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The stage for ordinary life

Myrthe van der Burgt: “Meeting my thesis supervisor at the last minute”

“It was a very strange way to end my studies, which were a bit of a disappointment after a year and a half of coronavirus. During a gap year, I had found an internship at FoodforCare, which ended when the pandemic began in spring 2020. I began my Master’s programme in September of that year, and it ended in June of the following year with the defence of my thesis.”

“The supervision was online throughout my entire thesis period, but thanks to the considerable involvement of my supervisor, it still went well. My supervisor was Koen van den Oever, who supported all the students who were finishing their programmes with him very well. He was involved and was always quick to respond when there was a problem. It was partly thanks to him that I was able to graduate in a reasonably normal way, and it was quite extraordinary to meet him in person for the first time at the defence, after so many meetings via Zoom. Fortunately, by the summer of 2021, a bit more was possible. I was able to bring four people with me, and we had a small celebration in the city. All in all, the pandemic was not so bad, also thanks to my great housemates.”

“The day I submitted my thesis, I also signed my first employment contract. I went to work as a sort of trainee for IBC Ambition, a company that sends out experts to assist companies with management issues. I went to work for Lightspeed, on an assignment in the HR field. It was a leap of faith; I hadn’t even been to the office once. And starting a career like that is very difficult, especially for someone like me for whom social contact is so important. The advantage of the pandemic is that before I started work I had a whole series of conversations with people at different companies. During those talks, it became increasingly clear to me what I really wanted and what I could do. You can have a lot more conversations via Zoom instead of going back and forth to one of those companies every time. But you do get a better feeling from a live conversation.”

“Another special thing to me in 2021 was the Nijmegen Career Event, organised by study associations Synergy and ‘de ESV’. I chaired that organisation, and initially we were aiming for an event at the end of 2020. That was postponed to February, and it still had to move online. It was a real hassle to connect all those companies online for two days, to make contacts possible, and at the same time to deliver an extensive lunch package to every participant at home during the event. I learned a tremendous amount from that. Perseverance was something I thought I had, and now I know it for sure. And that is what we really need in these times.”

Myrthe van der Burgt (Overloon, 1998) | Graduated in June 2021 from Business Administration (Strategic Management) | Joined IBC Ambition in September 2021 | The Nijmegen Career Event is an annual event organised by Synergy and de ESV, study associations for Business Administration and Economics.