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I N FO CU S Magazine of the Financial Study Association SCOPE|FOCUS Volume 10 Issue 2 January 2013



Microcredits - Financing the poor

Realizing sustainable business practices

Futures speculation & Commodity prices

12th and 13th March 2013

” ! d a e p Ah

e t S e “On

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INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2

Editorial Dear INFOCUS readers, First, I would like to wish all of you a happy new year 2013. May all your dreams and targeted achievements come true!

This second INFOCUS edition deals with one of the hottest and most prevailing topics in corporate business: Sustainability. Buzzwords like sustainable supply chain, sustainable energy, development, growth, and also corporate social responsibility are omnipresent not only in daily business operations, but also in the lecture halls and class rooms of leading universities all over the world. Therefore, it is this edition’s purpose to give insights from both the perspective of corporate business and academic institutions. Furthermore in this second INFOCUS magazine, the world of SCOPE|FOCUS provides you again with interesting details about the most seen people at the SBE, former FOCUS alumni, and various activities such as the Maastricht Finance Day, the Frankfurt Banking Tour, the Traders Trophy, and many more.

Finally, I would like to thank all companies, alumni, university staff, active members, and especially the INFOCUS committee for their contribution to this magazine. I wish you an enjoyable time reading! Best regards,

Paul Nuscheler

SCOPE|FOCUS is the financial study association of Maastricht University for students interested in finance, accountancy and controlling. Our aim is to be the best possible intermediary between students and potential future employers INFOCUS magazine is distributed freely by SCOPE|FOCUS among its members and relations four times a year Circulation 950 Composition/Design Paul Nuscheler

Mailing Address SCOPE|FOCUS P.O. Box 616 6200 MD Maastricht Visiting Address Tongersestraat 43 Rooms 0.012 & 2.012 C.O.C. Number 40205432 E-mail Internet Facebook

INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2

Content Sustainability Realizing sustainable business practices with the help of partnerships




A bitter brew? Futures speculation and commodity prices


The world of SCOPE|FOCUS Most seen people at the SBE


Active Member Polos


Sigma Investments


Alumni Talks


SCOPE|FOCUS Committees


Maastricht Finance Day 2012


Frankfurt Banking Tour 2012


Traders Trophy


Active Member Weekend


Activity Agenda


Advertisers Achmea | PricewaterhouseCoopers | Roland Berger | Koenen en Co |

INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2

Word of the Chairman

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

Abraham Lincoln

Dear readers,

At the moment of writing this word we are on the edge of leaving 2012 behind and entering a fresh, new, and challenging 2013. From the re-election of president Barack Obama to the Summer Olympics in London, 2012 has been a very eventful year. Also for SCOPE|FOCUS the past year has been very successful. Events are continuously being improved upon and the communication amongst the SCOPE associations has been further developed and optimized. Due to the professional and enthusiastic attitude of all participating students, we have received great feedback from the companies on our events. Therefore, I would like to thank all, who helped organizing these events, for their effort and inspiration in establishing these high quality activities!

By continuously improving our existing events and creating new ones we do our utmost best to provide students also in the next semester with a platform that enables them to pursue a successful career. To this extent SCOPE|FOCUS is trying to give meaning to the trending topic of this INFOCUS: ‘Sustainability’.

Sustainability has many definitions and there are many ways to achieve a more sustainable future. Something all definitions have in common though is that in whatever we do, we should focus on the impact in the long run and to that extent make sure that the next generation can live as generous as most of us can do today. Communities that engage citizens and institutions to develop sustainability principles and a collective vision for the future, and that apply an integrative approach to environmental, economic and social goals, are likely to be more successful.

Sustainability is a process of continuous improvement and we should not try to evade this. I am looking forward to working on this process together with all our stakeholders in the next half year. I would like to wish all of you a great 2013, in which you may challenge and get the most out of yourselves! Kindest regards,

Word of the Chairman

Luc Nelissen


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Realizing sustainable business practices with the help of partnerships


ocially and environmentally responsible management and sustainability are not just practices employed by companies individually. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is gaining ground across entire sectors. From organic fair-trade products, energyefficient household appliances, fair working conditions or environmental and climate protection – even in this time of crisis, there are many examples of CSR activities that span multiple organizations, partnerships that often make the ventures more successful. The frozen food company Iglo, for example, initiated the Marine Stewardship Council in cooperation with WWF to protect the oceans. TNT and the World Food Progam have partnered up to respond to famine-stricken countries when necessary.

Companies today face relentless pressure to grow their markets and remain competitive. And how they conduct themselves is being scrutinized like never before. Such demands could seem contradictory. But we believe that the primary role of companies to create wealth through products and services can be connected to their responsibility to society. Rather than seeing CSR as an unproductive cost or resource burden, we believe that it can be a source of opportunity. Doing good for the environment and society should and can bring financial return. Implementing CSR in daily operations or trying to align it with the core business is no easy task, however, and companies often struggle with turning CSR commit-


ments into tangible results. Our philosophy is to approach CSR from a strategic perspective, directly linking it to a company‘s top and bottom line to drive profitable growth. We have identified three pillars of CSR that ensure its role in supporting the business: managing risk, enhancing business and generating business.

Managing risk is usually the starting point. As laws change and regulations place heavier attention on CSR end-goals, companies must work to comply, minimize their impact and maintain their license to operate.

Enhancing the business is the next benefit of CSR. Social and environmental responsibility do a lot to advance brand and company image, optimize resource deployment and create a positive working environment. Companies in all kinds of industries have proven the value of leveraging CSR to boost their overall image, inside and outside their office walls.

The most far-reaching rationale for CSR practices, however, is its ability to generate business. More and more, companies are finding that the only way to capture economic value is to first create social value. The reason is simple: a product, service or process must actually be used to relieve or resolve a social challenge to have a value for the companies that develop and deliver it. This typically involves approval and regulation by public authorities, delivery over public infrastructure, and payment, at least in part, from the public coffers.

Realizing sustainable business practices

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Companies can take these steps on their own, but there is also much opportunity to be seized in joint CSR initiatives. For example, both Philips and Unilever have created competitive positions in developing countries with the help of NGOs. C.K. Prahalad in his book Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid and business guru Michael Porter in Creating Shared Value both claim that companies do not nor cannot have all the answers to the challenges and dilemmas that they face today. Many social and environmental issues can only be addressed through a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach. To fulfil their missions and reap the profits, companies must work in partnership.

they target complex markets and often navigate highly regulated environments. Such work is beyond the skill, scope, scale and resources of a single company, NGO, university or government. The true future of CSR is actually the stuff of public-private partnership.

Public-private partnership (PPP) is not a new idea: the concept has been employed for many years in several sectors, in different forms and for different purposes. But its widespread use for innovation, the instrument of CSR, is a rela­tively new phenomenon. The OECD hailed the Dutch „technological top institutes“ as best-in-class examples of this kind of PPP. Since their start, public-private partnerships have become central to both national and European innovation policy – albeit with mixed results. They may be the best way to address a complex challenge, but they are themselves a complex challenge to get right.

In today‘s economic climate and in light of the urgency of many social challenges, partnerships between public and private organizations are key. The co-creation of social and economic value can only come about through co-production – between companies, universities, NGOs, governments, and even society at large. Best regards,

The need for partnership becomes clear when you consider that the world’s pro­blems can only be solved through innovation. We cannot meet tomorrow‘s food demand, which will double what it is today, with today’s agricultural practices. We must think of new ways to grow stronger crops with higher yields in arid conditions. Similarly, we cannot hope to meet the steadily growing energy demand, curb carbon emissions or preserve the quali­ty of air, soil and water without new technological breakthroughs. And we will need new business models to pay for their use – through public and private contributions. Social and environmental solutions are also knowledge and capital intensive, With the help of partnerships

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Working on strategy projects in various industries Conducting interviews with clients Preparing and participating in workshops Performing market research and data analysis Contributing directly to client presentation Are you ready to experience the world of consulting in an inspiring atmosphere? We look forward to receiving your online application. Please note that your application should include a cover letter, resume and your official transcripts from high school and university. If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Eva Jongbloed at +31 20 7960 615.

