Rob Berentsen, Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting, the Netherlands.
Could you give a quick overview of your professional career after you graduated?
After finishing my studies at the Judicial Information Service (via Deloitte), I joined Deloitte in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. I graduated on a Friday and moved to Soest on the Saturday in order to have a place nearer to the office. On Monday, my first day at the office, I was given a company car.
At Deloitte, juniors always start out as a Business Analyst, and so did I. After two years of that, I became a consultant. Another three years later, I was a senior consultant. My first assignment was a shared services centre for various Frisian municipalities; it focused mainly on infrastructure, not exactly a field I had covered at university. My experiences at Studenten Net Twente came in very handy at this point, as I had really had far more exposure to technology at the University of Twente than I realized before. After that project, I was involved in the merger that resulted in the launch of Ziggo, as a junior architect. I conducted interviews throughout the organization and used them to draw numerous Architecture A3 overviews. I also helped to design an architecture modelling tool.
After almost two years at Ziggo, I started working for the Netherlands Judiciary. They are facing a major digitalization challenge, which matched well with my expertise. At the moment I am still working there in several different roles, ranging from technical lead and project architect to solution architect for some architectural areas. This last role, which is my current one, is the one I have enjoyed most so far. As a solution architect, you have a wider range of responsibilities than you do as a project architect; you look beyond the various projects and plan for the future. You provide the projects with architectural platforms they can implement in order to contribute to the reference (target) architecture.
Looking back at your career thus far, what are you most proud of?
What I am most proud of is the fact that I have been able to fulfil different roles in a short amount of time, which has enabled me to learn a lot. It has also helped me determine what I do or don't like about a position. That has given me a clearer idea of the direction in which I want to grow and of what I want to do.
Have you become what you thought you would?
When I was studying Industrial Engineering and Management (IEM), I knew I was being prepared to be a linking pin between various professionals, and that I really had to learn the language of both technical specialists and management, and/or the business. It really has worked out that way: my job, basically, is all about connecting programmers, other (IT) professionals, management and business representatives, such as lawyers and Registry staff.
What was your experience of studying at the UT like?
I moved to the campus after almost a year and settled at Matenweg 30-klein. I really enjoyed it there – the relaxing summers, the friendly environment and the super-fast Internet! I have some really great memories of that period. I especially liked the convenience of the campus, with all the facilities at hand. For example, I practiced taekwondo (Arashi), and for a few years I was active in the administration at SNT. And all of it was so close to home. I managed to keep up with my studies without too much trouble - if I spent the week before exams cramming, I usually got through. That way I always had enough time left over for part-time jobs, sports, relaxing and geeking out.
How does the knowledge you gained during your studies match with your current work?
During my first few years on the job, I regularly asked myself what difference my years at university had really made. I am not an expert who can create specific things, like a programmer who writes code, a designer who creates elaborate designs or a judge who sees the connecting thread and comes to a conclusion during a court hearing. However, I have come to appreciate the fact that I have learned to speak everyone’s language and can translate the essence of one person’s perspective to another person. Studying at the University of Twente also equipped me with a thorough way of reasoning and a technical (management) background. I am convinced my studies, as well as my time at SNT, provided me with these skills.