Meet the new VSAE Board

Meet the new VSAE Board

Zixiao (Jessica) Quan
16 februari 2021
CareerLearning AcademySocialStudy

VSAE is a non-profit association for students who are studying econometrics or actuarial science at the University of Amsterdam. The VSAE board consists of five people. They are responsible for the entire association for a year. This includes determining the direction of the association and making important decisions. Moreover, the board acts as the day-to-day management to the association and oversees the organisation of the events and activities the VSAE offers. On February 1st 2021, the new VSAE board members started their board year with enthusiasm. Let’s meet the new VSAE board!

Jasper Eppink (Chairman)

I’m Jasper Eppink and I am originally from Haarlem. After having lived there for 18 years, I decided to flee and started studying Econometrics in Amsterdam. During my third year, I realised that I had an urge to join the board. My function on the board is chairman, meaning that I have to lead my fellow board members through this year. 

Why did you choose to do a board year? What about your expectations for this year?

There are a couple of reasons why I chose to do a board year. The first reason would be that I am quite young. I am only twenty years old and I really enjoy ‘the student life’. For me, doing a board year is just a one-year delay before I have to work full-time. Another reason why I chose to do a board year is that I wanted to learn new skills that you don’t learn from studying. I really enjoy doing and learning new things and I also really enjoy meeting and talking to new people. After two years of studying, I really was looking forward to finding something new. As a board member, we need to organize a lot of activities and we have to work with different committees. This is the perfect way to get to know more people, make new friends and gain more experience. Besides those two reasons, another big reason is that it looks very good on my resume!

What is your notion of a good chairman?

I think a good chairman is very open and friendly to everyone around him and to his fellow board members. A good chairman should not only be a chairman but also a good friend to everyone. As a friend, people are very willing to talk about both their functional duties as board members and also their personal life, such as their feelings and the events that happened in their life. A good chairman should be involved and know what is going on with everyone and everything. To summarise, I think the notion of being a good chairman is just being a “stalker” of everyone so that you know exactly what’s going on.


Michelle Mutsaers (Internal affairs, Secretary & Vice-chairman)

I’m Michelle Mutsaers and I’m 21 years old. I’m a second-year Econometrics student and this year I will be fulfilling the following functions in the vsae board: internal affairs, vice-chairman & secretary. I live in Amsterdam and in my free time, I like to hang out with friends, play hockey and go to concerts or festivals. 

Why did you choose to do a board year? What about your expectations for this year?

I chose to do a board year because I made most of my friends from the study through the vsae and I enjoyed lots of nice activities and I wanted to do something back for the association. I also thought it was a good way to improve myself by learning new skills. 
This year will definitely start differently than usual, but I hope that during our board year, things can slowly get back to normal. This would mean we can organize physical events again, which is what I’m looking very forward to. On the other hand, COVID-19 restrictions encourage us to be more creative and to learn new things.

How would you like to incorporate your roles? What do you expect the communication within the VSAE looks like this year?

My most important role is being the internal affairs officer. It means I will be the face of the association to our members and the person they come to when they want to ask something. I will try to get to know all our members and keep close contact with them, so I can pass on their views to the rest of the board. This year this is even more important because communication can be difficult due to online events. As internal affairs, I’m also responsible for forming all committees, which is where I meet most members and talk with them. I also have the function of secretary, which means I keep track of all information in the association and process it. This also means that I process all new members, which is nicely related to my internal affairs function.
Furthermore, I’m the vice-chairman, which means I’m responsible when Jasper is absent. I also make sure that Jasper is doing well, just like he looks out for all of us. 


Merijn Roelfsema (Treasurer)

Hi, my name is Merijn Roelfsema, I’m 20 years old and I am from Amstelveen. I’m a third year Econometrics student.  This year I will be fulfilling the role of treasurer. Next to all the studying my hobbies are playing hockey and piano. For a borrel you can also always wake me up.

How did you end up being a board member this year?

I have been a member of the VSAE for a few years. What I really liked about it were the social activities. When I got asked to join the committee in my first year, I joined the skiing committee. I found that working with each other in the project was really nice. After that I started doing more committees. Eventually, I thought I could maybe do a board year and step up from where I was. After serious considerations, I eventually decided to sign up to do a board year. I am really happy to be a board member and I look forward to doing lots of amazing things this year.