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INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2



icrofinance deals with microcredits and microloans which are very small loans offered to poor people and are mostly commonly used in developing countries. Unlike commercial loans, microloans require no collateral which enable individuals who were previously unable to access credit the opportunity to do so through microcredit. Furthermore, the loans are provided at a low interest which aids in preventing the individuals from an interest trap. According to the Grameen Bank the credit default rate is low at less than 5%. The Grameen Bank was one of the first microfinance institutions who offered small loans. They were founded in 1976 and are one of the biggest providers of microloans and also microsavings that empower people to save small amounts on an account. Most of these institutions started as non-profit organization. The World Bank estimates more than half a billion people have benefited from microfinance with borrowed amounts being as small as 50â‚Ź. In 2010 there were 105 million active borrowers with a total loan of 54â‚Ź billion and average borrowings of approximately 430â‚Ź. Of these borrowers 70% live in rural areas, and approximately 80% receive group credits to make investments on behalf of their villages; for instance through the purchasing of farming equipment to maximize harvesting. The remaining 20% of loans are given to individuals and are used in various ways. The past year has seen a steady rise in the total borrowing of microcredit as the availability of microcredits becomes more accessible. Microcredits are significantly claimed by women, who represent 80% of creditors often providing them with the opportunity to start their own enterprise or send their children to school. Furthermore, the use of microcredits are extended to people aged below 40 in more than 50% of the cases which reflects the fact that users are predomi-


nantly unemployed who hope that the use of a loan will provide them with an employment

opportunity often in the form of a business development. These figures therefore underline the positive effects the microloans have for the individuals who are able to access and make effective use of them.

The necessity of small loans is evident when one considers approximately 1.6 billion people live on 2$ or less a day. However, it can be argued that these people should be able to borrow and save money similar to the rest of the population who have higher earnings. Until the recent development of microaccounts only one in five individuals of very low income had access to savings accounts as it was not a financially viable option for the majority of banks for a range of reasons. The most prevalent being the administration costs of small saving accounts; for the majority of banks the costs of providing the micro service is too high and would not provide a profitable opportunity. Additionally, the small market size of microfinance acts as a further disincentive for banks to enter the industry.

Approximately 40% of the microfinance market is served by banks and finance firms which are able to offer the service and see it as a profitable opportunity; however, to what extent it can be seen as sustainable is questionable. One can argue that since firm create profits although they are assumed to be low their decision therefore in offering the service can partly be seen as an act of goodwill as it provides the poorer individuals with the opportunity to advance their livelihoods and can aid in increasing the national wealth. Nonetheless, many critics argue the banks are acting in an immoral way making profits out of the poor knowing that despite their good intentions the individuals whom have taken the microloan will more often than not be unable to repay the bank.

Most recently there has been a development of a new type of microcredit in the form of peer to peer lending through the use of the internet. This enables the average person to allocate some of their savings to the lending platform from which other individuals can 9

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directly borrow money from. This can be seen as a forward movement in terms of microfinance in that more individuals are now able to access the service and gain credit. However, critics claim the online platform is often unreliable with particular reference to the terms associated with guaranteed interest rates. Due to the uncertainty in operating over the internet the platform requires a significantly higher interest rate than the lender receives as their profit. Solutions to this can perhaps be found in operating the platform on nonprofit organizations websites which would circumvent the problem of exploiting the poor.

are put under constant pressure to manage the tradeoff between sustainability and outreach.

Perhaps a point to consider for future improvements in the microcredit sector is the enhancement of the loan contracts. The contracts individuals sign on receiving the loan are often highly restrictive and therefore impact how individuals are able to use the loans. Therefore, through the loosening of contracts this is likely to increase the use of loans for long term projects which if successful are likely to have far greater long standing economic impacts than short term projects that have little time to develop. This potential has been recognized and some institutions are trying to solve the tradeoff problem with the help of social networks in rural areas to increase their outreach to microfinance. Christian Peters INFOCUS Committee

The major problem with microcredits is the level of transparency within the industry. Mr. Yunus, Nobel laureate and founder of Grameen Bank along with others state that interest rates should only be 10-15% above the cost of raising the necessary capital. Higher rates would take the form of loan sharking otherwise known as a “red zone”; despite this however 75% of institutions fall into this “red zone” as defined by Yunus. More transparency should lower the percentage of interest rates within the red zone as lenders would be able to choose between institutions. In the majority of cases individuals are likely to choose the institution with the lower interest rate and the firms who have a larger market share such as Grameen bank could thus negotiate with loan sharks offering substantially higher rates. The principal reason for the high interest rates by these institutions is that without the high interest rates they are unable to reach a financially sustainable position in terms of long term profitability. With the majority of donors preferring efficient institutions, they 10


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INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2

A Bitter Brew? Futures Speculation and Commodity Prices


s an economist and researcher, the most interesting projects involve developing and testing an intuitive explanation for what at first seems highly counter-intuitive. The most rewarding projects, however, involve something else as well: helping to understand and possibly solve important problems, papers that will – in some very small, but significant way – make a difference. Of course, reality will tell you that it is not easy to always find projects that meet these requirements.

Sometimes, however, a project finds you. This article is about one of those projects. The story starts a few years ago. I was approached by Triodos Bank to supervise a thesis project. What intrigued me at first was the topic: coffee! Sticking to one of my mottos (‘life’s too short to drink bad coffee”), I went to meet the bank representatives, joined by Maarten van der Molen, a student. In the room, next to the bankers, was a man who clearly was not a banker. He turned out to play a pivotal part in what happened in the months after that meeting. His profession: coffee trader. The bankers and the coffee trader shared a concern: rising coffee prices.

“Our task: finding out what has produced these high prices: A downward shift in supply? An upward shift in demand due to increasing wealth in developing countries?”

My first question, I believe, was to the bankers: why would they care about rising coffee prices? As it turns out, Triodos Bank is an important financier of Fair Trade coffee. Their concern was that prices had soared so high that it had become very difficult to convince coffee farmers (who get either a minimum guaranteed Fair Trade coffee price or a little above the world price, whichever is highest) to join a Fair Trade cooperative. As a result, these farmers invested less in crop quality, labor circumstances, and all the other things that the Fair Trade Association would require from them. When prices then collapse, so was the fear, these farmers would be more vulnerable than they otherwise would have been. 12

My second question, I think, was directed at the coffee trader: why did he care? His answer was our first ‘lead’ in the detective work that was going to be done in the following months: he was convinced that the price rises could not be explained by supply changes alone, and argued that at least part of the origins of those price rises lay with financial markets - commodity futures markets, to be precise.

The coffee trader also held – as it turned out much later – the key to answering the questions that by then kept popping in my head. As a result of his work and his fascination, he had amassed a large data set on coffee consumption, production and much else related. He was more than willing to share these data with us, and we were going to benefit greatly from his feedback as we went to work. Our task: finding out what has produced these high prices. Is it, for example, a downward shift in supply as a result of soil exhaustion and climate change? Is it an upward shift in demand as a result of increasing wealth in developing countries? Has the price elasticity of supply changed as a result of changes in production techniques? Have consumers become less price elastic? And last, but not least: is there a link between commodity futures markets and commodity spot markets, and – if so – what does that link look like?

We quickly found out that to answer these questions, we needed to educate ourselves in at least two respects: (i) regarding agricultural production, in particular coffee production, and (ii) about the financialization of commodity markets. With the coffee trader as our guide, we learned to understand the production, trade and consumption of coffee. Understanding the relationships between financial markets and commodity spot

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markets turned out to be a lot more difficult.

