On a regular basis we will interview former students of the Law Faculty of Tilburg University working in different (legal) jobs. Today we are talking to Rémy-Josquin Carré about his experiences as an IT Advisory Consultant at KPN Consulting.
My name is Rémy-Josquin Carré, a bilingual French-Dutch former student of the bachelor and master Public Administration and Administrative Law, having graduated in 2013, after also having done a second master “Relations Internationales” at the Paris Sorbonne University.
As of September this year I even came back to deepen my law skills at the master Law and Technology, focusing on Privacy Law and the GDPR. All of this beside being an IT Advisory Consultant at KPN Consulting, (formally Getronics), focusing on Data- and Security in correspondence to IT.
Why did you choose your study?
Having looked before in my high-school time for the right study to become a diplomat, I ended up visiting amongst others the studies “International Law” and “Public Administration and Administrative Law”. In the end I made the choice to do the broader focused Public Administration study, which encompassed in my opinion as well a law-scope as a public/private management education. Soon I found out its focus to be too narrow for my learning needs.
As such I left for a fulltime internship of half a year at the Dutch Consulate-General in Antwerp, also spending one day per week at the Dutch Embassy in Brussels. This meant that two of my bachelor courses were left unfinished. At that moment you could still choose between doing a year of only the two bachelor courses, or continuing in the same master’s program and finish the bachelor at the same time. I chose the latter and therefore my master needed to be the same study as my bachelor.
For me, this study in combination with numerous things I undertook next to my studies, made my study time into a good building block towards the job market in which we all are meant to function for the 40+ years following our studies.
What I do like about my former study and its focus, was the combination of teachers from the real working-field situation being asked to lecture often, in combination with the recurrent group-papers that strengthens your cooperative skills, as you will also have to do after your study over and over again with colleagues.
Have you been active during your study?
Actually, the real advice I can give everyone that wants to study or is already studying, is to really take all possible actions you can to do extracurricular activities. It not only strengthens your CV, but way more important, are the social and societal skills you will acquire. Me as a young student, I went into the central University Council where I was elected for the SAM student party.
Secondly, I have always lived in Tilburg itself in a student-house. Even in these times where government funding goes down, a real life-changer and addition to anyone’s student-life. It teaches you to be responsible and well-prepared for the adult life outside.
Apart from that I was an active Juribes study-association member and one of the earlier birds into the development and uprising of the Tilburg voluntary association: Serve the City Tilburg.
Especially this last thing is a tip to participate yourself, as it is an organisation organizing accessible voluntary activities with Tilburg students for elderly and misfortunated habibants of ‘our’ town: Tilburg.
Not only will employers like you doing voluntary work, the personal reward of your efforts will really be felt and appreciated!
You’re working right now as an IT Advisory Consultant at KPN Consulting, why did you choose this job?
To be clear: I am not working for KPN, the known Dutch Telecomprovider. I work at the Consulting branch, formerly known as Getronics and Pink-Roccade. It was bought by KPN for the alignment of KPN to the new IT reality, where we have to deal with IOT (internet of everything), where all systems are ‘smart’ and ‘connected’, as well as big-data and cloud-surfing becoming the reality of everyday, for all corporate and private parties.
I ended up here after having first worked for Achmea in a Young Professional Traineeship. Being a student that started studying just before the crisis of 2008 and finishing in the midst of this same crisis, especially on the job market, I ended up having quite some difficulties getting rid of the ‘public sector’-label. Although being broadly qualified is a big plus for analytical and academic skills, employers tend to want specialists.
During my studies I have been interested in the international playing field and legal aspects of societal issues, I saw this to be the momentum to go into the broad world of IT innovations and development. Especially with the fast pace of this happening, it’s an enormously interesting sector to be the trusted advisor of big companies like NS, Friesland Campina and many more.
What do you do on a workday
At this moment, I am embarked on a more hard-core IT project, working within servers and data migrations to the Microsoft cloud for a big company in the shipping sector. Living in Bussum, I have to go everyday through traffic jams to my temporary workplace near Rotterdam. This means I have to leave my house around 6.45 AM and only come back around 7 PM. Hard and long days, but typical for a consultant’s life, where you sometimes haven’t got a busy schedule and sometimes do have to make those 12h days. The important thing is that you keep developing and do the projects that bring you more knowledge.
We do get a lot of learning possibilities meaning I have got amongst others AGILE, PRINCE2, ITIL, Lean6Sigma and CIPP=E certified. All really relevant diplomas and certifications for a consultant’s job and further ahead in life.
At the moment you’re also combining your job with two privacy and data protection subjects of the Master Law & Technology at Tilburg University. What is the reason you wanted to do these subjects and is it hard to combine it with your job?
I wanted to further develop my law knowledge and skills, especially relevant now personal data is more and more digital data. Data flows are worldwide and more frequently dealt with through digital means. As such I believe this area of Law to be essential for the work area of every student being at this moment enrolled at Tilburg University. This not only goes for the background of us, legal advisers, but also students from other faculties.
Personally, I got the advantage that my employer follows this way of thinking and enables me to follow this Master Law and Technology as such. Yet another upside of working in consultancy.
Where do you see yourself the next couple of years?
Probably I will have changed my job, because life’s too short not to keep learning and developing myself towards an even better qualified professional. Especially with working in consultancy, I believe people too loose their unique relevancy as an advisor when you don’t from time to time decide to sit on the other side of the table, within the companies you are advising.
Although I would recommend consultancy to everyone with analytical skills and an extravert caractere, I do think you shouldn’t stick around there too long at a time. So perhaps I’ll come back to it, or will keep coming back to it. But try to broaden skills and experiences, in order to keep your mindset open!
Do you have any tips for students and graduates that are looking for a job?
The most important tip I can give, is to really work on your network, because those are the people that really know you, and can vouch for you. That might just bring you a job quicker than through endless resumé-sendings.
Especially with working in big companies, you can except having 4 to 7 rounds of analytical tests and assessments to pass. They can really lower your moral or even withhold you from trying to enter.
Do understand that companies don’t know you and as such they are just as curious to really know you, as well as you wanting to really know the company and its atmosphere.
Don’t be afraid to conclude that perhaps your first employer isn’t the right one for you, and dare too challenge yourself to then move on. There are a lot of jobs possible and ways in which you can grow towards your ideal job. Try to stay open-minded to any job, even if you consider it perhaps to be too “low”. Every job brings you something new you can continue developing upon as a person and as a professional!
Feel free to contact former students who have, like me, already started their working career. We’ve all been there. And are all happy to help!