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How Business Engineer Charles gets to pursue two careers at once

Written by Lenny Sluyts on 18 May 2020 for Tech Graduates

Meet Charles Vanhaesebroucke. As an Exellyst, he combines the role of business analyst for the Service Management Team with the role of functional analyst for the Data Warehouse Team at insurance company Nationale Nederlanden (NN) in the non-life insurance segment.

Charles’ specs

  • 24 years old
  • From Avelgem, West-Flanders
  • Enjoys soccer, trail running, padel and mountainbiking
  • Graduated as a Business Engineer in 2020

Hey Charles, you’ve been on board with us for about a while now. How do you like being an Exellyst at insurance company Nationale Nederlanden?

I haven’t regretted my decision to join the Exellys community for one second! Nor do I regret choosing NN Insurance. They’re a company in full growth, with many interesting IT projects going on. I have wonderful colleagues. There’s about 40 people working in the IT and Transformation team and I feel that I’ve gotten to know them very well and have built beautiful friendships, both during as after working hours.

Having fellow Exellysts to show me the ropes at NN as well, has also helped me a lot during my integration period. It’s a winning combination to be part of two professional families.

Can you tell us about your job at NN?

First of all, I’d like to point out that my role at NN is twofold – which is completely in line with my degree as a Business Engineer. I combine an operational, coordinating role in the Service Management team with a more technical, specific role in the Data Warehouse team.

For the purpose of this interview, I’d like to focus on my role within the Service Management team. The team started in June 2020, I joined a few months after and we’re still growing and maturing. Shortly after I started working for NN, I found that I was given a lot of trust and responsibility to implement my improvement proposals. For instance, I started a small project to make our team more agile and also introduced the Kanban way of working to the team, to further allow our internal growth.

Charles Vanhaesebroucke - quote NN

Within the Service Management team, our main task is to follow up on incidents, ranging from simple issues to complex problems. We’re the SPOC for all incidents, which we analyze and then either solve ourselves or escalate to other IT teams within NN or external parties. We communicate about the progress of the solution and follow-up afterwards as well to make sure the issue has been resolved.

Of course, we believe it’s better to prevent than to fix, so another one of our main tasks is to find ways to improve our internal processes and procedures. I really enjoy the analytical part of problem solving, but it’s also interesting to witness first-hand the start-up and implementation of new tracks.

The insurance industry is quite a distinct branch. Do you need any specific prior knowledge to work at NN?

Not really, anything you need to know, you can learn on the job. When I started, I was far from an insurance expert – I didn’t even have any basic knowledge about insurance! This was not a problem in the beginning, although you have to be willing to learn. You can catch up quite easily by asking a lot of questions and doing some research on your own.

The applications we use at NN were also new to me, but they’re not very complicated. You can learn to use them on the job. What you do need, at least for my position, is a serious dose of reasoning skills. You have to find the relation between incidents, look for the root of the problem, solve the source of the issue instead of offering a quick fix for the symptoms. You also need strong communicative skills, since you’re constantly in contact with the business, other teams within NN, external parties, and so on. Finally, some basic presentation skills and knowledge of Excel come in handy, too.

Sounds like a challenging job with a lot of diversity. What else do you enjoy about working at NN?

I like that the company structure is so flat. On paper, there are layers in the organization – there are managers, project leaders, team leaders,… But in reality, the line between managers and ‘regular employees’ is very narrow, as you’d undoubtedly soon figure out during an (online) afterwork event. NN gets a 10 out of 10 when it comes to atmosphere and fun.

Charles Vanhaesebroucke - quote 2 NN

I also like how open everybody is to feedback, even when it’s given by a 20-something rookie fresh out of school. It’s not about age or seniority here: when you show you’re driven, you get respect, responsibility and trust. Opportunities are central to our working environment.

NN is still growing as a company, the IT architecture is always evolving, there are many ongoing projects that are really interesting. It’s very educational to be so closely involved in these projects. I’ve already gained so much knowledge that will remain useful to me throughout my career.

You said you’re combining two roles at NN, can you tell us a bit more about that?

As a Business Engineer, I wasn’t sure if I wanted an operational or a more technical role. NN is giving me the opportunity to try both and find out for myself what I want to focus on in the long term. As I said, I’m part of the Service Management team, but I’m also part of the Data Warehouse team, where I get to play around with data as a functional analyst. This actually sums up quite nicely why NN is such a good match for me, and could be for you, too. They give you time and space to figure out who you are, what you want to do in your professional life and they support you in this process.

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Conclusion? Don’t hesitate, let’s connect. Exellys ànd NN is the way to go!

Thanks, Charles. Best of luck in the future!

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