That relationship came under scrutiny when a hedge fund manager named Michael Masters used some of his spare time to look at the money that was flowing into commodity futures indexes – baskets of futures contracts written for commodities such as oil, rice, wheat and … coffee. Masters observed a huge surge in interest in these indexes, and wondered whether it was a coincidence that this had coincided with the increase in commodity spot prices. His conclusion was that there was no coincidence. He put together some of his thoughts and sent it around to some friends. As it happens, one of those friends sent the message to a U.S. senator and the end result was that Masters was invited to testify in the U.S. senate (and later in congress). The impact of his testimonies was big, and the timing was impeccable, since congress and the senate were already concerned with the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Masters’ ideas, meanwhile, were not received without skepticism. Especially among financial economists, the notion that trading activities on futures markets would have effects on the level of the spot price of the underlying assets was not something that was universally accepted.

Masters’ critics pointed to a number of possible flaws in his reasoning. A first criticism was fundamental to how markets in general are perceived: how could individual traders have an impact on the price on one market (futures market), let alone on the price on another

A Bitter Brew? Futures Speculation & Commodity Prices

market (spot market)? A possible counter-argument was that these were not individual investors, but rather a herd of institutional investors, all opting for the same investment style.

A second criticism concerned the impossibility of spillovers from futures to spot markets. In short, critics argued that since in futures markets for every party going long a certain future, someone else has to go short that same future, an increase in long demand (for example by index investors) cannot have an effect on the futures price, let alone the spot price. A possible counter-argument here is that, as in any market, if indeed demand goes up, and supply stays the same, then even if the equilibrium quantity does not change, the price will be adjusted upward.

A third and final criticism concerns what is referred to as price discovery: if new information appears, it should be incorporate in prices. Where does this happen first? What market leads and what market follows? The traditional argument is - according to some - that spot markets lead and futures markets follow. Of course, for commodities there is an additional factor that makes this relationship interesting: they can be stored. A producer can – perhaps – strategically decide whether or not to sell spot, opting instead to store the commodity and sell it in the future. The more we read about the issue, the more intrigued we got. All these issues raised were ‘open to debate’, and it seemed like what was required was a thorough empirical analysis that would take into account all the


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A Bitter Brew? Futures Speculation And Commodity Prices

concerns raised and would contain the production side of the story as well as the financial side.

So we did what all of do nowadays: google away. The loot from our search efforts was interesting: there was no paper that had really done what we thought needed to be done. However, we found pieces of the puzzle in various places: from work on commodity inventories to micro-market studies on style investing, and from papers on the effects of climate change on production to studies on market liquidity and arbitrage strategies. As with many research projects, once we got beyond the brainstorm face, reality set in: how to go about creating the paper we figured should be written? As it turns out, two things were crucial in our approach. Both ‘breakthroughs’ required some creativity though.

The first breakthrough came when we started reading the existing literature more carefully, as well as looking into detail at the data that we had about what was happening to prices. Both theory and empirics seemed to point in the same direction: if there is a relationship between futures markets and spot prices, that relationship is highly non-linear, it may change over time and the resulting effect on prices is likely to be very spiky: spot prices flare up as a result of futures speculation, and then the price settles back after a little while. Our first realization was that this could explain why the existing research had been so much in disagreement about whether or not there was this speculation effect: with traditional mean-variance techniques, these effects would be hard to capture and lots of uncertainty would persist about their significance. But how could we capture this type of effect?


We opted for a very different approach: instead of trying to estimate the relationship between futures market positions and spot prices, we were going to use a mathematical model, that was highly flexible, could easily cope with non-linearities and could be solved in a fairly straightforward manner. Better yet, the model we used was by no means new, but standard in productivity theory, where it was used to assess inefficiencies in the transformation from inputs into output(s).

The second breakthrough came on the theoretical front. How to understand what was going on in this interplay between futures and spot markets? In searching for relevant literature, I stumbled across a paper on … lettuce. The authors had written a paper about the Californian lettuce market. The idea behind the paper was to explain the distribution of profits in that market. Is it the farmer who makes a profit, or does he/she have to yield the profit to the wholesaler/supermarket? What determines who gets the money? Of course, there is at least one important difference between coffee and lettuce: whereas the former can be stored relatively easily, the latter has to be harvested within a relatively short period. We soon realized that for storable commodities, we could recycle the lettuce paper and model the interplay between futures and spot markets, essentially asking when (rather than where) profits were made.

“We were going to use a mathematical model, that was highly flexible, could easily cope with non-linearities and could be solved in a fairly straightforward manner.”

All this took time though. Meanwhile, Maarten graduated. He now works at Rabobank. Myself, I accepted an offer from Maastricht University and relocated here. This summer, finally, we finished the paper. And now a new PhD student is working on follow-up work, which I am really excited about.

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Working on this project has taught me some valuable lessons, which I think will influence future research as well. Let me finish this article by sharing three of those lessons.

1. The power of intrinsic motivation 2. Importance of using the appropriate tools 3. Reminder of how closely related ‘real’ and the ‘financial’ economy could be

Third and last, working on this paper was a reminder of just how closely related the ‘real’ and the ‘financial’ economy could be. Just like students are quick to point out that they are ‘economics’ or ‘business’ or ‘econometrics’, so do we as researchers. The truth is, we are often all looking at the same things – we just study part of the puzzle, and often from an interesting, but limited perspective… Jaap Bos Associate Professor of Finance Maastricht University

First, working on this paper was a nice reminder of the power of intrinsic motivation. From the beginning, the questions we asked while working on this research were questions that ‘hunted’ me, things that I wondered about, and I found myself reading up on coffee production, futures markets and all other things related also at times when normally I would not be working… Second, working on this paper has taught me the importance of using the appropriate tools to answer a research question. To put it bluntly: even though much of the economic literature is concerned with ‘optimal’ outcomes, with highly non-linear relationships and with complex relationships between variables, it seems that for most papers we turn to our ‘signature’ tool: the simple regression model. Regressions are great, but they are at their best when we try to say something about average reactions to changes in variables, and they are not that informative when things are not normal(ly distributed). What is our standard reaction in those cases? Change the regression. It is unfortunate that we do not consider all of the other tools in the shed…

A Bitter Brew? Futures Speculation & Commodity Prices

P.s.: if you want to know more about the coffee story, check out the information here: http://www.jwbbos. com/research/special-topics/speculation-and-commodity/


INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2

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INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2

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INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2

Most seen people at the sbe The Most Seen People at the SBE is a newly established series containing identical questions that will feature in total 20 persons from the university, who are seen the most by students. This second edition will bring to you interviews with Piet Eichholtz, Edward Peters, Carl Vandenboorn, “Mister Bike Guy”, Caroline Kortbeek, and Alexander Brüggen. Piet Eichholtz is Professor of Real Estate and Finance and chair of the Finance Department at Maastricht University. Most of his work regards real estate markets, with a focus on international investment, portfolio management and housing markets. He is famous for developing the Herengracht Index covering house prices from the construction of the Herengracht in the 1620s all the way to 2010. If you could choose any job position for one week, which one would it be? Why?

Since I love my current job, there is no other job position I would like to have. Being the head of the finance department at the School of Business and Economics is the best job I could ever imagine. What do you like about your current job?

First of all, it is the university atmosphere that makes my current job very special. It is intellectually stimulating, it provides me with all the freedom I want in my daily work, I have the possibility to teach, to interact with bright students, and also to do research. Furthermore, it still allows me to pursue my own business endeavours, which add immense value to my personal development.

cessful the Finance department is at the moment, considering that this was not the case when I took over. Moreover, I am very satisfied with how well – despite the critical economic time – the business enterprises I am involved in, e.g. Finance Ideas, perform. The craziest food you have ever eaten? Where have you done so?

