Nick: “Corona has had no influence on my career opportunities and choices”

Nick: “Corona has had no influence on my career opportunities and choices”

What has your life been like since you graduated? We asked this question to four new Tilburg University alumni. They talk about their studies and motives, the tail end in times of the coronavirus and their plans for the future. This week: Nick Verdouw (25) audit-trainee at KPMG. In addition to a full-time job, Nick follows the TiU post-graduate Master’s in Accountancy. Quite a tough combination.

Nick Verdouw, at work in his parental home. Photo: Dolph Cantrijn

“I spent my first years as a student in Rotterdam. There I started my Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Economics after high school. For me it was quite a transition, a lot of independent study and no teachers checking whether you do your homework. It went by trial and error. What’s more, the study program did not suit me as well as I had thought.”

“The consequences? Insufficient grades and little motivation. I decided to quit and take up my part-time job as a shelf stacker at a supermarket full time. In September, I started studying Business Administration, which turned out to be a good choice; suddenly studying went much more smoothly.”

“After obtaining my Bachelor’s degree, I applied for the Master’s in Accountancy in Tilburg.  Studying in Tilburg was a very good experience for me. The way it was taught, the small-scale, and green campus: that combination gives Tilburg University a more village-like feeling compared to Rotterdam.”

Takeaway diploma

“Graduating in times of corona was less fun, your studies suddenly take place mainly online. I missed the contact with my fellow students. Sitting for exams is also done remotely, I initially didn’t like that. I was worried about privacy because everything is recorded through your microphone and camera.”

“I was also afraid that my laptop would crash during the exam. It sometimes happened that I was thrown out of an exam, fortunately I “managed to get back in pretty quickly, but I also know people who missed half an hour. Still, online education wasn’t so bad in the end.”

“I had imagined the graduation ceremony differently at some stage. Instead of an elaborate ceremony, it was reduced to a takeaway moment. You get your diploma, sign it, and then you’re outside again. Because of the coronavirus, a part of your life is lost, especially the social part. The really fun things just can’t be done. But this situation has not affected my career opportunities and choices.”

From internship to job

“During the last months of my Master’s, I did a thesis internship at KPMG. It was a way for them to get to know me, and a great opportunity for me to become acquainted with the organization and the work. Both sides liked it: they offered me a contract afterwards. I have been an audit-trainee since September.”

“Under the guidance of experienced colleagues, I will get to know the various facets of the work as an auditor over the next two years. We audit the annual accounts of various companies and industries, and we report whether they give a true and fair view of reality. Is the administration in order? Has no fraud been committed?”

Because of noise disturbance, I prefer to work at my parents

“We advise management on possible financial risks and look at a company’s internal control. I like working with figures, and I also enjoy the contact with the various clients.”

“Starters are allowed to work at the office one day a week, but I now often work at my parents’ house. I still have my student studio in Rotterdam, but because of noise disturbance, I prefer to be here.”

Working and learning

“In addition to this job, I started at the post-graduate Master’s in Accountancy in Tilburg. Audit trainees at KPMG are expected to follow this three-year post-graduate Master’s program. I work from Monday to Thursday, and every Friday, I attend online lecture.”

I sometimes find the combination of studying, working full-time, and a social life tough

“For the time being, we follow all lectures and seminars from home. So you’re less involved with each other and that’s a pity. I would prefer to just study at the university on Fridays and sit in the lecture hall. Hopefully, that will be possible again in the near future.”

“I sometimes find the combination of studying, working full-time, and a social life tough. As a student, I had more free time. I try to plan my studies in the evenings as much as possible, so that I can really recharge for the new week at the weekend. That’s important to me and it’s really necessary. To relax I go to the gym, watch Formula 1 races, or meet up with friends.”

Future perspective

“Besides the fact that the work appealed to me, one of the considerations to go into accountancy was the big chance of finding a job. During my Bachelor’s, I also found marketing very interesting, but I didn’t want to go into that. The job guarantee and the future perspectives are just a little less. Within accountancy, that perspective is very good. Most of my fellow students have received various offers from accountancy firms.”

“A tip I would like to give students: go on an internship during your studies if that possibility exists. It’s a great opportunity to get to know a company and gain work experience. And it increases your chances in the job market considerably.”

Translated by Language Center, Riet Bettonviel

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