FAECTOR Research Project 2019/2020

The FAECTOR Research Project is one of FAECTOR’s biggest educational projects: it enables a group of students to do an internship during the minor period and go on a three-week trip abroad the summer after, paid from the money earned during this internship. Working full-time at a company for eight weeks is quite different from normal student life of course, which is why we asked members of the FRP committee to tell us something about their experiences.
Willemijn Ouwersloot, Chairman
At which company did you do your internship?
I did my internship at T-Mobile, which is one of the biggest providers of telecommunication in the Netherlands.
Where is the company located and how long was your travel time?
The headquarters of T-Mobile Nederland are situated in Den Haag, right next to the train station Den Haag HS. This was pretty convenient for me, since I had to go to the office by train. It only took me 19 minutes to get from Rotterdam CS to Den Haag HS.
Which econometric and programming techniques have you been using for the project?
I used both linear and nonlinear regression for my project. Furthermore, I had to use R during my internship to implement the models that I had constructed. The project was also entirely done by me. 
How did you enjoy working full-time for eight weeks?
When you’re used to only having a few hours of lectures on every day and suddenly you have to work from 9 am to 5 pm, that takes some time getting used to. That said, once I was used to working full-time, it was actually quite relaxing. Most of the time when you get off work, you are really done for the day. So you don’t have to think about whether there is something that you still need to do. 
How is the atmosphere at the company?
I had a lot of fun while working at T-Mobile! First of all, everyone is super friendly: if I had a question about something, I could always ask it. The employees also showed a lot of interest in what I was doing and if everything was going okay. During lunch, the whole department would go down to the cafeteria together for lunch break. And if you were a little tired of working all day and you needed a quick break, no problem: there’s a ping pong table where you can play for a while. 
Of course, after a week of working really hard, it’s time to relax a little bit after work on Friday and discuss the week over a few drinks. However, nowadays a lot of people take time off on Fridays, but of course they shouldn’t be left out of the fun: going for a few drinks after work on Thursdays as well is a suitable solution and occurred a few times. 
Does the trip you’ll be going on next summer serve as an extra motivation?
If you’re doing an internship at a company and you’re performing your own research, you want to have something to show for it at the end. For me, that was mostly the motivation to work hard: I wanted to be able to present some findings that I was proud of to the company. That said, if you’re working a full-time job, there are times when you’re really looking forward to a vacation. Then the FRP trip is certainly not a bad thing to be looking forward to ;).
Bart Dubbeldam, Treasurer
Being part of the FRP committee gave me the chance to choose the internship which I thought would fit me best. I chose IQVIA because of the following reasons. Firstly, because IQVIA is a large company (approximately 58000 employees worldwide and a market value of 20.3 billion euros) and I wanted to experience what it was like to work in such a big firm. Secondly, IQVIA is a company that works in the health sector and has as slogan: 'Driving healthcare forward', the idea of working at a company that has a positive impact on society feels good as well. The only disadvantage is that IQVIA's office is located in Amsterdam so I had to travel 3 hours when I went to office. The good side of travelling that long every day is that you can read a lot (Reading tip: 'One flew over the cuckoos nest', a wonderful book).
Most likely you are interested in what IQVIA does. IQVIA provides a broad range of services to pharmaceutical companies. The services IQVIA provides vary from setting up clinical trials for getting a new medicine approved to creating a strategy for launching the newly approved medicine. My project involved creating a machine learning model that could classify whether patients had a certain derma indication or not. This could be used for example in determining how large the market for this derma indication is, so that IQVIA can make a more accurate approximation of how much the pharmaceutical company will earn.
Working on this project I had to do everything the real data scientists at IQVIA do for similar projects. I had to do online research to get an idea about the disease, extract data from there database, clean the data, and use this cleaned data to create models in Python. All under excellent guidance of two Iqvian data scientists, seeing their take on data problems was very educative.
Next to learning a lot about the practical side of econometrics, I also learnt that I prefer studying over working. I discovered that the freedom of creating my own schedule and hanging out whenever you want without important obligations the day after are quite valuable to me. But on the other hand, experiencing business life and working on a real world program which might actually be used was definitely worth giving up this freedom for 8 weeks.
Jill Langenberg, Secretary
Which company did you do your internship at?
De Volksbank, which is the driving force behind ASN bank, BLG Wonen, RegioBank and SNS. De Volksbank is a bank that offers simple retail products to the Dutch market in the field of non-maturity deposits, mortgages, loans and current accounts. De Volksbank has 3.2 million customers and a market share of ten percent on the Dutch savings market and six percent on the Dutch mortgage market. 
Where is the company located and how long was your travel time?
It is located in Utrecht, next to Central station. It took me 1 hour and 15 mins to get there.
Which econometric  and programming techniques have you been using for the project?
I used Matlab and SQL (I learned this language in the summer holiday). The techniques I used were linear regression and tobit. I worked on the project alone, but received a lot of help when needed from my colleagues.
How did you enjoy working full-time for eight weeks?
I really enjoyed doing my internship. I learnt a lot from these eight weeks and really got to know the business-lifestyle. I can’t wait to get back to the working field and apply my knowledge, but for now I still need to learn a lot.
How is the atmosphere at the company? 
The atmosphere was very “worky”. People were very serious about their jobs and worked hard every day. However, nobody was uptight or anything. They just wanted to get their job done and in the right way, but I was still able to ask all my questions. We always had a walk during our lunch break, in which we discussed all sorts of things, which where not work-related. The manager was usually sitting at our desks and sometimes we had a few philosophical conversations, which led to nice discussions.
Does the trip you’ll be going on next summer serve as an extra motivation?
No not really. I was already really motivated to work hard in my internship since I wanted to make myself proud and deliver good work. The trip is just (a very nice) extra.
Thanks to the FRP committee for giving us an insight into their internship period, we cannot wait to find out where the trip will be going! Are you interested in taking part in FRP next year or becoming part of the new FRP committee? Subscriptions are opening soon so keep an eye out!

About this article

Written by:
  • Laura Zwiers
  • Willemijn Ouwersloot
  • Bart Dubbeldam
  • Jill Langenberg
| Published on: Nov 22, 2019