Certainly, the craziest food I have ever eaten is the Durian fruit, which I was able to try during a conference in Singapore. The Durian fruit is a spiny oval tropical fruit containing a creamy pulp. Despite its fetid smell it is highly valued for its flavour and quiet popular in some Asian countries. Tell us, what book we should definitely read!

“Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty” from Daron Acemoglu and James Robinsons. It is by far the most convincing book about why some nations are rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine. What three advices would you give every student along?

1. Do what you think is important, not what others think is important. 2. Follow your heart! Don’t always be too rational about what you want to do in life. 3. Read a lot of books! Everyone reads newspapers and can bring this knowledge to the table. However, reading books really broadens your knowledge and horizon!

What has been your biggest success?

Without any doubt, the biggest success is my family. I have three clever children and a wife I love. Regarding my professional career, I am very proud of how suc-

Most seen people at the SBE


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Most seen people at the sbe Drs. Edward Peters is Managing Director of the School of Business and Economics at Maastricht University and member of the faculty board.

If you could choose any job position for one week, which one would it be? Why? I already have this job, next to my current position as SBE Director (which is already very fulfilling): I am also an active member of the supervisory board for a youth welfare and care institute, the Mutsaersstichting. This is a very thankful job, because monitoring youth welfare and care in what is often a very difficult phase of their lives, is also helping them to a successful future.

What do you like about your current job? I am very proud to work for an ambitious organization with intelligent colleagues and students. I can feel this energy every day. What is so important to me is being able to make a difference.

Carl Vandenboorn is Course Coordinator, Lecturer, and Tutor for several courses of the Finance Department of the SBE. In the recent past he has been with SCOPE|FOCUS on the International Financial Orientation in both Chicago and Hongkong as representative of the finance department.

If you could choose any job position for one week, which one would it be? Why? I very much like of course my current job, otherwise I would not be a lecturer in Finance. But If it were only for a week, I would choose to be the Monarch of the principality of Monaco. Confessing by my choice that Luxury, Sports and Polar-Expeditions in that perspective are a great combination. But I admire most Prince Albert II’ Charity fund for donating millions into various environmental projects , environmental protection, 20

What has been your biggest success? I am extremely proud of my wife and kids. They can each hold their own in good and difficult times. In my work, I am continuously proud of the people I work with for what we achieve.

The craziest food you have ever eaten? Where have you done so? A couple of years ago, I was on my way to Italy and stopped off in southern Germany. In a landgasthof (hotel), I saw they offered Knorrhuhn, thinking this was a chicken specialty. It turned out to be a small fish, full of fishbones. It was awful! Tell us, what book we should definitely read! I recommend “How organizations learn, innovate and compete in the knowledge economy”, by Amy C. Edmondson. The question this book answers is how to master the new art of teaming: it’s all about the people. What three advices would you give every student along? Especially for the SCOPE |FOCUS study organization the three F’s: 1. Finance is a lot of Fun 2. Find Friendship in the study association. 3. But also Focus on your study.

sustainable development and promotion of renewable energies. Back from Monaco leaving my one week job I can enjoy live with far less. I very much respect the beauty of nature in a nice hike in the Belgian Ardennes or just a walk through the nearby “Pays de Herve”.

What do you like about your current job? I am in a very privileged position being a lecturer in Finance, with multiple course (co-) coordinator ships in Finance and being commissioner, amongst others, in the decentral selection committee. What I like most in my current position are the dynamics in my tutorial groups while teaching. It is very interesting to observe the learning process of bright people. How could you not like to work with intelligent and interesting young people. As a tutor you sometimes see that some students have difficulties understanding difficult parts in courses. Explaining difficult concepts in easy terms is challenging. Bringing those concepts into a greater perspective often enhances understandability. The effort you take for those one or two students is often most Most seen people at the SBE

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rewarding. When students leave your group, you see sometimes that they are really grateful. This is exactly what drives me and what is most rewarding. The quality of our teaching stems from interactions in our small tutorial groups.

What has been your biggest success? Every day is a big success I would say. There should not be only one success as that would mark everything after that relatively less successful. If you can self-reflect after a day that you did something better than the day before I guess you are on the right track. If I touch something I always try to improve it or make it actually better. That can be a course that doesn’t run well or something completely else. In the context of my current position at the Finance Department, I have been rewarded with the best lecturer award at the Finance Department in 2010-2011, and with the Outstanding Tutor Award at our faculty last year for 2011-2012. The craziest food you have ever eaten? Where have you done so? Until now I could always resist on crazy stuff. First I should say that I really like Italian Restaurants and typically French ‘Cuisine’. But the craziest thing I ‘resisted’ was definitely Chicken Feet which is a delicacy in China. That was last June 2012 in Hong Kong in my role as Course-Coordinator of the Finance Field trip. A really great experience guiding 24 selected participants through the Financial Business centre of Hong Kong. An immaculate success. “Mister Bike Man“ is an established member of the SBE family. He and his colleagues optimize the bikeparking processes at the university and make the SBE‘s bike racks one of the best-organized ones in the Netherlands.

If you could choose any job position for one week, which one would it be? Why? Air balloon pilot, that is freedom! What do you like about your current job? It‘s easy, I meet lots of different

Most seen people at the SBE

Tell us, what book we should definitely read! I must say that I do not have so much spare time read many books. However, when I am on holiday I especially enjoy reading popular Finance related books either in the area of Behavioural Finance or those written in relation to the latest Credit Crunch. Examples are ‘When Genius Failed’ or ‘Too Big to fail’. What I really would recommend you are simply Financial Apps as Bloomberg and others. They are just great and perfectly fit to the time that I have left to keep track of all financial developments.

What three advices would you give every student along? 1. Exploit our PBL Group meetings more when studying. We have an unique 100% implemented PBL system that is not always used at its full potential. Dare to ask questions and participate in our nice academic debates that we have together to further create those nice group dynamics. Take most out of it! 2. Expose yourself to interesting people. Inside and outside our faculty! Learn from practitioners you meet already during your studies. 3. Enjoy every moment of life. When I was a student at our faculty I had the (financial) freedom to study another extra year which I spent totally on studying extra Finance courses outside the default track. Also my internship, at that time, during my thesis track gave me a lot of inspiration. I would recommend every student to arrange internships between the Bachelor and hopefully the Master track at our School of Business & Economics. people and I have no boss!

What has been your biggest success? Working in a do-it-yourself company!

The craziest food you have ever eaten? Where have you done so? Mexican food Tell us, what book we should definitely read! Platoon - its tense

What three advices would you give every student? 1. Put your bikes in the racks better! 2. Put your bikes in the racks better! 3. Put your bikes in the racks better!


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Most seen people at the sbe Caroline Kortbeek works at the Educational and Exams Office. She is in charge of making sure that everything works out at the exams. She organizes the logistics and the exam schedules. Further she announces the beginning of most examinations.

Dr. Alexander Brüggen is associate professor at Maastricht University. His dissertation “Incentives in Multi-Task Settings“ received the runner-up title of the “Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award” of the American Accounting Association.

If you could choose any job position for one week, which one would it be? Why? A student advisor at the SBE. I always like to help people and I like being in an international environment. Apart from my job as exam coordinator, I also have my own reflectologist practice at home. But I would choose a job position at the SBE, because I very much like it here.

If you could choose any job position for one week, which one would it be? Why? I would be a chef in a good restaurant. I like cooking and eating, that’s why.

What do you like about your current job? It is not straightforward. There are always different situations and sometimes it is very busy but sometimes rather calm. I like it that my work is not only behind a desk but I can also go to Examinations. Further I like to organize things, which is the essential part of my job.

