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Student Marie Weijler on Forbes 30 Under 30 list: 'Be proactive!'

Master student Marie Weijler is included in the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Besides her studies, she also works full-time. How does she combine this and how did she also manage to get on the Forbes list?

Marie (27) is a student on the master's programme Ondernemingsrecht (Business Law) at Leiden University and also has a job at Principal, 'an international network of more than 1500 wealthy families and venture capital companies. We introduce investment projects to our members, such as funds and unlisted companies', she explains. 'After completing my bachelor’s degree at Leiden University I went on to do a master's degree in Leuven. I was looking for a part-time job to help fund my studies and I came in contact with Principal. So I started as a working student and after graduating I was offered a permanent position.' She is mainly involved with expanding the customer base and sourcing companies to invest in.


She combines working and studying mainly for financial reasons. 'My parents unfortunately are unable to support me financially so I am paying for everything myself. Because it is hard combining a busy job with studying for a degree, I want to graduate as quickly as possible. I'm just going to give it a go, and if I end up with a delay in completing the programme so be it. I'll just see how far I get.' She is pleased her employer is flexible. 'I can attend lectures during the day as long as I catch up on the missed hours at a different time.' All this, however, is at the expense of her social life. 'I don’t see my friends a lot, have no time for sports or for being a member of a student society. During the day I work, and in the evenings and at the weekend I am busy with my studies. My holidays are used for doing exams and writing my thesis.'

On Tuesday she heard that American business magazine Forbes had included her in the list 30 Under 30 Europe, in the category Finance. The 30 Under 30 list is made up of the thirty most influential talents in the business world. Until now, no one from the Netherlands had been included in this list. So how did she manage that?

In December she was told that she was on the shortlist. After that it was just a question of waiting.

'Two of my acquaintances had also been on the list. I was very impressed by this and asked them how they had done it. One had been noticed by Forbes, the other had put his own name forward. Every autumn there is a period when you can nominate yourself or someone else. I put myself forward and included statements of support from eight investors and high-profile business women. At least three people have to support your nomination, preferably people occupying an important position in your field of work. In December I heard that I was on the shortlist. I had to answer no fewer than 42 questions and submit a photo. Then it was a question of waiting until the list was revealed.'

In the 30 Under 30 lists in other categories this year, such as Food & Drink, Education and Games, a total of eleven Dutch people have been included. What’s Marie’s golden tip for students wanting to get on the Forbes list? 'Be proactive, take the initiative! When it comes to your studies, an internship or your first full-time job: don’t wait till someone else notices you; introduce yourself to people. It is also important to be aware of another person's interests: you can only be successful if you help others to be successful. When I enter into a partnership, I am not so much thinking about my own interests, but about what the benefit will be for the other party in working with our company.'

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