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Alumni panel Crisis and Security Management: ‘Pursue a career you are truly passionate about’

On Thursday 19 October, the Crisis and Security Management master programme welcomed back six alumni, representing various graduation years, for an alumni panel. They now pursue diverse careers in both the private and public sectors and spoke about finding a job after graduating.

The panel consisted of Charon van der Ham (Crisis Coordinator for the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy), Gabor Puskas (Regional Security Analyst at Control Risks), Christina Efthimiadi (Crisis Communication Officer at Rabobank), Jet Boverhuis (Cyber Incident Response Coordinator at Northwave), Antoine Lomba (Press and Communications Assistant at the European Commission) and Eugenio Cavalieri (Senior Information Security Engineer at Amgen).

Consider the job market

When asked about finding the right job after graduating, the panellists emphasised that your first job does not have to be your final destination. Eugenio advised against feeling pressured to secure a dream job immediately: ‘Consider the market and consider what is needed.’ Christina echoed this sentiment, encouraging the students to not lose confidence during the search for a job, but to stay focused. Charon and Gabor added that your initial job should be a stepping stone, and once you gain a taste of the field you are working in, you can specialise within your role.

‘You should be able to identify missing pieces of the puzzle to prevent issues from escalating intro crises.’

Developing your skills

Christina and Gabor elaborated on the job search as an international student in The Netherlands, emphasising the value of language skills, as linguistic versality greatly enhances your profile: ‘For international students, learning Dutch could unlock numerous opportunities in The Netherlands.’

As the discussion moved beyond language skills, Gabor stressed the significance of having an analytical mindset and being able to see the bigger picture: ‘You should be able to identify missing pieces of the puzzle to prevent issues from escalating intro crises.’

Expanding your network

The panellists all emphasised the importance of expanding your network and gaining working experience during your studies. Eugenio advised the students not to rush through their master's degree, but to consider gaining hands-on experience through internships. Having such experience has proven to be beneficial during the search for a job. Antoine highlighted the importance of networking, particularly in places like the European Union: ‘Networking is what gets you anywhere in Brussels.’ He emphasised that being proactive and visible in the professional world is essential to succeed.

Besides developing your skills and expanding your network, the alumni advised the students to take their time and enjoy the student experience: ‘Use your free time to develop yourself, as it shapes your identity and interests, but most importantly, pursue a career you are truly passionate about.’

Prepared for the dynamic field

As a token of appreciation for their time, the panellists received disaster survival kits from Sanneke Kuipers, Professor of Crisis Governance, and Jeroen Wolbers, Associate Professor of Crisis Governance, symbolising their preparedness for the dynamic challenges of the crisis and security management field.

The alumni panel left current Crisis and Security Management students with a wealth of insights, encouraging them to develop their skills, embrace opportunities and savour the journey of personal and professional development in the field.

Text: Britt van den Berg

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