Interview: Boy van der Velden

Jasper van der Gaag
First year Bachelor student Economics and Business Economics.

Boy, please introduce yourself.

My name is Boy van der Velden and people may know me from my time as the secretary of Asset | Economics in the year of 2012-2013. Nowadays I am working at Local Express, a corporate start-up from PostNL in Amsterdam.


At PostNL you are Senior Project Leader for Local Express. What does Local Express aim to achieve?

At Local Express, new propositions for the delivery market are being tested. We are also in charge of the further development of the propositions to realise them as PostNL services. We are for instance doing an experiment in cooperation with Zalando. To further eliminate the threshold to online shopping we are testing the opportunity to set up a national returns-pick-up-service. We are currently creating a platform for this service to further improve the couch-to-couch experience. After all, people prefer being lazy to being tired and or course we want to enable our clients customers to offer a fully online premium experience.


What is the path you followed to your current position?

I first started working at PostNL because of a personal contact with Hein [Huiting, another hero from the 2012-2013 board]. I started with a business course that enabled me to enter the traineeship. I then started as communication advisor for the retail sector of PostNL. I’ve been working on the Local Express project lately and I am still happy to be doing so.


As you already mentioned you were secretary at Asset | Economics in the year 2012-2013. How does the experience gained from that period help you in your working activities nowadays?

I have noticed that a board year is a real ‘cv boost’, like they always say. During applications, it’s a very valuable factor. Companies appreciate people who have been active next to their study. As a board member you are proactive in committee work, which is a good practice for the project-based working culture present in many companies.  


What were valuable experiences during your board year? And what were difficult moments for you?

The Champions League trophy is something I will always remember, as well as all the Friday afternoon drinks. The atmosphere of Asset | Economics is very dynamic and welcome. There are constantly people walking in and out, which makes every day diverse. However, I wasn’t always so fond of the 9-5 working hours sitting down on a chair. The board of my year also gained an estimated cumulative 20 kilograms in our year, but that was worth it.


How did you cope with the transition from the flexible student life to the life of having a full time job?

This transition was rather challenging for me in my first job, initially. Especially the regularity that came with working for a company and office life was difficult. But after a few weeks, when you are getting more and more used to everything that comes with the new lifestyle. In my current job I am more flexible and more out in the field which makes it easier to plan my own hours. I am very content with my current function at PostNL.


Others used the phrase “work hard, play hard” to describe your character. What is your view on the balance between work and free time?

During my board year, the line between being serious and having fun was very thin at times. And I think this is a good thing. It is important to really enjoy your time, so you can focus on the serious things even better. Also at PostNL this is important I think it is valuable to be involved in internal activities outside of your work obligations and can even improve your productivity and development within the company. That is why I participated in the PostNL ski trip and was active as boardmember for Young PostNL where I was in charge of activities coordination last year. I had a lot of fun but it also stimulated the contact with people I work with, which I still benefit from. The people with whom you have the most fun also happen to be your best colleagues. That’s a valuable combination.


You ran a bar in Mallorca, which is not the regular job for academic students. Why?

True, I have been bar manager on the beautiful island of Mallorca. I initially didn’t do this with the idea of improving my ‘employability’ later, because I accidentally ended up there in the first place working the bar.  After two years I had to chance to run the bar with my own team from then on and I kept doing that until I graduated from my masters.  Mallorca has given me great memories for the rest of my life. But the experience I gained in management are also still helping me today.


To conclude the interview, we have some devilish dilemmas for you.

1. Netflix or cinema?

My girlfriend falls asleep in the cinema (and so do I), so I must go for Netflix.


2. HBO or University?

I did both so you can call me an experience expert. I don’t think I can make a choice as I found both very valuable. The entrepreneurial spirit of HBO is appealing, but I like the academic aspects at the University a lot too. So it’s the power of the combination.


3. Working for a boss or being self-employed?

Pulling my own plan is what I enjoy most. Luckily I have the opportunity to deploy this at PostNL as well.


4. Running a bar in Mallorca or working at PostNL?

It’s working at PostNL for me now. But I wouldn’t have missed my time abroad for the world.


5. Having a hangover at work or skipping a party?

If you had asked me the same question a few years ago, I would say “Liever te dik in de kist”. But that has shifted a little bit since I’m not a student anymore. Being hungover at work is not so wise, I discovered.


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