challenging herself, create a bigger network, and was ready for leaving Tilburg. The difference between Tilburg and Rotterdam is that Erasmus University is much bigger, which leads to a very different way of teaching and making assignments but also results in a less personal approach and mentality. The students in Tilburg are more down to earth and therefore Renee is glad that she finished her bachelor here. She mentions the nice student city Tilburg is, because everyone knows each other and the bars are very cozy, whilst in Rotterdam, there are more clubs instead of bars. 

Renee has been active as a committee- and board member during her bachelor in Tilburg, which according to her, has significantly contributed to her chances when applying for a job. ‘You get to know who you are when you are attending career events and are actively busy with master orientation.’ The different roles in committees gave her a lot of challenges and have taught her to deal with certain unexpected situations. For example, when Renee was chairman of the study tour committee, they were about to visit a company in the marina of Valencia but the arranged bus did not show up. The pressure at these moments cannot be experienced during your studies and learns you to handle stressful situations. During your application process, these examples can be used to explain why you are the person you are. 

After some years of committee work, Renee decided to do a board year at Asset | Economics. Renee looks back at this year as a year full of developing herself and getting to know yourself and the way you handle different situations. It is only after your board year that you see how much you have grown and how you bring the learned material in practice. This year has made her conscious about the strengths, weaknesses, and personality she has. During your job application, you should motivate your personality and give examples of it. Renee has benefited from this greatly due to the self-knowledge she has gained during her board year. Another fun fact about Renee’s career at Asset | Economics is the way she got in touch with her current employer. The first time she had contact with FrieslandCampina was at the annual Economics Dinner. Later in her studies, she met them at a recruitment event in Rotterdam and got to know people who worked at FrieslandCampina as well. After a lot of doubting about what Renee wanted to do with her career, she decided to become a part of FrieslandCampina via their traineeships. 

FrieslandCampina’s traineeship lasts for 2 years, of which you will be placed somewhere in the company during your first year and can choose a project yourself in your second year. Renee is currently in her first year of the corporate treasury traineeship with the main focus on the operational part. She is responsible for the management of all financial needs and the risks that come with this. She also assists the cash manager who is responsible for having the right amount of cash available and carrying through payments. Next to this, Renee also has some projects running like making a scenario analysis of the corona crises. Working at FrieslandCampina is described by Renee as very fun, in which she experiences a very collegial atmosphere where everyone wants to help each other. The people are very open and down to earth, she compares them a bit with the Tilburg University student. Even in Corona times, there is a virtual “vrijmibo” regularly to keep in contact with your colleagues and to guide everyone in a nice and pleasant way. 

After her traineeship, she wants to look at which function fits her to apply for a function within the company. Former trainees and managers help you with this by telling you the exact content of the function and checking whether this function fits your personality. She definitely wants to stay with FrieslandCampina due to the international possibilities and the good feeling she gets from the company.

If you want to work at a big firm, Renee recommends you to attend career events so you can discover what you want and who you are. Pay close attention to building a nice cv by being active at associations and have a clear view of what you want. Applying for a job will be a lot easier this way!

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