What has been your biggest success? My daughter and that she became a fine lady. Last year I participated in a rowing competition in Maastricht with other colleagues. We managed to get second in the beginners group. I have liked the water since I was young, so the rowing competition last year was my biggest success. The craziest food you have ever eaten? Shark. I think I had this meal in a Belgium or Limburger restaurant. I thought it tasted very nice, but I‘m not very proud of having eaten it, because of how they catch the sharks.

Tell us, what book we should definitely read! Sartre „De teerling is geworpen“ [English title: „The Chips Are Down“]. It is rather short but still includes many interesting characters. The plot is mainly about a couple that was predestined to be soul mates from the beginning of their lives. What three advices would you give every student along? 1. Work hard, play hard, enjoy 2. Go travelling after and during your studies as much as you can. Experience the world. 3. Try to learn something in your education that you can use later. Learn in broader topics and don‘t only focus on your textbooks. Be curious and open minded! 22

What do you like about your current job? I like the freedom that we have as academics. I like the combination of research, tackling challenging questions, and the interaction with students. I also like the travels combined with my job, going to conferences and giving seminars here and there.

What has been your biggest success? Difficult to say. I cannot name one big success. It is a list of many things, professional and private. I received several awards for my research, which is a success, convincing students that Accounting is not that boring as frequently thought of is also a success. Being married to my wife is a success, combining two kids with work is a success. The craziest food you have ever eaten? I once ate caterpillars in Alice Springs (Australia). They were served in an Aboriginal Camp and I could not decline. They did not taste bad, but they have not made it on my list of my food favourites. Tell us, what book we should definitely read! Freakonomics (2005) by Levitt and Dubner. It provides good insights how economics works and help a lot in understanding our environment.

What three advices would you give every student? 1. Take your studies seriously. It is a privilege to be able to study. 2. Don’t be too career-focused. Enjoy student life and do the things that you like without thinking all the time whether it will “improve” your CV. I think sports, some hobbies or passions are much more important for a personality than some career-oriented activities. 3. Be critical and take things in your own hands.

Most seen people at the SBE

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Active Member Polos Sponsored by Koenen en Co

Koenen en Co sponsors study association SCOPE|FOCUS Koenen en Co is the trendsetting full-service consultancy for businesses in the southern Netherlands. The services delivered by Koenen en Co are not confined only to accountancy and tax advice. Its services feature a broad range of specialisms and full-service consulting for today’s businesses. The client base is made up of small and mediumsized enterprises, freelance professionals and non-profit organisations. Besides the attention paid to those clients, Koenen en Co also attaches great value to contact with students. There are contacts with various colleges and universities, but also intensive cooperation with many study associations.

There has been intensive and amicable cooperation with the study association SCOPE|FOCUS for many years now, and this academic year again Koenen en Co will be taking part in various activities, such as the “Nederlandse Kantorendag” and the End of Year Activity. Besides its participation in those activities, Koenen en Co is - like last year - shirt sponsor of SCOPE|FOCUS this year again. In October last, the new polo shirts for this academic year were proudly presented to the board members of SCOPE|FOCUS and, in the meantime, every active member of the study association has received a smart polo shirt. So in its contacts with SCOPE|FOCUS and the (future) employment market, too, Koenen en Co is versatile – together!

Bram Vandewall, Luc Nelissen, Joyce van Weert Active Member Polos


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Sigma Investments


n Friday the 7th December 2012 the student investments club of Maastricht University, Sigma Investments, was invited to an inhouse day at the headquarter of AEGON in The Hague. Sigma Investments regularly organizes company visits and other events so that members gain hands-on experience and connections with professionals in the field of finance.

The AEGON Group is an international life insurance, pension and asset management company and operates in over 20 markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. With more than 25.000 employees and nearly 47 million customers worldwide AEGON is one of the leading companies in the financial services industry. Established 1983 through a merger of the two Dutch insurers, AGO and Ennia, AEGON generated a revenue of more than 420 million Euros in 2011 with its investments. The main markets are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States in which it operates as Transamerica. With its first business in Taiwan 1993 AEGON began its expansion into the new markets like China, India or Hong Kong and employs more than 8.500 people in this region with underlying earnings before taxes of 212 million Euro. Furthermore, the AEGON Group supports and encourages sports and culture amongst many other things by being the primary sponsor of Ajax Amsterdam and other sports events for tennis and golf. Arriving at noon in The Hague the six participating members of Sigma Investments and its current board were warmly welcomed by Rogier van Aart from


AEGON by a personal introduction round and lunch buffet. Continuing the official part of the in-house day with a general introduction of asset management the students of Sigma Investments learned how AEGON´s business exactly works. Followed by the interactive presentation about European equities by Richard Schreuder one could gain a useful insight into the investments approach of professionals which is similar in its basic concepts to the approach used by Sigma Investments. Jacob Vijverberg explained in detail the role of macroeconomic factors in total stock returns in a presentation about economics and financial markets. During a workshop on expected returns for asset classes held by Rogier van Aart the participants had the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills learned during finance courses from Maastricht University on real corporate problems. This gave the students a great chance to close the gap between theory and practice, which is the main goal of Sigma Investments.

The official part of the inhouse day at AEGON ended with an interesting presentation from Marcel van Zuilen about government bonds. Interactive discussions about recent economic problems between the students and the professionals of AEGON enriched the inhouse day. The Euro crisis and its sustainable solution were one component of this presentation. Sustainability is also an established part of the business concept of the AEGON Group. In order to ensure that the interests of all stakeholders of the company

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Inhouse day at AEGON group are taken into account, sustainable business principles are contained in AEGON’s Code of Conduct. This includes customers, business partners, employees and shareholders of the company. For an effective sustainable business all of the 25.000 employees worldwide are bounded to theses codes which focus, inter alia, on transparency, responsibility and environmental friendliness. To ensure that the underlying principles are upto-date AEGON publishes its sustainability report every year, which also contains recent facts and figures about special employee training in the field of responsibility. For further information visit At the end of the inhouse day the members of Sigma Investments had the opportunity to talk to professionals and interns of AEGON in personal atmosphere while enjoying drinks and snacks in the lounge of the headquarter. Many questions about individual work experience in the field of finance were asked and kindly answered. Also the corporate application of theoretical concepts and knowledge learned during classes at university were topic of the conversation. At 6 p.m. the students headed back to Maastricht with new useful contacts to the professionals of AEGON, a motivating inside view in asset management and financial markets and inspiration for new investment ideas for their own portfolio.

Sigma Investments Sustainability is also becoming an important factor at Sigma Investments. Therefore, the establishment of a “Green Portfolio” is in progress which will consist of companies that have a large stake in renewable energies and environmental friendly investments. Currently Sigma consists of 30 active members and many guests who join our weekly meetings in which we manage a total value of more than 15000€. The weekly meetings of Sigma Investments take place every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the School of Business and Economics. We are always looking for interested students and new members. For further Information visit our or contact

webpage us via

Sigma Investments always welcomes new members. Therefore, if you would like to meet professionals in the field of finance, experience their work environment and learn many new things outside university at company visits or other social events, come and join one of the weekly meetings.

Christian Neumann PR Officer Sigma Investments

Inhouse day at AEGON Group


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Alumni Talk - Maarten Smit


alking business actually feels a bit awkward now, being only a few days away from a 3-month trip through Central America… I just finished my latest project at Deutsche Bank, to start with the next in April 2013 only. In between I will travel from Mexico all the way down to Colombia. The flights are booked, but the rest: we will see!

