Students in Practice- Liesbeth van Walsum
Rebel was founded in 2002 and operates within five markets: area development, transport, sustainability, care and the social sector. Liesbeth’s team focuses on real estate and area development. We interviewed her to get to know more about Rebel, her work there and what a typical day at the office looks like at the Rebel headquarters.
How did you get in contact with Rebel?
“It was a coincidence, really! I had already started graduating and just finished my P2 presentation. I hadn’t planned on graduating at a company because combining writing your thesis with an internship can be quite difficult. Then I was cc’d in an email from my graduation supervisor Erwin Heurkens. He had gotten in touch with someone he knew from back in the days. This man worked at Rebel and asked Erwin if he knew anyone to join the Rebel team. They were – and still are – growing quite fast. I had never heard of the company, but I became very enthusiastic and before I knew it, a meeting was planned. My graduation subject matched Rebel’s expertise very well, so I changed my plans!”
What does a random day in the week look like at Rebel?
“It’s quite difficult to describe one ‘standard’ day. I don’t just work on my thesis there, but also work as a full member of the team two days a week. In practice, it’s either a full day of working or a full day of thesis writing. A random day looks as follows:
07:35 I take the train from Delft – where I still live – to Rotterdam.
08:00 Arrival at Rotterdam Blaak, I make my way to the office – a five minute walk from the station.
08:10 At the office! I find myself a spot to work for the day. There are flex spaces everywhere, so some floors are more suited for working in silence and others are more suited for meetings. I’m usually quite early, so I take my time to get a coffee and truly wake up.
08:30 I start by checking my emails: has anything happened overnight?
09:00 I prepare a meeting, which broadly means that I read the necessary documents and formulate questions for my colleagues.
11:00 With two senior colleagues and one fellow junior colleague, I have a mobility meeting. We work on several workprojects and always try to integrate the knowledge of the different Rebel-teams. For this specific tender, we combine input from the real estate and mobility team. We look at traffic standards, important or problematic junctions and public transport in combination with attractive area development. For this project, we implement the STOMP method: a method whereby access by foot, bike and public transport is prioritized over parking places and car accessibility.
12:00 I make my way to the top floor of our building for lunch. All Rebels have lunch together, which makes it a nice opportunity to get to know colleagues that I do not work with. On average, about 70 people are present at the office on a daily basis. But because of the consultancy Rebel offers, many people are on the road a lot.
12:30 I continue working on the mobility vision at my desk.
19:00 A bit later than planned, I email my colleagues my share of the elaborated vision, after which I take the train back home to Delft.
00:00 My collegue emails me the definitive version.
Everyone at Rebel works very hard, deadlines are part of the job. But the teams also value quality time together. Every Friday, we have a VrijMiBo (Friday afternoon drinks) at the White House just accros the square of the Rebel office.
On a graduation day, I don’t always go to the office. I can also work at home or at the TU for example. But it’s nice to be able to go in full focus at the office. Currently, about six other graduate interns are working at Rebel. It’s very nice to be able to talk with them about the sometimes challenging graduation process. A few weeks ago, we got a request from the company to organise a Kitchentalk. These Kitchentalks are intended for knowledge sharing and keeping each other up to date: you can present an interesting project you’re working on, or ask for input when you’re dealing with a problem. These take place about once a month and the atmosphere is very informal. With all the graduates, we will soon present our research objectives and outcomes to all curious and interested Rebels.”
What do you like most about the company?
“It’s a very young company, founded in 2002, so the founders were about my age when they started. The average age right now is about 30, so quite youthful! Also, what we do is very interesting I think. Its financial-strategic advice work, but with the intention to do something good for society. Rebel was founded to ‘make the world a better place’: the idealistic undertone is still here, which I like a lot. Also, everyone is super enthusiastic about their work and really likes their job. There is attention for knowledge sharing and learning from each other. What is best for the project? Colleagues from other teams are very often involved and there’s no hierarchy: as a junior, you’re taken just as seriously as the seniors.”
What are your plans for the future?
“Working for Rebel! In August, I will start working there full time and hopefully I’ll find a place to live in Rotterdam as well.”
What advice do you have for future graduates?
“I would definitely advise everyone to graduate at a company, especially if you haven’t done an internship yet. Combining graduation with work is very nice! You may risk taking a bit longer to finish your thesis, but I found it very valuable to take that extra time: I’ve learned so much! Get the most out of your graduation experience I would say, those few months really don’t matter.”