This year the exciting fourth edition of the yearly FAECTOR Excellence Programme took place. From January till June, a small selected group of highly ambitious and well-performing students followed an intensive course regarding one topic: Econometrics & Blockchain. Having been a participant in this year’s programme, I would like to give an idea of what these past few months have been like.
Excellence Programme: what does it entail?
The FAECTOR Excellence Programme takes place every year for a selected group of very motivated students who want to broaden their knowledge in a particular subject. The project allows pre-master, second and third year Econometrics and fourth year BSc2 students to participate. The sessions start in block 3 and end in block 5, and take place every week except for the exam weeks. A session can either be a lecture from an external party, a workshop (such as presenting or debating) or a company visit, and this year that all concerned the topic Econometrics & Blockchain.
So, what to do during this Programme?
The many lectures gave a good overview of Blockchain and its applications in different fields. We had lecturers coming from big companies like Shell, EY, De Nederlandsche Bank, Ortec Finance, and many more, which gave us extensive and compelling insights in their particular involvement in Blockchain. Especially the real life cases and different perspectives – is Blockchain always the best solution? - were very informative and made the topic less abstract. Whereas the topic was still a bit vague in the beginning, we slowly got acquainted with the technology and its idea throughout the weeks. Besides, we wrote one paper every block, which we presented in front of our group: presenting (and debating) were other valuable skills that we were able to train.
During the second presentation round, we became familiar with the Cryptokitties and Cryptozombies (who eat Cryptokitties as food, sad!) games. On another occasion, we attended a lecture by TNO about the dark web and cryptocurrencies; we were even encouraged to access the dark web ourselves and see what is on there to buy (a lot of weapons, fake ID cards and, shockingly, free Domino Pizza bonus points)! Moreover, we had a LinkedIn Workshop to improve our LinkedIn accounts and to be able to make optimal use of it (and to finally realize how not professional
we I still are am). Another lecture by Accenture gave us interesting cases, such as the backtracking of a bottle of an - of course, Italian – red wine using the concept of Blockchain. There is plenty more to mention, but undoubtedly interesting and educational highlights were the company visits…
Spread over the blocks, we visited Rabobank, Flow Traders and Milliman, which were all involved in Blockchain somehow. Besides the lectures and workshops that were given, we had the opportunity to socialize a lot and get insights in daily business life. During one of the visits, while enjoying some Scandinavian fish and red wine, we also found out other interesting things; for example, some courses we learn can even be used later on in our lives (Markov Processes!). Also, this woman who worked at Milliman obtained a Master’s degree in Logistics, but eventually ended up in an environment that is all but Logistics, which implied a lot is possible even after having chosen such a distinct direction. All in all, the company visits were a great bridge between university education and practical business life, and gave a good idea of what our own futures could look like.
Would you like to participate in next year’s FAECTOR Excellence Programme? This year the theme is Deep Learning. Applications are currently open!