Maarten Smit Age: 29

Residence: Cologne

Employer: Deutsche Bank

Current Position: Senior Inhouse Consultant

FOCUS Committee: International Financial Orientation 2005, FS FOCUS Board 20052006, Council of Advice 2006 - today

Studies: BSc IB & MSc Financial Economics Year of Graduation: 2007

Favourite Drink: Living in Cologne - only one answer possible: Kölsch…

Craziest Food: Guinea pig and ants (in Peru)

Life Motto: “Never regret the decisions you made, but the ones you didn’t make!”


Following graduation in 2007 I continued to work at Atos Consulting, the company I completed my master thesis on pension in kind with. However, mid of 2009 I decided to move together with my girlfriend in Cologne and start working for Inhouse Consulting at Deutsche Bank. In comparison to my previous experiences in the external consultancy my current job offers various advantages: I don’t have to stay in hotels all-week long, but return home at night and meet up with friends instead. In addition, the clients are simultaneously colleagues of us at the bank, contributing positively to successful cooperation and long-lasting relationships. In the meanwhile, you get the opportunity to become acquainted with all parts of the bank, both in Germany and abroad, at existing businesses as well as at newly acquired units. Following the restructuring of a traditional part of the bank I went to Amsterdam to support the integration of the acquired activities of ABN Amro. Working together with colleagues from UK, Germany and the Netherlands one quickly understands that successful integration is all about culture. The project turned out to be very challenging, but extremely interesting and enjoyable too: in the office as well as outside office hours… What followed were a cross-regional introduction of a new approach at our Group Finance, the integration of the Postbank in Germany and the global roll-out of the agenda of Deutsche Bank’s new management team. All these projects make Inhouse Consulting the perfect launching pad for a successful career at the bank. As a result, most of the consultants change into a management position in one of the other divisions after the years with us. But for me another opportunity the job offers me is awaiting me first: my 3-month trip through Central America. No time left thus to start packing my bag. On to the next level in my career! Warmest regards, Maarten Smit

Alumni talk - Maarten Smit

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Alumni Talk - Vangy Villanueva


little bit more about me… Approximately two years ago I was enjoying my board year at (FS) FOCUS. It was one of the most interesting, dynamic and fun years of studying in Maastricht. I became part of the FOCUS family and met a lot of interesting people, especially my fellow boardies with whom I’m still in close contact.

After the board year I started with the Master Program from which I graduated in August 2012. As most recent graduates I was eager to get a job and start-off the working life in preferably a new city. Hence, I put all my effort into getting a traineeship in Business/IT which paid off quite fast with a Business/IT Consultancy Trainee position at the ABN AMRO Bank N.V. in Amsterdam. Considering that I signed the contract in September 2012 while the traineeship would not start until November 2012, I luckily had some time left to go on a little holiday, move to Amsterdam, and get ready for the working life. The traineeship took off with an intensive introduction week for all 31 trainees to get to know each other and ABN AMRO. The remainder of the 15 months consists of 3-4 individual assignments of 3-5 months at different departments and several personal development and field-specific trainings.

Currently, I’m halfway through my first assignment which is an IT project within IT Services whose main responsibility it is to ‘run the bank’. That is, keeping all IT within the bank running adequately to ensure that the bank can provide its daily services to the customer as it should. My assignment is to establish and implement an end-to-end reporting process that is initiated by an employee’s request for a report and closed by the delivery of the requested report. For this project I work together with several reporting and related specialists from both ABN AMRO and IBM. Although it has only been two months at ABN AMRO, I already feel at home and am very pleased with my trainee position. Before I always wondered why people would want to work their whole life at the same bank; however, I think I might become one of these people. It reminds me of the FOCUS family. Kind regards,

Vangy Villanueva

Alumni talk - Vangy Villanueva

Vangy Villanueva Age: 24

Residence: Amsterdam

Employer: ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Current Position: Business/IT Consultancy Trainee

FOCUS Committee: Board 2010-2011 (Secretary), IFO 2010-2011: Chicago Studies: BSc International Business , MSc International Business – Information Management Year of Graduation: 2012 Favourite Drink: Mojito

Craziest Food: I don’t do crazy food; only good food!

Life Motto: Aim for the stars. The sky is not the limit!


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SCOPE|FOCUS Committees We prouldy present to you all new SCOPE|FOCUS committees. At the beginning of this academic year, SCOPE|FOCUS recruited new active members for the following committees: Maastricht Business Days (in cooperation with SCOPE|3MA), Congress, Financial Experience D端sseldorf, International Financial Orientation, International Financial Master Class, Big-Four-Cycle, Nederlandse Kantoren Dag, Accounting Orientation Day, the Marketing-Finance Battle ( in cooperation with 3MA; picture will follow in the next edition), and the Social Activities Committee. Furthermore, two active members joined the INFOCUS committee.

INFOCUS committee

Christian Peters

My name is Christian Peters, I am 20 years old and I will be part of the INFOCUS committee for this academic year. Currently, I am studying International Business in my second year. My hometown, which is Aachen in Germany, is very close to Maastricht. However, I moved to this nice Dutch city about one year ago. Living in Maastricht is great and also gave me the opportunity to join SCOPE|FOCUS and really be active within it. My main interests at university are Accounting and Supply Chain Management and I am planning to do my major in Accounting. So SCOPE|FOCUS was a great choice, because the events they organize are in line with my interests. Only two months ago I became part of the INFOCUS committee. I wanted to be part of this committee to get in touch with different companies and get to know new people. Further, I enjoy writing interesting articles and it is also a great alternation to be able to write about something else than university subjects. I am really looking forward to the following INFOCUS issues and the work with Lucie and Paul. My name is Lucie Galloway, I am 19 years old and a first year IB student. I come from a very small village in the Lake District in the North of England where it seems to rain almost all year, so Maastricht is a pleasant change! I enjoy sports, particularly lacrosse and tennis as well as photography and traveling. I plan to pursue a career in banking within the Sales and Trading divisions with my particular interest being in the commodities markets.

Lucie Galloway


I am thoroughly looking forward to working as part of the INFOCUS team and intend to provide a variety of stimulating articles that will encourage readers to form their own opinions. Similarly within the alumni column, I hope that readers will be able to benefit from the advice and insight that is offered from their past and present experiences. I hope you will all enjoy the magazine!

INFOCUS Committee

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Maastricht Business Days Alena Klatte - Kay van Zonderen - Clarissa L端cken Marien Pastoor - Alina Engel - Anna Dierkes

Congress Niklas Peulen - Frederieke van Oppen - Helen Yearly Caroline Bruls - Lars D端rselen

Financial Experience D端sseldorf Anne Kircheisen - Christopher Kimmig - Jan K端nnen Max Weynand

International Financial Orientation Michaela Wrede - Maurits Muth - Raphael Teufel Paul Nuscheler SCOPE|FOCUS Committees


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SCOPE|FOCUS Committees International Financial Master Class Lara Luisa Schott - Bram Vandewall Vince Vollenbergh - Marc Godart

Big-Four Cycle Heleen Hermans - Tim Keiren

Nederlandse Kantorendag Ewgenij Streltsyn - Heleen Hermans

Accounting Orientation Day Jeroen Francot

Social Activities Jesper Nilsson - Nils Klemke - Maren Ostheim Pascalle Smeets - Lisa Ratz - Ferdinand Schwarz 30

SCOPE|FOCUS Committees

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Traders Trophy

Active Member Weekend

Banking Tour Committee

Frankfurt Banking Tour

Office work

Active Member Weekend

Game Night

Maastricht Finance Day

Active Member Weekend

Maastricht Finance Day

Game Night

Maastricht Finance Day



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Maastricht Finance Day


aastricht Finance Day 2012 – Land Your Future The Maastricht Finance Day is one of SCOPE|FOCUS’ biggest recruitment events of the year. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Maastricht Finance Day. In 2002, the United States implemented the Sarbanes Oxley Act in reaction to a string of accounting scandals that rocked the American business world. Since its introduction, the Sarbanes Oxley Act has had an enormous impact not only on the financial sector but on business in general all over the world. The year 2002 was also the year the United States invaded Afghanistan and it was the year when the ex-currencies of all Euro nations became obsolete. These three events occurred within a single year and they demonstrate just how exposed we are to a rapidly changing global environment. When looking at the past decade as a whole, it is not hard to see why it has been classified as one of the most turbulent in history. We don’t even have to look through a global perspective to find turbulent events. Summing all the live changing turbulences of the past ten years the individual readers of this article have experienced, one could gather a myriad of examples to prove this point. Our lives are very turbulent. This is the reason why the theme of the Maastricht Finance Day 2012 was chosen to be Land Your Future. Given that the Maastricht Finance Day is a recruitment event, it is important that the theme appeals to both students who are seeking a job or internship and companies who are looking to recruit the most talented people from Maastricht University in the field of Finance. In this case, it did just that.


