Board Blog: Secretary 2021

A look in the life of the Secretary of Asset | Marketing

At the time of writing this blog, I realized how quickly my board year went by, I think this is mainly due to the fact that as a board member, you are constantly learning new things and tackling problems caused by changing circumstances, which makes sure you don’t get bored, and time goes by fast.
I think that for me this was even more the case because of the way Corona affected my board year.
In this board blog I would like to give you some insight into what my function as secretary entailed, how I experienced my board year in general, and the impact corona has had on my board year.

Why I chose to do a board year at Asset | Marketing

After I finished my bachelor’s in International Business Administration, I was looking at starter functions to do after finishing my master’s, I was especially interested in doing a management traineeship at a big international company. With most of these functions, the company asked for management experience or that you already had done a board year before applying, this was the first reason for me to do a board year, I wanted to gain relevant experience, and the only way to get real management experience as a student is to join the board of an association.
Next to this there were a couple of areas that I wanted to improve on. One of these was planning, during my studies, I often noticed that I had difficulty planning well when working on group assignments or studying for a test, my main tactic seemed to be to procrastinate until the week before the exam, to then work until three at night for five days in a row. I knew that as a secretary I would have several tasks that I had to work on every week next to the general board tasks that every board member has. With such a workload, it would be impossible to rely on my old procrastination tactic, and that I would have to become more productive during my working hours.
Finally I had heard from other (old) board members that a board year at Asset is a lot of fun, and that they would recommend it to anyone because you get to meet a lot of new people and learn a lot.
With these reasons, it did not take me long to cut the cord and send in my application, and so far I have not regretted it for one moment.

What does a year as Secretary of the Board look like?

I get this question quite often, people often don’t know what keeps a secretary busy during the day, and this can also be quite hard to answer quickly, as the secretary has a very wide range of small tasks that must happen regularly, but I will try to make an overview of the function-specific tasks anyway!

First of all, you are responsible as a secretary for making minutes during the weekly board and policy meetings. In order to keep it clear for the rest of the board, I always write down who has to do which tasks for next meeting, doing this gives you a lot of insight into what the other people in your board are working on. However, don’t expect to spend all your time minuting though, the main moments that you have to make minutes are during the board meeting on Monday and the policy meeting on Friday, where you make plans with your board to achieve more long term targets. The benefit of this is that every week after the meeting on Monday, you already have a general idea of how busy you will be that week, which teaches you to plan well.

Additionally you are responsible for managing the website of Asset | Marketing, this means you have to create new webpages and events on the website, as well as updating existing ones. Working with the website is quite fun, especially as it takes a bit of getting used to, but you notice you get better at it overtime as you explore more complicated possibilities that the backend of the website offers you. It is important to note that to work on the website, you don’t need to do any coding, so you can start without any prior knowledge.
This is also a part of the secretary function that grants you the possibility to give your own twist to the association, as the website has a big influence in the way people perceive the association.
I for example changed the layout and look of part of the website to attract more members.

Next to managing the website, you are also responsible for the administration of the member data, you do this in close cooperation with the vice-chairman, who is responsible for attracting new members. You also work on the study support for the students together with the Education Committee, this can be in the form of guidelines that can be used when studying, but also marketing related workshops where students can learn to put their marketing knowledge in practice. This also helps you to find out where your own interests lie in the marketing field.
You are also responsible for the administration of the alumni association of Asset | Marketing, the Meesters in Marketing, you send invitations to Asset members that have graduated, and make sure the data stays up to date by communicating with the alumni office of Tilburg university.
This is not the only area where you work together with the university, together with the department of marketing we have set up an initiative where students can get a certificate if they work on their personal development outside of university, for this and all other university related matters you meet once every 2 weeks with the academic director of the marketing department together with the chairman of the board.

Finally, you also coordinate several committees, which ones you want to coordinate is up to you, personally, I chose to have a nice mixture of formal and informal committees, so I coordinated the MiM committee, that organizes fun activities for alumni of Asset | Marketing, such as barbecues, but also the Markethings Week committee, which organizes the biggest marketing event of Brabant.
In my opinion, coordinating committees, is one of the highlights of doing a board year, here you and your committee have a lot of freedom to organize events in the way you think will be best, next to that it is very nice to see the effort and enthusiasm you put into your committees returned to you by the committee members.

Asset general

All board members of Asset also have a role in one or several Faculty Wide Organs (FWO’s) these organs consist of board members of all asset departments that work towards the same goal together.
As secretary, you will take place in 2 FWO’s: the Secretary Meeting, where the yearplanning, mailings, and administration of Asset Tilburg is discussed, and the Webmaster Meeting, the management of Asset Tilburg is discussed. In each meeting you have a specific task you need to fulfill, in case of the Webmaster Meeting, I am responsible for creating all informal events on the Asset Tilburg website, such as the welcome back party which had around 700 visitors. In these meetings you learn to work together with other departments, but also to defend your departments interests, in the Secretary Meeting for example, many departments will want to have their events on the same date, in those kind of situations, you need to know how to play your cards wisely to get the best out of the discussion for your department. This was one of the aspects that I enjoyed the most out of my board year, as you learn a lot from the other people that have the same function as you in other departments, and you also work together towards very big projects, as Asset Tilburg has around 6000 members, additionally you get to know a lot of fun people through these FWO’s.

What did I learn during my board year?

When you do a board year at Asset | Marketing, you quickly get sucked into the busy life of a board member, which sometimes makes it hard to reflect on what you are actually learning. For this we have the Advisory Board (RVA), this is a small group of people who have done a board year at Asset | Marketing several years ago and are now already further in their careers. At the beginning of your board year, one of them is appointed to you as a coach who will help you set targets regarding what you want to learn during your board year. I thought this was very helpful as my coach enabled me to zoom out for a bit and have a look at the bigger picture, also when looking for a job later, it is helpful to know what your strengths are, and where you can still make improvements.

During my board year, I feel like I have developed myself in countless ways. Something everyone learns during their board year is to deal with changing circumstances, during your studies, there are very limited external variables that have an impact on what your doing, in general almost everything is in your own hands. But during your board year you learn to work together with a lot of different parties and to combine their interests as well as possible, but still then, there will always be things that don’t go as planned, needing you to make last minute decisions and face dilemmas. During the first half my board year there was another uncertain factor that we had to account for, namely the government measures to contain the coronavirus, which would change every few weeks, causing us to cancel or completely reinvent events that took place offline in previous years. This teaches you to work under stress and staying calm when having to make important last-minute decisions.

Would you like to know more?

If you are also interested in doing a board year, and would you like to know more about my experiences and what I have learnt? Don’t hesitate to send me an email at [email protected] or contact me via whatsapp via +31637449778. We also organize some board information sessions that you are welcome to join! Next to that I am always open to have a cup of coffee and answer all your questions about my year as Secretary of Asset | Marketing.

If you are interested in other board functions, keep an eye out for the vice-chairman board blog, which should come online next week!

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