The National Econometricians Day (in Dutch: Landelijke Econometristendag, abbreviated as LED) is
the largest annual career event for students in the fields of econometrics, operations research and
actuarial sciences in the Netherlands. The 2019 edition took place on February 7 and attracted even
more companies than last year’s edition. Companies typically send recruiters and former
econometrics students that just started working, along with exciting cases.
The program kicks off with a presentation from Casper Chorus, professor at the TU Delft. He
specialized in choice behaviour modelling and the central questions in his presentation was do you
regret studying econometrics, now that machine learning does a better job at forecasting? He then
examined a neural network that extremely accurately predicts whether a picture of a dog is a Husky.
Although the algorithm is accurate, it turned out that it just looks for snow in the background. He
concluded that econometricians should not worry about losing their jobs to machines. At the end of
his presentation, professor Chorus gave somewhat controversial career-advise to all the students:
don’t do what you dream of doing, but do what you are good at. As a specialist in choice behaviour,
he claims people become happy when they receive positive feedback.
Next up is either a masterclass and company fair or company cases, depending on your preferences.
Speakers during the masterclass included Sanne Blauw (PhD in econometrics) and Olivier Rikken
(Director Blockchain and Smart Contract at AXVECO). Sanne wrote the book “The Biggest Bestseller
of All Time (with this Title)”, where she discusses the objectivity of econometric research and the role
of statistics in society. She states that mathematics is very useful, but should not be put on a
pedestal. Olivier is a Blockchain expert with a special focus on Ethereum and Smart Contracts. He
believes Blockchain is potentially the most disruptive technology at the moment and might change
the way our whole economy works.
Students that chose to attend a company case got to see what it is like to work at a company
of their preference. Most firms would start with a general introduction of the company and then the
employees described what a day at the office looks like. Students got plenty of opportunity to ask
questions and finally experience the case itself. This year there were over 66 companies present,
making the cases diverse.
Other items on the program include a lunch, dinner, drink and party. During the lunch, dinner and
drink students get the opportunity to ask individual questions to the employees. The employees
were mostly around the age of 24 and recently graduated themselves. They understand what choices
lay ahead of the students and are a helpful source of information. Finally, the day ends with a fun
party. Ever wondered what a party with a few hundred econometricians is like? The LED might be
your only possibility to find out.