Martijn Ophof (27) participated in the 2016 FSA Research Project (RP) in Indonesia and currently works for HEINEKEN as Brand Manager for the Heineken® brand in the Netherlands. The FSA Research Project focuses on (Dutch) companies who want to expand their business to/in upcoming economies and provides strategic and tailor-made solutions for organizations of all sizes. For the 25th consecutive year, a group of eighteen highly motivated and ambitious students is bound for a country with an upcoming economy to research business opportunities for (Dutch) organizations. The country of choice for 2021 is Taiwan.
In the summer of 2017, I was a participant in the research project of the Financial Study Association Amsterdam. I was fortunate to travel with a group of 18 fellow students to India. During a period of six weeks we conducted research on behalf of nine Dutch companies. The purpose of the research was mostly based on discovering possibilities for business collaboration with Indian based companies. Besides the amazing culture, fantastic food, and beautiful Indian people, the research project was an unforgettable and valuable experience and today a memory.
During the preparations of the research project, I learned how important it is to have a clear and fact based story to inform and inspire potential participative organizations. Thereby, it was a big learning to examine the challenges of organizations and to link potential solutions to business and labour possibilities in India. Engaging clients is not about the students aim to travel and experience India, but it is about the challenge of the organizations. To gain trust and permission of these organisations…
In my period at RP I learned the most from working in a (large) team. Working towards a final goal with 18 men is a bit different than with 2 or 5 men. It ensures that you have to take all 18 into account, that you have to try to understand and listen to everyone. You can’t be selfish and only do things the way you think you should, the whole team has to get behind it. In addition, it is a nice combination of building friendships on the one hand (with all the fun activities that come with it) and really learning something and creating something beautiful. The agreements with companies themselves were also very educational. It is a certain skill (sales) that you develop when you start pitching at companies RP, whether that is by telephone or at a later stage at the office.
The FSA Research Project has been a very valuable part of my career path. Through this project I also grew multiple skills that I am still benefiting from now. During the acquisition phase I got to know multiple companies in various industries, which broadened my horizon, network and knowledge on which direction I wanted to go after my studies. Afterwards, when working in a team abroad for a company, either small or big, you learn the various facets of consultancy while taking the fruits of being a student. These facets range from problem solving-, presentation-, and management skills to intensive collaboration. And last but not least, it is of course a fantastic opportunity to get to know a group of other ambitious students and have an unforgettable period in a unknown country. I would definitely embrace this opportunity both as student as well as a company!
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