What’s your expectation of this year as a treasurer of the board? How do you make sure that VSAE has enough funds? 

The main focus of being a treasurer is to know what is going on with the money and to keep track of everything related to the funds. A small mistake such as losing the track could cause a total chaos. As treasurer, I need to be very precise. My role in the board is to keep VSAE stable (financially). I need to make sure that everything works as it is intended. My major goal for this year is to maintain the stability of VSAE. VSAE is a non-profit organisation, but last year we made some profits. This means that we have some extra funds to spend this year, which is pretty nice. But we still need to account for all the money spent. This means that I need to make sure that we don’t accidently spend too much or too little.


Caio Smidi (External Affairs & Marketing)

My name is Caio Smidi, I am 20 years old and I’m from Amsterdam. Halfway during my second year in the bachelor of Econometrics, I decided to apply for a board year. During this year, I will be fulfilling the roles of external affairs officer and marketing officer of the VSAE. In my spare time I like to play a lot of tennis, do some fitness, and of course enjoy student life with my friends.

Why did you choose to do a board year? What about your expectations for this year?

In my first year, I already joined some committees and tried to go to VSAE events. In the beginning of my second year, I got in touch with some of the board members. After that, I started orientating on the possibility of doing a board year. When I heard what it all meant to become a board member, I decided that this was something I wanted to do. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of events and meetings are online, which sometimes makes things quite difficult to handle. Doing a board year during these difficult times is also a challenge that I am willing to take on.
There are of course a lot of uncertainties right now, especially regarding COVID-19 and whether we can organise events physically. However, the five of us all have good hopes that in the second half the year, we will return to a more normal setting. 

In your opinion, how important is marketing to VSAE? What are you going to do about advertising the VSAE?

Because of COVID-19, keeping the members involved in the VSAE becomes more difficult. I think marketing is an important way to reach the members. Attractive and frequent promotion of events can really help people and students interact with each other within the association. This is also why good marketing is of such importance. This year we mainly focus on online marketing, since this is the best way to reach people, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
For marketing to external parties and companies, we need to try a bit harder than usual. This is because companies need to cut their budgets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies are also having a difficult time. However, we are quite confident that we will do well this year. We are a lot more prepared for all uncertainties than the previous VSAE board. For them the pandemic started in the early stages of their board year, while we signed up for this knowing what was waiting for us. Also for most companies, there are of course going to be quite some financial difficulties. But it is more in the line of expectation than it was a year ago.


Lysanne Spilt (External Affairs)

I’m Lysanne and I’m 20 years old. I’m a third year econometrics student and since February I’m a board member of the VSAE. Together with Caio, we are the external affairs team and we are responsible for maintaining contact with our partners. Our goal is to make our partners enthusiastic about the collaboration and we do our best to think along with them. Hopefully, we will also be able to find new partners.  Further, I really like drinking wine and doing things together with friends.

Why did you choose to do a board year? What about your expectations for this year?

I chose to do a board year because I don’t want to work in the near future. As an external affairs officer of the board, I have many opportunities to visit the companies. I think it is good to meet companies and understand how companies work before actually seeking a job. Besides this, doing a board year is not only good for my CV but also gives me a chance to do lots of different things.
I think things are going to be difficult this year. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, companies have less budget right now. This makes it a challenge for us to get sponsored by them. For my board year in general, I think the first half year is going to be a bit boring since many events cannot be held or held completely online. Hopefully, the situation gets better after this summer so that we can organise events and get more in touch with the members. 

Why did you choose to be an external affairs officer?

I really don’t know what I want to do after finishing my study, including which companies to work in and what those companies do. As an external affairs officer, I can learn more about the companies and I hope that after this year I will have a clear idea about what I do and don’t want to do. Besides this reason, I can work together with Caio which gives me a chance to enjoy teamwork and team collaborations. I think it is valuable to have contact with the companies after my study. This is also beneficial for my future career.  

Which companies is VSAE currently in touch with? Are there going to be some new companies in this list this year?

Apparently, the two main partners of VSAE are the IMC (trader companies) and the DNB. VSAE has many partners that are trading companies. I think it is also good to look at start-up companies because the VSAE now has a lot of big companies as partners. It is good for the VSAE to connect with smaller companies and have contact with them. I will do more research on which start-up companies to get in contact with and which companies the econometrics and actuarial science students are interested in.