Allard Altena is mentor: ‘Make use of other people’s work experience’
Alumnus Allard Altena (27) is mentor of the month. He worked at the Public Prosecution Service and is now a regulator at the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). He wants to share his broad experience with students and young alumni – you too perhaps?
Why did you register as a mentor?
‘I want to help students find their way in the job market. I graduated in 2012 with a degree in Criminal Law and Encylopedie en filosofie van het recht. As a former student, I know how important it is to become familiar with the practice, because in your studies you mainly learn the theory. It’s good if someone can tell you what a working day’s like and can give you a better idea of what exactly the work entails. It’s always good to discuss how to approach aspects of your career with a mentor. They may draw your attention to something you wouldn’t have thought of yourself. You often end up with better solutions.’
How did you become familiar with the practice?
‘I did several placements to find out what I wanted to do after graduation. My placements at the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, the Public Prosecution Service and an NGO, gave me a better idea of what I wanted to do. I’ve now supervised students on placement myself, and once more see how useful a placement is, because you learn so much more. Law students often consider the legal profession, but there is so much more you can do with this degree.’
What has your career been like so far?
‘I started out as parketsecretaris at the Public Prosecution Service. The parketsecretaris prepares criminal proceedings for a public prosecutor. Then I moved on to a position as policy advisor, also at the Public Prosecution Service. Now I’m a regulator at the AFM. Legal work gives me energy, delving into a case and getting the best out of it. In my free time I’m an external PhD candidate and am working on research on the relationship between government and parliament. So I can also tell people what it’s like to conduct PhD research. I would advise students to take a good look in the mentor file and to make use of other people’s work experience. Who knows, perhaps you might end up contacting me!