The turbulence analogy holds for most business today. Just as firms were facing uncertainty and turmoil in the past ten years, they will face similar turbulence in the coming ten years. In order to land successfully, a capable and talented crew is necessary to anticipate or respond to drastic changes in the environment. Firms can find these talented and skilled people at Maastricht University where students are known to be hard working, intelligent problem solvers who have a lot of teamwork experience. The general orientation of the School of Business and Economics also ensures that students will not fear an international flight.

ASI, Banque LBLux, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Henkel, KPMG, L’Oréal, Optiver, PWC, Rabobank, Roland Berger, Shell and Unilever seem to have a similar view on the students of Maastricht University, as all of these firms took a step towards landing their future successfully by attending the Maastricht Finance Day 2012 (Will your company be among the participants next year? Inquiries to: MFD@SCOPE-FOCUS.NL).

Of course students who recently graduated or who will be graduating in the near future face uncertainty and turbulence as well. Finding a job, leaving university and the fact that their life as a professional adult is about to start can be overwhelming. The Maastricht Finance Day 2012 has smoothed this transition by matching the students with their potential future employers. Workshops, interviews and a company fair allowed the students to get into direct contact with recruiters and to get a feel for each specific company. Thus, students were not only able to land their own successful future but the Maastricht Finance Day 2012 enabled them to assess to what extent they can contribute to their

Maastricht Finance Day

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potential future employer’s success. A record of 226 subscriptions was achieved in 2012, indicating that the students’ interest in landing their future was very high. Naturally, the theme also applies to the organization of the event itself. If the pre event phase is described as the take off, then the Maastricht Finance Day itself would be seen as the landing. During the organization of the event the team faced turbulences as well; however, was able to overcome them eventually.

Right in the beginning the team faced a challenge when one team member took the opportunity to become a board member of SCOPE|FOCUS, which meant that he could no longer organize the Maastricht Finance Day. Luckily, a former board member joined the team and thus made sure that the planning for the event could proceed as smoothly as possible. The strong network of SCOPE|FOCUS helped to steer through this turbulence and it proved to be very valuable in a later stage again. Traditionally, one participating company is offered to open the Maastricht Finance Day with a speech or lecture that is related to current happenings in the financial world. Unfortunately, it was logistically not possible for that company to send a representative to hold this speech but thanks to the strong relationship between SCOPE|FOCUS and the School of Business and Economics, a suitable candidate was quickly found. Jaap Bos, associate professor of finance at the School of Business and Economics, quickly agreed to officially open the Maastricht Finance Day 2012. One of the things that proceeded without major turbulences was the promotion stage. This year the promoti-

Maastricht Finance Day

on stage stood out significantly from what students are used to at the School of Business and Economics. In line with the theme a small toy plane was placed in front of the faculty and equipped with typical pilot sunglasses and a pilot hat, students were able to take a picture while riding the plane. The student with the most exciting picture won a dinner at a renowned restaurant in Maastricht.

In the morning of the event day itself it was time for all participants to do what they came for: Recruiting and getting recruited. Fueled by coffee and tea, the students presented themselves during the first workshop round in the morning and sustained their enthusiasm throughout the day. The company fair turned out to be a highlight as well and the company professionals made sure that each student got time to talk about their potential future together. When the official program was over, all participants had the chance to network in a more informal setting during the evening drink, where representatives and students still made the effort to get to know each other as much as possible. Without major turbulences during the day itself the Maastricht Finance Day 2012 turned out to be a great success. For some students it was even a life changing event. Their future career prospects will depend on their choice of employer and if that choice was influenced by the Maastricht Finance Day 2012 then its mission, to help students (and employers) to land a successful future was completed. Turbulences will drive most of our lives and is up to each individual to choose their own tools to manage them. The Maastricht Finance Day turned out to be such a tool and I am convinced that in ten years time it will still have the same impact on people’s lives. By Jean-Jacques Frej Chairman Maastricht Finance Day 2012


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Frankfurt Banking Tour


n Tuesday the 20th of November 2012, a bus filled with twenty-five highly talented and motivated students, all individually selected by the participating banks, was leaving for Frankfurt to kickstart the beginning of three exhausting but certainly well-invested days. The ride of three and a half hours went by quickly as everyone was busy getting to know each other and speculating about what was going to be experienced throughout the upcoming days. Upon arrival in our lovely hotel next to the Frankfurt Zoo most people decided to grab a drink at a bar next door.

This social gathering did not take too long though, as the next day started early at 8.45am with a visit at Deutsche Bank’s twin towers. We were warmly welcomed by the staff from the Asset Management division, who gave us a short introduction into the corporation as a whole before getting into detail with their daily work and challenges. The program continued with a quite demanding workshop in which we were asked to develop a portfolio and subsequent sales strategy convincing a risk-averse client to invest in emerging markets funds. Preparing everything in Excel and subsequently presenting it to the client using PowerPoint was well accomplished by the students. The visit finished with a delicious lunch where further employees from various other divisions of Deutsche Bank came along to answer the many questions of the participants and just tell about their way to and work at this company. At 1.30pm the conversations, which could have continued the entire day, had to be interrupted as we needed to leave for the next bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, luckily located just around the corner.

After the pleasant visit at the Royal Bank of Scotland, which organized an interesting Trading Game for the students, the bank invited the students for snacks and drinks to a bar nearby. This gave us the chance to get in 34

contact with various staff throughout the entire Frankfurt division of RBS.

Thursday morning started with a generous breakfast at the office of Citi, in the heart of Frankfurt’s financial district. Students were able to get settled and already address a few questions concerning recruitment and the application procedure. This casual gathering was

followed by official presentations about Citi itself, trainee- and internship possibilities and job prospects. The subsequent workshop addressed daily obligations of the Mergers and Acquisition department by having us conduct a valuation of a target. Company representatives gave guidance throughout the preparation of the case and illustrated potential interview questions. After the presentation of the final results, students had again the chance to gain insight into the world of banking from Citi bankers.

After a quick lunch, the day proceeded with a company visit at Leonardo, a unique investment boutique that provides specialized advisory services in the area of Mergers and Acquisitions. The workshop was held in a meeting room with an incredible view over Frankfurt, and started off with a general introduction to the firm and its staff. The subsequent 6-hour workshop entailed a real business case and generally dealt with the topics of company valuation and financing of a leveraged buyout. Four competing groups of students, which simulated interested investors in, were supposed to come up with an offer price and a detailed strategy for the target. During the preparation phase, employees were available to answer questions. After almost 4 hours of preparation, the results were ultimately presented to Frankfurt Banking Tour

INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2

the simulated board of the target comprised of Leonardo employees, who engaged in an extensive question round to give a perfect depiction of real-life circumstances. The winning group was finally renowned with a bottle of champagne. After this intense afternoon, Leonardo generously invited the students to an Italian restaurant. The dinner provided a pleasant atmosphere to address plenty of personal questions concerning the day-to-day operations at a unique investment boutique. These conversations were further continued in the “Gecko” bar. Finally, company representatives and the student group decided to visit the well-renowned night club “Gibson”. The tremendous effort Leonardo took and the well-balanced combination of the real-life case study and the pleasant get-together was highly valued by participating students.

