Meet our alumni

Harald Swinkels - Alumnus

Harald Swinkels - Graduated in 2004

Erasmus School of Economics will provide you with the foundation you need to start with confidence.
Erasmus School of Economics will provide you with the foundation you need to start with confidence.

I moved to Rotterdam from a small town in North Limburg in 1993. I started out as an Econometrics student. Later on, I switched to the Business Economics programme at Erasmus School of Economics. As can be gathered from my year of graduation, it took me a respectable 11 years to obtain my degree. Fortunately, this was not – or rather, not only – due to my enjoying student life to the full. Rather, my activities in this period have had an impact on my life to this very day: I actually launched my career as an entrepreneur while I was still a student.

I thank my time in the Econometrics programme (of which I only rounded off the first year) for my special interest in data analysis. It has allowed me to set up the specific, data-driven operational management structure that – in my humble opinion – is vital for an organisation that serves such a large number of customers as NLE. Nevertheless, I remember feeling somewhat frustrated by econometrists’ attempts to capture psychological processes in an abstract formula – with disruptive effect. Because that was my key ‘take-away’ from the degree programme that I did round off eventually: that human behaviour – which generally speaking cannot be considered rational – plays a crucial role in day-to-day economics.

I became a member of the student association Rotterdamsch Studenten Corps (RSC) in the very first year of my studies. It marked the start of a terrific period in my life. I cherish the memory of the countless hours I spent flat out on the couch in my student house – which has long since been declared unfit for habitation. It prepared me for the period that followed, in which there would be no more opportunity to slack off.

After graduating, I have always stayed in touch with Professor Willem Verbeke, who was my thesis supervisor. When he invited me to lecture in his Sales Leadership programme at the EUR-affiliated Institute for Sales and Account Management a few years ago, I didn’t think twice. It’s wonderful to be able to share my own experiences in a setting so familiar to me.

And finally, for those existing and prospective students reading these testimonials who are considering going into business during or after their studies: don’t hesitate. I can sincerely recommend it. Erasmus School of Economics will provide you with the foundation you need to start with confidence – just like I did. And, stay ‘Rotterdam’ about it: don’t take yourself too seriously…

Erasmus School of Economics will provide you with the foundation you need to start with confidence

 

 

Harald Swinkels

Graduated in 2004

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