During the sixth edition of BCe’s Board Day, vice-president Nicole Ummelen walks onto the stage to deliver her opening speech. She talks to the audience members – all of whom are active on a student board – about some of the special experiences she had while serving on TU/e’s Executive Board during the past ten years. She remembers the first time a couple of timid students attended a board meeting to ask for financing, how they came back several months later and presented a more founded plan after their initial request was rejected, how that resulted in Solar Team Eindhoven and eventually into the launch of startup Lightyear.
She also talks about the recent occupation of the board room by members of University Rebellions and End Fossil Occupy. “A board should always talk to people who don’t live in the same bubble. It’s enriching even. I want to make it clear how important it is to listen to people who think differently than you do.”
She points out that the protesters basically have the same goal as the organizers of this meeting. Today’s theme is ‘Own your future and embrace sustainability.’ The aim is to provide students with tools that will come in handy while serving on a board. Another goal is to come into contact with potential employers.
Young employees of five companies – mostly TU/e alumni – give workshops to board members of various student teams and associations, including URE and student hockey association Don Quishoot. Shell holds a brainstorming session titled From Paris (where the climate agreement was signed, ed.) to Pernis (where Shell’s refinery is located, ed.). Consultancy team Strategy& has the students act out a game in pairs that will improve their negotiating skills, and Gupta Strategists (a consultancy firm for organizations in the healthcare sector, ed.) uses the workshop to provide trainings on the pyramid principle (link in Dutch). “This is a great way to structure problems or reports,” alumnus Sven Roelfs says. “I think that this meeting is of value to both sides. We provide the students with information that will be beneficial to them during their careers, and we get the opportunity to present our company to them.”
Fourth-year Industrial Design students Rowan Griffioen and Floor Nolet, both of whom serve on the board of Integrand, are among the participants of Board Day. Griffioen is also a working student at Lightyear, and is surprised to learn that consultancy agency Deloitte was involved with the company’s startup phase. Nolet followed a workshop by McKinsey & Company. “I learned that you shouldn’t immediately start looking for solutions when you run into a problem. It’s better to subdivide it into smaller problems first, to analyze them step by step, and then to work towards a concrete solution.” She definitely plans to apply this method during Integrand’s upcoming weekly meeting.