SECTOR

Diversity and Development Day - Is it worth the effort to change ourselves?

Sicco Kooiker
30 March 2020
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Experiences during the Diversity and Development Day

Everyone was expected to be at the Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam at 10.15 AM. After walking around a little I found the entrance of the skyscraper where the Tinbergen Institute is located. I had never been there before. It’s a very practical place for the Diversity and Development Day to be held. The day started off with a cup of coffee or tea, while we waited for the last few fellow Kraket members to arrive. Although the dress code was meant to be “smart casual”, a lot of us decided to wear a more formal outfit. I felt a little underdressed to be honest. 

The first activity started at 10.30. The group was split up. My group was able to participate in the “Enjoy taking responsibility” workshop of AIESEC. The other group had another workshop about work etiquettes, I believe. Although I think the workshop could be improved, the subject of the workshop was rather interesting. They stressed out the fact that it is important to take responsibility for your actions and they tried to show us that our ideals do not always match our actions. They tried to show us how we could change our habits. Personally, I thought the message of the workshop could be more drastic. Eating meat six instead of seven days a week or showering for nine instead of ten minutes is not going to make a lot of difference. I actually think that is a self-deceiving way of pleasing your own conscience.

The second activity was really interesting. The members of the DDD committee invited Zenz Technologies to give a presentation about cultural differences. Especially, looking at the globalisation, this was really useful. The Zenz founder gave us a lot of information. This interesting information in combination with his collaborative examples made the presentation a successful activity. In summary he told us it is important to keep in mind our own cultural oddities and maybe more important, be aware of the cultural differences of the people in front of you. For example, if you have a meeting with an Italian you should not be aroused by the fact they are late. Another example is to not disagree with a Korean manager in front of his employees, if you want to do business with him. Adapt yourself to the circumstances.

After the Zenz presentation our group listened to a presentation by Achmea. First they started of with a recruitment talk, after that someone else took over the imaginary microphone and taught us about diversity on the work floor. She showed us how people discriminate without even knowing. For example she told us that almost 90% of all employees of Achmea were white old men. She explained to us how this happened almost unnoticeable. She stressed out it was in everyone’s interest to change this. I was impressed how she objectively told us about these diversity problems without any judgement at all.

Before we could move on to the drinks, there was still one activity planned. Like last year there was a speed date event. All students were able to talk with the delegates from, Achmea, Building Blocks, FRISS, Willis Tower Watson and Zenz Technologies, for five minutes. In addition everyone had time to make or improve their LinkedIn profile and even get him/-herself a professional LinkedIn profile picture. This part definitely was a great addition to the Diversity and Development Day.

Finally after a long day we were able to relax with a drink in our hands. I had a great talk with the nice guys of Building Blocks. They really showed me there is a whole different world to discover with econometrics. The difference between theoretical and practical econometrics is unbelievable. 

I want to thank all the companies at the event for coming and helping us with our journey of becoming an econometrician. Besides that I want to sincerely thank the Diversity and Development Day committee for the great day. After a great day I went home fulfilled. In the end it’s our own responsibility, are you moving forward or are you falling behind?

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