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“I am living proof that the Exellys model really works”

Written by Lucas Reitsema on 30 January 2023 for Graduates

Tim Koster is living, breathing proof that the Exellys model works. Transitioning from the academic to the professional world is never easy, but he grabbed on to the training and coaching he got from Exellys, did the work and came out on top. That’s why we invited him for a chat about his Exellys journey so far.

Tim Koster’s specs

  • 25 years old
  • Lives in Haarlem, NL
  • Did his Master’s in Strategy & Organisation at VU Amsterdam
  • Ajax fan, ski enthusiast & padel lover
  • In his free time, he enjoys going out for a drink with friends

Hi Tim, let’s start at the beginning. Can you tell us about your studies?

In secondary school I already knew that I wanted to go into the business direction. So I started my studies in Business Administration, which was very broad and gave me the chance to develop what I liked to do and what I was good at. I also spent a semester in Lisbon, which was great fun. I completed my Bachelor’s and started my Master’s in Strategy & Organisation at VU Amsterdam. Here, I learned to think more critically, to analyse in a systematic way. And then it was time for the next step. I didn’t yet know what kind of company I wanted to work for, but that’s one of the great things about Exellys. They have several clients, and they really help their consultants find a match while guiding them through the process.

How did you end up at Exellys?

One day, I got a LinkedIn message from Bonne (Van der Laan, Tech Talent Scout at Exellys). And for some reason, I really had a good feeling about you guys, so I I replied and after a week, I had signed my contract!

Can you tell us about your assignment at LeasePlan?

I started in January 2022 in the Credit Risk department (as part of the ‘Customer Assessment Process, or CAP, project) as a Business Process Manager. In that role, I combined Business Analyst and Process Manager tasks. Along with my ProjectiveGroup colleagues we were responsible for setting up a new process to check the potential risk(s) of doing business with that specific customer. When a customer wants to rent a car, then we need to know they can pay for it. That process is what the Credit Risk team does on the daily. I was assigned with a colleague to develop the new process, create process flows, see what works in practice and what doesn’t. I visited 8 or 9 countries (LeasePlan is active in 28 countries!) to talk to stakeholders to get input for the new process. That was pretty cool.

Then in August I transferred to the Customer Due Diligence (CDD) team at LeasePlan. Where the Credit Risk team checks if a customer can pay, the CDD team looks further: even if a customer can pay, do we want to do business with them? Is their character not objectionable? Is it not Putin, or someone like that? (laughs)

What does your team look like?

In the CAP team we were mainly young people, with a more experienced change manager and a very experienced project manager. That was an ideal set-up for us to learn a lot, the seniors gave us plenty of guidance and opportunities to grow. But I also had a fellow Exellyst who was also on his first assignment. It’s nice to be in the same boat and be able to share that experience.

Now, in the CDD unit, I’m in a more experienced team. There’s only one person from the ProjectiveGroup in my team now, but that’s what’s so great about it: there is so much experience and knowledge, and so much willingness to help. If I run into something, I can always ask someone for advice on how to handle it, even if they’re not in my team or even at LeasePlan.

You have about a year of Exellys experience under your belt. But when you joined, Exellys was still a relatively small organisation in the Netherlands. What attracted you to us, what made you decide to join?

Several things, actually. First of all, that you’re not just a number at Exellys. People know who you are, even at the highest level, like the CEO. Second, the social aspect and that I could really be involved in building up Exellys in the Netherlands. Welcoming colleagues, sharing experiences, the buddy system, etc. Third, in terms of work, Exellys has a comprehensive network full of interesting and reputable clients. The assignments are very instructive, you can grow a lot. What’s so great about it, is that on the one hand, you get a lot of responsibility with the client, but on the other hand you also get plenty of support. You never feel like you’re facing it alone.

You’ve now had a year of training, coaching and feedback interviews. How did you experience that? Is the growth curve really as steep as we say?

So far, I’ve had 3 coaching meetings. I can tell from the feedback that I’ve grown and learnt a lot. My first coaching really illustrated that I needed to find my feet in the business world, I had trouble figuring out what was expected of me, which tasks to prioritise and things like that. So naturally, there were some points of feedback. But based on the last two coaching meetings, I can conclude that they are more than satisfied with how I got to work with the feedback. There are always points for improvement of course, but basically my managers within LeasePlan and Femke (Duivestijn), my Talent Development Manager are very satisfied with how things are going. I notice the growth myself: now I know what is expected of me, what I should do first, how I should do things, how I should manage stakeholders. The coaching package and the training courses really helped. Already during the first weekend I learnt how to deal with feedback, and since then I’ve also learned how to manage stakeholders, how to draw up requirements as a business analyst, and so on. The training courses at Exellys have a lot of added value and helped to ensure that the growth curve was so steep.

We guide people, but it’s up to you to actually do it, and you’ve certainly proven that you can! Now, let’s talk about Exellys as a community. How do you experience that?

When I came in, the NL team was relatively small. It was nice, low key, we went out bowling and stuff because we were a small group. It’s nice to see that the team has grown so much, but the group feeling is still the same. You know, every company who wants to bring in young talent paints you a picture of the fun things they’ll be doing, but Exellys has very much lived up to that – and I know (or at least heard) that’s not true for all companies! There are so many initiatives, from the countries, from Exellys more broadly, ProjectiveGroup, etc. Every time you go to a Meeting of the Minds or something like that, it’s always great to talk to people you don’t see often because they work in a different country for example. It’s always well organised and something to look forward to. But I also notice a lot of initiative coming from the team to do things together, outside of Exellys. Go play padel, go out for dinner, do something fun in the office on Fridays, etc. We’re more than just co-workers, and that’s a great thing to have.

That’s fantastic. Anything else you’d like to add?

I just want to emphasise once again that the Exellys model really works. The goals that you set with your Talent Development Manager are very valuable. As a starter, it’s nice to have things to hold on to in your daily assignment. Also the training courses have proven to be very valuable. So I can only say good things and advise every graduate to join our team.

That’s great to hear, Tim. Thanks for your two cents!

About Exellys

Exellys is a Tech Talent Incubator. We match ambitious companies with the finest tech talent. Are you ready to drive the innovations of tomorrow? Ready to make an impact and become a future-fit digital leader?

Whether you are a graduate or (young) professional, Exellys will unlock your full potential by guiding you to a challenging work environment that perfectly matches your personality, expectations and ambitions.

On top of that, you are enrolled in one of our very own training and coaching programs (based on your personal and professional ambition and experience). This means that, while working as an Exellys consultant, we are helping you to bridge your ambition to excellence.

Through intensive training and coaching, you’ll gain the essential skills, competencies and knowledge necessary to become the highly effective professional you aim to be. Become an Exellyst and get in touch with us today!