The time has come to introduce a new segment on the Estimator: Ask an Alumnus! In this rubric the Estimator interviews different alumni about their study years, FAECTOR and life after their studies. This first episode kicks off with alumnus Remco Mol, former president of the 46th board of FAECTOR (then still called 'Econometrisch Dispuut'). He finished his high school when he only was 16 and by the time he had a bachelor in mathematics and computer science in his pocket he only was 18. At the age of 23, Remco also had an additional bachelor in Econometrics, master in Quantitative Finance, master in Mathematical Sciences and a board year on his CV. Let's start with asking this Alumnus all our burning questions!
Why did you do three bachelors?
Initially I was just interested in doing Mathematics. During orientation, I learned that Utrecht offered a double degree together with Computer Science. I felt it would be more challenging and practical than Mathematics alone, so that’s where I went.
I wanted to go to Rotterdam, being a very entrepreneurial student city. Econometrics was a good fit.
Econometrics came later, after I had graduated my first two bachelors. At that point I was looking to get more involved in student life, maybe start my own company. I wanted to go to Rotterdam, being a very entrepreneurial student city. Econometrics was a good fit.
Why did you finish the first two bachelors in your first two years?
Because it was an amazing challenge. At the time, I was also trying to make a statement. Statements are less important now, but it has helped me throughout my career so far.
What do you do now?
I work as a Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a consulting firm providing strategic advice to top executives in large corporates and government. As a consultant, I independently lead parts of strategic engagements, gather data, conduct analysis and compile recommendations. I also conduct presentations and conduct meetings with clients. It’s very varied, and gets me involved in exciting projects!
What is working in a team as ambitious and driven as a board like?
An amazing experience! The positive energy within our board and our committees made FAECTOR a very rewarding place to be. We were all invested in leaving the association in an even better place than we found it at the start of the year.
Did you acquire any skills and how do you use those in your work (at BCG)?
The most important skills I picked up during my board year were relationship management, time management and presentation skills. These skills are all critical to my work today. In hindsight, it’s not strange that companies value a full-time board year so highly.
How do you think FAECTOR has evolved in the last couple of years?
FAECTOR’s strengths have always been being approachable, open and fun. Maintaining this culture with our larger size is a huge achievement.
When I left FAECTOR, it was a smaller organization than it is now. The international bachelor had just started a week before. BSc2 existed only on paper. There was also no Econometric Career Days, no Business Trip. We’ve grown quite a bit, and have started to adjust our career events to our larger size. A strong new board can build further upon these efforts.
Additionally, I’m impressed we kept the same positive atmosphere. FAECTOR’s strengths have always been being approachable, open and fun. Maintaining this culture with our larger size is a huge achievement.
Are you still in contact with some of your old board members?
Definitely. Though I travel quite a bit, I try to look them up whenever I’m in the Netherlands again. Additionally, I’m glad to say they sometimes look me up when I’m abroad as well. Last summer we were in Madrid, and I’m looking forward to meeting them in Paris this year. We’re all very busy, but we do try to make time for each other.
What do you remember most about your board year?
My greatest value was in leveraging everyone else’s strengths to build something beautiful. It’s about uniting people towards a goal. It’s the same approach I take to work today.
The people and how rewarding it can be to work together towards a common goal. As president I got to meet a lot of ambitious people, some of which are still close friends today. I’ve met many of our members, faculty, boards of different associations and contractors. As president, my greatest value was in leveraging everyone else’s strengths to build something beautiful. It’s about uniting people towards a goal. It’s the same approach I take to work today.
On the other side, being the president also means being ultimately responsible for the association. This sometimes requires tough, high-stakes choices. There was also a certain bottle of 90%+ triple-distilled rum I would rather forget – but I refuse to regret anything.
Did you start working directly after finishing your master?
Yes. I had spent six and a half years at various universities so it felt like the right time to start adding some value to society.
Do you work with fellow econometricians?
Sometimes, but it’s quite rare. One of the things I enjoy about BCG is working in teams of young, highly motivated people with strongly diverse backgrounds. My last team consisted of a physicist, mathematician, electrical engineer and two university college graduates. Due to these diverse backgrounds, individual skillsets complement each other and we can approach organizational challenges from different angles. This results in stronger recommendations.
How did you combine studying and being president of FAECTOR (Econometrisch Dispuut) at that time?
I would recommend everyone to see [a board year] as an investment – it will pay off in the long run.
I only did my bachelor’s thesis. I believe the FAECTOR board is best experienced as a full-time position. A board year is about working hard towards making the association better, making connections, learning new skills. Giving only a partial commitment reduces these learnings, reduces the bond with your board, reduces the quality of the connections you make. I would recommend everyone to see it as an investment – it will pay off in the long run.
Are you still studying anything or following extra courses right now?
I’m currently pursuing an MBA degree at INSEAD (#1 MBA worldwide according to Financial Times), fully sponsored by BCG. In parallel I’m doing some work on a startup right now. Honestly it feels like a bit of a holiday– I look forward to rejoining BCG fully in January 2018!