An Interview with David Enthoven | Aegon
Can you tell me something about yourself and your education?
My name is David Enthoven, I am 26 years old and I grew up in the east of the Netherlands near the Veluwe. I really love the nature out there and as a kid, I spend a lot of time in those woods with the boy scouts. Later on, I moved to Groningen to start my studies there. I studied econometrics from 2013 until 2018, first a bachelor’s and then a master’s. I mainly focused on OR, think of optimization models, and financial econometrics. At most universities, you would have to choose an orientation to focus on, but this wasn’t necessary in Groningen. I had an amazingly fun time in Groningen doing a lot of committees at the study association. Finishing off with a board year at the overarching body of the student associations. In 2018, I worked at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen as a researcher to publish a master’s thesis, and then at the beginning of 2019, I started working at Aegon.
What is your function within Aegon and on what sort of projects do you mostly work?
A lot of people at Aegon work within the actuarial field, I didn’t focus on actuarial science during my master’s so this is not what I do. I am a data scientist for Aegon and the type of projects I work on is very broad. Most people immediately think of the insurance company when they hear of Aegon, but this is just one of the many things Aegon does. We have lots of pension funds, and mortgages, and we have our own bank, Knab. I often describe my job as an internal consultant within Aegon. If there are any difficulties in any of the sectors of Aegon that can be improved with data-driven techniques, we come in. I for example have worked on projects for insurance and pension funds, so there is lots of variety in my work which is really fun. Lately, I’ve also been working on the pricing of our products. Our products have an actuarial price based on the client’s risk. But this of course does not solely determine the actual price. I work on the commercial side of the pricing, for example making comparisons with the pricing of the products of our competitors.
How does Aegon stay involved with social problems?
I think the basic idea of insurance is already a very communal thought. There is a big group of people of which everyone puts some money down as a safety net for the biggest lows of a subgroup in the community. So this alone is a beautiful concept. This is a product we sell, but we also have a program called ‘van schulden naar kansen’, this means from debt to chances. People who have debt are being supported to take the necessary steps forward to overcome their debts. Some people working at Aegon work with this program to offer their financial knowledge. Later this year I will also start working on this project and I’m very excited to be able to coach someone. It’s not about telling someone how to live their life but it’s really to help answer all of their questions and to sit down with them and offer your expertise. It’s not part of my job description at Aegon but Aegon does support their employees, who in general have lots of financial knowledge, to spend time working on this program.
How did you end up working at Aegon?
During my studies, I spend a lot of time researching what companies were out there and where I could possibly end up. I could definitely recommend this to everyone. Go to events organized by the study association to meet companies, go to the national econometrician day, and try to get to know as many companies who are looking for new employees. When I was studying, I knew I wanted to go in the consultancy direction. By coincidence, I heard that Aegon would also be an option for me. At first, I wasn’t sure about this because I thought it was just an insurance company looking for an actuarial scientist. But during my job interview with the manager of the team, I was convinced to join their team since they solve a lot of different problems and also work on internal consultancy. I get to see a lot of different parts of Aegon within my job but I can also see the long-term effects my projects have on the company. I wanted to start working at a company with lots of room for development. A multinational was a good way to start. Aegon for example has a data science development program, there is a lot of time and space for personal growth. Finally, I was also appealed to the many international possibilities Aegon has.
Did you focus on certain aspects during your studies for greater job prospects in the future?
Not really, I felt like I wouldn’t really struggle to find a job after studying econometrics. When I started studying I didn’t really look into job opportunities so at first, I didn’t realize there would be this many. But during my studies, I never thought about job opportunities while choosing a certain track. I wouldn’t worry about job opportunities too much. Anything in a financial multinational has to do with data in some way so as an econometrician you could end up anywhere.
You mentioned that you did a lot of committee work during your studies, did this teach you any skills that you still use in your current job?
I did quite a lot of committees but I never really saw it as working on my resume and building skills. I really did committees just for fun but it does definitely teach you how to organize things. This will of course always help and it shows that you like doing fun activities. Now, I’m the chairman of Young Aegon, which is an association for young employees. In this association, you can also find a lot of people who were active during their studies and like organizing things and just being in contact with others. I think a lot of companies are looking for people ready to take one more step like this.
Are there any options like part-time jobs or internships for students within Aegon?
There definitely are, within the analytics team I’m part of there are always some master’s students walking around working on their thesis. Some of these will even stick around for a job. There is also the option to reach out to see if your interest can be used on something like an internship.
How did you experience the transfer from studying to working?
I didn’t experience the transfer as a huge change. Of course at some point during your master’s you will already start studying a little more seriously than during your bachelor’s and you will start having longer days. This is not something I would worry too much about. Also, no one will expect you to know everything on your first day already. One advantage for me was that I had to move to The Hague from Groningen, so that also made sure I didn’t spend 4 nights a week in a bar with my friends anymore. I think it would have been more difficult to start working if I would have stayed in Groningen longer.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would just like to recommend again to go to all the activities organized by the study association and to go to the national econometrician day. These are always fun days and the companies also like seeing enthusiastic students on these days.