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The BoFEB is also called ‘the economists class’ or, in Dutch, ‘het economenklasje’. The program is designed to train young students for a function as a policy officer for the Dutch government. It is composed of two parts: a training program and an internship. The program starts with half a year of training, both theoretical and practical. You get lectures about the Dutch health care, labor market, public finance, and financial economics. You also get to write policy documents, practicing how it is to work in the public sector. The program – and this is really nice – also includes a number of field trips, like the OECD in Paris, the Dutch Central bank, and a number of events, like the ‘Nederlandse Economendag’. You also learn a few practical skills: conversation skills, writing skills and presentation skills.
The half year of training is followed by an internship of half a year. The internship must have something to do with economics. You have a number of ministries to choose from, but the Ministry of Finance or Economic Affairs and Climate are the ‘usual suspects’. The economic departments of the Ministry for Health, Well-Being and Sports do take BoFEB trainees. My year includes BoFEB’ers going to BZK, BZ, and I&W. You can go for the interesting departments, like AFEP, BFB or ASEA. The nice thing about the BoFEB is that you often meet fellow BoFEB’ers.
Applying for the BoFEB consists of one main step. It starts with a letter and resume. The largest selection is made here already, and about half of the applicants who are invited for an interview are accepted. To be invited, you need to have sufficient grades. Internships are recommended but not mandatory. The interview itself is the hardest part and is done by Jan Donders with a colleague. He asks you do to a presentation and will proceed by asking you questions about economics. Personal motivation and skills are less important: you need to do your reading and know how fundamental and public economics work. This is harder than it seems. It’s important to be calm. The application also consists of an application for your internship;, however, the BoFEB has quite a good name, so many departments are happy to have you as an intern.