René Verhaegen graduated from our Venturn Young Professionals (VYP) Programme in October 2016. He then continued to work as a consultant for Venturn for another 1.5 years and now works for Yusen Logistics as Global PMO Officer. We asked him a few questions about his experience being in Venturn’s Young Professional Programme and about his current job.
Can you tell me about the projects you carried out whilst being part of the VYP programme?
I carried out 3 projects during my time as Young Professional. The first was a business analyst role at an in-company start-up at a container terminal. The aim of the assignment was to develop several automated KPI reports & dashboards while providing decision support for management.
The second project was a dual role: the first as executive assistant for the CEO providing all kinds of decision support, business cases, and analyses during a very intensive period for the company, having just been acquired by Private Equity. The second role was to initiate projects and solutions as data scientist, making the company more data driven in tendering, sales initiatives, and inventory control.
The third project was supporting the design of a new strategy for one of the subsidiaries of the previous company, and supporting the implementation through the Project Management Office.
What did you like best about the Young Professional Programme?
For me it was the perfect start of my career because of the multiple consultancy-like assignments in the maritime-logistics sector. You learn a lot from your projects, from other YPs during training, and there is room to develop yourself on your own initiative. Furthermore, the projects in Venturn’s network enable you to see very diverse aspects of maritime business: from the inside of the quay-cranes to the inside of the boardroom.
What is your current job?
Currently I carry out multiple projects related to information management, business intelligence and data quality as PMO officer of what we call ‘the Data Visibility project’ at a large global forwarder & Logistics Service Provider. While a lot of the job is connecting the strategy to concrete deliverables, I also get down to actual data analysis, which I like.
Which challenges do you face in your current job and how do you solve them?
One challenge is to initiate and eventually implement big changes for the large corporate environment. This challenge is two-faced: though this is sometimes a source of frustration, the impact the project I work for has, is only the greater. Solving this challenge requires effort from everyone in the team by keeping concepts concrete, visual, and of course repetition: keep knocking on doors till they open.
Which skills learned during the Venturn Young Professionals (VYP) Programme are you able to implement in your current job?
The soft skills from the interaction with the other YPs. During sessions, you learn to talk about the issues at hand and be open to outside advice and perspectives.
Starting in October, the VYP Programme will also include a module on advanced data analytics and data-driven decision-making. What is your take on this?
Great! Although not everyone will use this in their job, you will need to grasp some of the basic ideas of how information is stored as data can be an advantage for the company. Furthermore, work areas we do not associate with data like HR or QHES are becoming increasingly data driven. Therefore, acquiring some skills in data analytics wouldn’t hurt anyone!