SECTOR

A week in the life of Thijs Talsma

Thijs Talsma
24 February 2020
A week in the life of...

A sample from the life of Thijs Talsma, proud Kraketter, analyst at Zanders and Master’s student.

Hi everyone, very nice to see that you are so interested in reading about this little story called, ‘A week in the life of Thijs Talsma’. At first, when the lovely SECTOR committee asked me to do this, I was really wondering what would be so special about my life. Although I still haven’t found out exactly why I am of course really excited to let you know a little more about my life as a Master Financial Econometrics student, that does the “impossible” thing (according to multiple professors on the Econometrics department at the VU), namely combining it with a part-time job at Zanders, doing two committees at Kraket, training for a half marathon, having a girlfriend and trying to have a social life as well.

Combining studying with a part-time job at Zanders, doing two committees at Kraket, training for a half marathon, having a girlfriend and trying to have a social life as well.

The latter enumeration is, of course, a little exaggeration of the chaos that is also known as my life, but I’m pretty certain that I try my best to balance out all the points that I discussed there. Just with the simple reason that each one of them gives me a lot of satisfaction and I am very lucky that I can do all those things. To elaborate on that, I have tried my best to describe my experiences during one of those busy weeks.

Monday
Most of the time, my week starts with a very early one. At 6:45 my alarm goes off... It is time to work! I’m currently working as an Analyst at a consultancy firm named Zanders, where I started working one year ago after my year as a board member of Kraket ended. I’ve always stayed in contact with this very fun but also knowledgeable employer. Straight away when I first got to know Zanders, I’ve had a very good feeling about the people working there and the things they do. And now, almost two years later, I’m working here two days a week.

When I finally arrived at around 8:30 in Bussum, I like to start off with the typical ‘working at the office routine’, drinking some coffee, read my e-mail and briefly chat with my colleagues about the “crazy” weekends we’ve all had. After all the chit chat, I start working on my projects. Currently, I am working on a pricing model for the tooling platform of Zanders. It is a very interesting project, where I learn all the ins and outs of multiple risk premia and other credit risk-related terms. It is very motivating to do these kinds of projects as I’ve learned a lot in a very short amount of time. I’m very certain that I have not experienced such a steep learning curve during my time as an econometrics student.

After a delicious sandwich from “De Smaakengel” during lunch, a lot of Python programming and also some calls with my colleagues, it is time to go home to my lovely room at Uilenstede. I usually like to cook, but after a long day of work I’m not always that eager to cook, so I always hope to eat together with my girlfriend or some housemates to try to avoid that part. Eventually, I will end my day by just chilling and not doing much.

Tuesday
This day I consider my sporting and studying day. I most likely start with running a 10-kilometer round through the Amsterdamse Bos. As my board year has been very fun, but also weight gaining, I have set myself a goal to sport on a more regular basis. Thereafter, the brilliant idea came, to run the half marathon of Egmond in January. Luckily, I can now confirm that I made it through the complete 21-kilometer!

The halfway point of the working week is always more of a ‘Kraket-day’

When I completed my run, it is time to follow my classes of the day. I think it has been a habit to lag behind the study materials, so it is always a challenge to keep up with the lecturers. However, with some perseverance, it is always possible to make it to the finish line and pass the exams. Besides, I’ve been very lucky with the teammates for my assignment groups, which makes it a lot easier to stay motivated to keep on studying. As the financial econometrics master has a lot of deadlines, it is also necessary to keep up-to-date with the study materials at all times. As the lectures most often are planned throughout the day and in the between time it is important to work on the projects, it does not leave much time for some self-studying. So, in the evening, I really need to do some additional studying. Although I try to study as much as possible, I am very certain that I am not doing it sufficiently. Therefore, it is a serious challenge to make it more of a habit to study consistently across the whole week.

Wednesday
The halfway point of the working week is always more of a ‘Kraket-day’. I probably wake up early to go to the 9.00 lectures and be studying again. However, I also need to do something else that I’ve been really passionate about for the past year, the Almanac! As the committee exists mostly of very busy people, it is always a challenge to find a moment to get together. However, we always manage to create a little timeslot in the agendas and discuss all the ideas we’ve had and, eventually, design them and turn them into fun articles. It has been a long journey to establish a book that represents the past 2,5 years at Kraket in the best way possible. But, with a lot of effort, planning and hard work, we are very happy to show this ‘piece of art’ to the rest of Kraket. So, if you have nothing to do on Tuesday 25 February at 17:00, join the hand-out drink in the Ebeling!

Thursday
Before you know it, it is Thursday, which begins once again with a refreshing run through the Amsterdamse Bos. After I faced the freezing winter cold, it is time to get to the important things of today. As I will have some lectures, I will spend my time mostly on the VU. The assignments are definitely taking up a lot of time and with the study materials piling up it is definitely needed to keep on studying. As a break, it is always nice to play some darts in the Kraket room or drink some coffee. Furthermore, a little time needs to be made to read through the minutes of the Kraket board, which is part of my job as a member of the supervisory board of Kraket. I really like doing this, as it is an easy way to stay active within Kraket together with some lovely fellow supervisory board members.

After my day spent at the VU, it is time for some socializing. It often does not matter with whom I will do something during these moments, but most of the time it involves eating and drinking some beers. In the case that I am not meeting with friends, I like to spend my time with my girlfriend. 

It is definitely nice to see that you are part of the team and invited to attend many meetings, mainly for learning purposes.

Friday
And then, thank god it’s Friday! The weekend is in sight, but first, it is time to work. As the office is very busy on Friday, it is very convenient to be there early to get a good working spot (you’ve got to love flex working). I like to take the train at 7:20, so I will definitely be one of the first at the office. In the case of the last Friday of the month, this day only exists of a department meeting, project gathering, coffee breaks, and the very import analyst update session. In the department meeting, we get updated about all the ins and outs of the company and will the upcoming projects be discussed within the Financial Institutions department. As everyone works at the office on this day, it is the best day to plan all your meetings. However, it doesn’t make you work very effectively on your own project. As a working student, it is not really demanded from you that you have very tight deadlines. However, it is always good to work as fast as possible. It is definitely nice to see that you are part of the team and invited to attend many meetings, mainly for learning purposes.

At the end of the day, it is time for the fun part of the day, the drinks! It is always nice to have some nice conversations with all the colleagues and with that in mind, there is a great attendance at these drinks. Besides the drinks, some additional activities are also planned during the year. Some things I have joined the past years are an open water survival training, a tennis competition, a full-on gala in a castle in Limburg and maybe the yearly cherry on top, the Zanders trip. This trip is held yearly, and no one knows where the trip will go to. However, one thing is certain, it promises to be an amazing weekend!

Saturday & Sunday
The end of the week is mostly about going back home to Limmen and spend some time with my family and my girlfriend’s family. Besides, I try to meet with my friends from high school and do something together. However, as everyone is studying and living somewhere else it is not always easy to plan these kinds of things. Oh and well, I still am an econometrics student, so probably some deadline is coming up...

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