My name is Erik Klein Geltink, a former Erasmus University student and one of the Mendix employees who started with an internship and received a job offer after graduating. I started in October last year as a Business Engineer, and in the three months I’ve been here I have learned a lot already. In this blog I will explain how I got interested in technology, how I met Mendix at the right moment, and talk about my deliberate choice to look for a job at Mendix as an alternative to the big corporations that are popular among job seeking students.
The Road to Mendix
As most young students, I did not know exactly what I was looking for in a future job. This changed when I discovered that I often use technology to find smarter, easier, and more efficient ways to challenge everyday tasks. One example is a simple remote control to regulate the lights in my room. Another is the more complex implementation of a financial tool that alerted me when debtors were at risk of not paying me back when I was the treasurer of a student association.
That’s when I decided to focus on courses with a technological orientation. These courses showed me the emergence of technology. Just like for our daily lives, technology is an enabler for smarter, easier, and more efficient ways of working in all business fields. So it was not surprising that I decided to go for the most technical Master I could obtain with my Business Administration background. The Master Business Information Management at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam opened my eyes by showing the importance of understanding and optimizing the intersection of business strategy and information technology. One of the courses showed that the number one concern of CIOs was ‘the alignment of Business and IT’, while the runner-up was ‘speed of IT delivery.’
This is where I met Mendix, when co-founder Roald Kruit hosted a guest lecture that also covered a solution for the CIO concerns mentioned above. I was impressed with his take on the solutions for the concerns and emailed the company to ask if there were opportunities for an internship. Two months later I started my six-month thesis internship. This confirmed that the CIO concerns are real; a lot of companies out there are using Mendix to overcome the struggle of business and IT alignment, as well as to increase the speed of their IT delivery. The fact that Mendix is one of the leaders with a mature solution for real and urgent problems is one of the reasons I decided to apply for a job at Mendix. Read on to learn about my other reasons.
The Buzzwords: Traineeship and Consultant
The internship and my Masters made me seriously think about my future job. I was not the only one, because the conversations with fellow students were often about jobs that we might like. The two words that kept popping up in these conversations were traineeship and consultant. Somehow, these are popular buzzwords among students and some companies take advantage of that. I realized this when I saw a vacancy of a start-up that advertised with a traineeship. I saw this as a trick to attract students, because the content was nothing like a traineeship, which normally provides a structured work and training program for highly educated starters. This made me aware of the fact that I should double check the content of a traineeship and shouldn’t pick one just because it sounds cool.
I was also unsure about the reason for doing a traineeship. People around me had reasons like “I will learn the most from a traineeship,” or “I think it is valuable to see several aspects of a company.” To me this sounded like they wanted an extension of their studies because they didn’t know what to do. I rarely heard the better reasons like “I want to be a future manager and I fully agree with the vision of the company.”
The same reasoning applies to a consultant role. I had to make sure the reason to apply for a consultant role suited me well and that the content of the job was interesting. For example, was I really going to make a difference and do I have responsibilities from the beginning or will I build Excel sheets and align pictures in a slide deck until midnight for the next two years? This is a gushy example of course.
Why I Wanted to Be a Business Engineer
The first reason is that I can use technology to provide smarter, easier and more efficient ways of working for companies to engage their employees, and get closer to customers or optimize internal processes. The second reason is that it is not a standard career route, since Mendix is a fast-growing company which might create interesting opportunities while at the same time being small enough to not be treated as a number.
Being a Business Engineer
I am learning a technology without the need for a deep technical background, have responsibilities right from the start, and can directly add value to projects. This enables me to make a difference when I am at a customer, instead of waiting for two years to see the results of my work. All these things combined are very motivating, and to me these are not all empty promises, because it worked out in my first three months already! I started my first project where I was partly responsible for the agile project management, which contributed a lot to my progress in Model Driven Software Development, and in the end successfully delivered the project. I also earned my Professional Scrum Master certification during this time.
Find Your Future Job
Are you an Erasmus University student? Visit our company page for the Erasmus Recruitment Days and see the activities you can subscribe to.
For everyone else, visit our website and join our team by applying for a position or internship. And you are always welcome to contact our recruitment team or contact me via LinkidIn if you have any questions after reading this blog.