At Amsterdam Data Collective (ADC), Junior Consultants work on many different projects across a range of sectors under the leadership of a Senior Consultant or Manager. For the past year, Rens Jochemsen has filled the role of a Junior Consultant after obtaining his master’s degree in econometrics and spending a year as a working student in financial risk services. Together we discuss the recruitment process, personal development opportunities, and collective growth at ADC.
Why did you choose to work at ADC after graduating from your master’s?
There were three main reasons why I chose to work at ADC:
- The first reason being that ADC is present in more than one sector. During my internships, I exclusively worked in the financial risk space, and I wanted the opportunity to explore other sectors alongside that. ADC offers me the possibility to add value to a range of topics I find interesting and important.
- Secondly, it is an extremely fast-growing company, which means there is less of a hierarchy. This allows me to take on more responsibility and ownership than at larger consultancies because we thrive off the collective team feeling.
- Lastly, I can participate in end-to-end strategy. Instead of only practicing implementation, I am also able to learn strategy and work with data engineering. This is a great opportunity to have, especially in the early stages of my career, as I can develop my skill set and discover what I find most exciting.
What was the recruitment process like?
It was truly such a pleasure! The process started with an informal conversation with one of our recruiters, Ewout, who spoke so positively and genuinely about working at ADC. I could tell that he really believed in the vision of the company, which only added to my enthusiasm.
Then, in the second round, I had a conversation with Ewout and a Junior Consultant. They made me feel very comfortable from the start and were interested in discovering what I want to achieve in my career, and if ADC could be the right place for me to do it. I left the interview with a smile and a very good feeling!
Finally, I presented a case study. Although it can take quite a bit of time to prepare for this round, if you enjoy working on the case, then you will also enjoy working at ADC because it is a great indicator of how our projects operate.
“We are nonstop learning not only because we work on so many cool projects, but also because we are quickly given a lot of responsibility, even in a junior role.”
What makes someone successful at ADC?
Curiosity is very important. Someone who wants to learn new things and take risks, while also having a desire to constantly improve and better him- or herself. The people who work at ADC really set out to do great things by adding value to both our clients’ projects and the greater society. All of that combined with, of course, a big brain!
How do you feel you are able to learn and grow on the job?
I think we are nonstop learning not only because we work on so many cool projects, but also because we are quickly given a lot of responsibility, even in a junior role. We have the feeling that we are getting the brightest minds at our company, so we trust each other’s ability to produce great work.
Since it is an atmosphere of ‘social nerds’, having so much responsibility from the start is not intimidating. There are so many knowledgeable and experienced Senior Consultants and Managers who are always available for a chat; I had a great discussion with Rik, one of our founders, twice today. The people here genuinely love to explain things and help each other grow.
What are some skills you have developed while working at ADC?
For one of my first internal projects, I created a data scraper that extracted sustainability reports from websites. I then used a Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithm on these reports to find out the sustainability levels of various companies.
In addition, I learned to work in Databricks, which is a data analytics platform optimised for developing data intensive applications. It also enables you to program in different languages. Python was already familiar to me, but I also learned to work with Apache Spark through Spark SQL and the PySpark DataFrames API. It is really cool to work with such cutting-edge technologies!
These are just a few of the learning opportunities I have experienced on the job in my first year, but we often also have specific training days within the company. Through these trainings, I have learned about data engineering, multi-processing in Python, and even improved my soft skills, such as how to get my message across effectively in a presentation.
“One of the things I love the most about working at ADC is that we are trying to make a better world. We really believe in that, and the collective week is one of the best examples of it.”
How do people work collectively at ADC?
Everyone is trying to help each other succeed and is always open to questions; it does not matter what your official role or title is, we are all striving for the same thing: collective growth and driving each other forward. If my colleagues grow, then they can share their knowledge with me, so I am also able to grow; everyone makes time for each other in this way.
And of course, I cannot forget about the collective week…
What is the Collective Week?
During the recruitment process, Ewout described it as one of the coolest weeks at ADC, and I would have to agree. It was one of the nicest weeks of my life! The days are spent working on pro bono projects, and the nights are full of laughter over some beers by a campfire. We have one week to make a deliverable, so it is a great opportunity for team building and rapidly learning new skills, while also producing something meaningful for a non-profit organisation, which feels great. One of the things I love the most about working at ADC is that we are trying to make a better world. We really believe in that, and the collective week is one of the best examples of it.
“Even though we are growing very quickly, there is no distance between Managers and Junior Consultants. We all share the same goal of making something meaningful for our clients and society, and that brings us together.”
How would you describe the company culture?
We do a lot of fun group activities, everything from a company football team to Friday drinks to laser tag! We love doing things as a collective both inside and outside of the office; it does not matter what role you are in, as we truly value the personal connections and relationships that we have with one another. Even though we are growing very quickly, there is no distance between Managers and Junior Consultants. We all share the same goal of making something meaningful for our clients and society, and that brings us together.
How did ADC help its employees stay connected during COVID?
This was something that every employer likely struggled with, but I am happy to say that ADC managed the situation very well. I think the most important thing for new joiners, like myself, during this time was the buddy system. ADC assigned me a buddy who had newly started working at the company three months earlier. Having a virtual buddy replaced the feeling of having someone next to me in the office who I would otherwise ask little questions to that help familiarise myself within a new company.
In addition, we also have peer groups made up of colleagues in the same role, which continued to be held virtually during COVID. Sometimes these meeting are quite structured, for example, discussing a learning path for ourselves, and other times we simply discuss highs and lows of the week. It is important to make time to share stories about your week with your colleagues to stay connected with one another.
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