After a short night and a quick breakfast, the group got ready for an informative presentation by the Morgan Stanley team, who gave a good overview about the various internship and work options at different division throughout its company. Afterwards, the group had time for an extensive lunch, where everyone could go to his favorite food places in Frankfurt. In the afternoon, everyone pulled together their last energy to become exited for the last visit of the tour, which overall passed by so quickly. We were meeting in front of the largest building in Frankfurt belonging to Commerzbank. After receiving our visitor passes, we were taken up to the 49th level where we sat down in a room normally used for board conferences. Once everyone could refo-

Frankfurt Banking Tour

cus their attention from the stunning view on the city where we had spent the last few days, Commerzbank’s staff began with various insightful presentations. Firstly, we received general information on trainee and internship possibilities and the corporation as such. Then, three former Maastricht students each presented us how they got to Commerzbank and gave us many details on their daily work and what makes it special while never being reluctant to answer our questions. The meeting continued with a visit at Commerzbank’s very own trading floor, which was very impressive as it contains space for around 600 employees. The visit finished through an interesting question and answer round with the head of FX sales. Coming from Commerzbank, many students used the opportunity to have dinner before arriving at the Alumni Drink taking place at Kameha Suite. The event gave the participants the chance to informally get into further contact with people they had met during the bank visits during the previous days, as well as getting to know alumni working at other companies. None of the alumni was hesitant to answer questions or talk about their jobs. This event and the interesting conversations could have gone on for a lot more time; however, at 11pm the bus was waiting to take us back to Maastricht where we arrived at around 2am. Sophie Drügh, Milena Koch & Julia Trojanowska Frankfurt Banking Tour Committee 2012


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Traders Trophy


ne of SCOPE|FOCUS’s annually recurring events, in cooperation with the Dutch financial study associations, is the Traders Trophy. The Traders Trophy allows students to experience a real life simulation of being a market maker on the stock exchange. Besides being a great way to experience what market makers really do there is also an element of competition. The 5 best players of the pre-rounds will go to the national finals, where the winner will win two tickets around the world and €1000 pocket money. On the 27th of November the pre-rounds took place in Maastricht. Optiver, the main sponsor of the event, brought a huge stand to the Ad Fundum. Here the participants could get some last minutes tips from two traders and find out about interesting career opportunities at Optiver. However, the main attraction probably was Mario soccer on the Wii. A very fun game and a great way to relax or kick away your frustrations after an intense round of trading. Because there were about 100 participants the trading took place in three rounds, each with about 33 students trading at a time. A trading round would start with a general introduction about market making. Furthermore, they explained how the game worked and how you should set your quotes. Then the game started. If you had never played it before, then the noise and speed of the game can be overwhelming. You constantly receive phone calls by banks or opponents requesting quotes. It is key to provide them with a good quote in a split second and to keep an eye on your position and the market at the same time. To make it even more difficult, the game was stopped at several moments to quiz you on your market aware-

ness. Questions were asked about the current market price, your position and profit or loss, but also about the latest news. For many people this part was the most difficult as it is easy to forget such things in the hectic of the game.

At the end of the day the five best players were announced. Yours truly and former FOCUS activities commissioner Rinaldo Zopfi were among the lucky five who got to go to the finals at NYSE Euronext Amsterdam Stock Exchange on December 13th. Instead of dealing only one security we had to trade three securities during the finals. This of course made the game a lot more challenging. Furthermore there was the press to distract us. A good looking female reporter from PowNews (a cheeky Dutch news program) tried to distract the players by trying to seduce them during the game. Apparently though, the finalists were not interesting enough and the news item did not make it to the final broadcast. After an hour of heavy trading and fighting off the seductions of the reporter it was time for some champagne and the announcement of the winner. None other than our former activities commissioner Rinaldo Zopfi turned out to be the winner of this year’s Traders Trophy! Besides winning the two tickets around the world and the €1000 he had the honor to close the Stock Exchange by striking the gong at exactly 5.30pm. After the closing of the exchange we continued with the drink at the Stock Exchange’s bar and celebrated Rinaldo’s victory with some more beers, before returning home after an exciting day. Bram Vandewall


Traders Trophy

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Former board member Rinaldo Zopfi winner Traders Trophy Netherlands 2012. Our former commissioner activities Rinaldo Zopfi has become the winner of the fifth edition of the Traders Trophy Netherlands, the search for a new trader’s talent amongs universities worldwide. During the exciting finals at the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam, where the finalists traded in a simulated dealing room, Rinaldo proved to be the best in the categories efficiency, risk management, market making and trading knowledge. Rinaldo may represent the Netherlands during the worldfinals of the Traders Trophy in 2013. With a hit on the gong, Rinaldo celebrated his victory at the end of the trading day.

On behalf of SCOPE|FOCUS and all its members we congratulate Rinaldo with this big achievement!

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Geeky Game Night


s there something nicer, than playing a few games and having fun with friends and members of SCOPE|FOCUS after a demanding day at University? Well, I couldn‘t think of many things. So our Social Activities Committee organized a Game Night on November 12th, which took place at the Café Ma Van Sloun. The night’s motto was „Geeky Game Night“. The members were split up into eight different teams with nerdy names such as „Geeks in Love“ or „I Own My Nerdiness“. The aim of this night was, besides having fun together, to be the best performing team in four different games. There was one chief geek, who was recording the points and also explaining the rules for each game. Besides, his task was to prevent people from cheating. Luckily, he had his fellow nerds under control and the games were played according to the rules.

Each game demanded different levels of skill and also luck. So there was fun for every kind of nerdy gamer. The game that should be the most skill demanding that night, was Beer Pong. Here the skilled ping pong player might have had an advantage in throwing the ball into the opponent‘s cup. An extra difficulty was added by also using one smaller cup that counted for twice the points of a normal one. The next game that was played by the geeks, was Wii Tennis. After a few technical problems, that were solved brilliantly by the nerds, the Wii Tennis game was ready to start. The third game required some sensitive touch. At Looping Louie our geeks had to watch their chickens carefully and defend them against Louie. Fortunately, there was also one game for the lucky people. For Doctor Crocodile absolutely no skill was needed. This unpredictable children game was also great fun for the nerds. 38

After all the teams had played the different games more or less nerdy, there were two leading teams. „Revenge of the Nerds“, which was the smallest team with only 3 skilled players and „Life‘s better Geeky“. Both teams had earned more than 80 points and faced a playoff. The playoff was held at the Doctor Crocodile. The larger team „Life is better Geeky“ won the game night with 84 points in the end. But to be precise everyone was a winner that night. Most teams managed to win at least one of the nerdy games and further the geeks were happy to have found a nice end to their busy days. After the regular games, most members stayed at Café Ma Van Sloun to play a few more games and to chat and enjoy some beers. This night was also a great possibility to get to know all new active members of SCOPE|FOCUS and we all had a great time together at this fun Geeky Game Night. Christian Peters & Lucie Galloway

Geeky Game Night

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Wall street Party


OCUS on Wall Street, where the regular Tuesday night Preuverij drinks become a challenge for traders to grab a bargain price for drinks and the less knowledgeable to spend far more than they had planned to! The legendary night took place at Café C‘est La Vie, starting with a happy half hour giving everyone the opportunity to prepare themselves before the manic trading hours began.

The event provided a perfect opportunity for not only all the SCOPE associations members to get to know each other better but also for any Maastricht student to get to know the associations and other students in a fun if not somewhat slightly competitive atmosphere. With prices varying with the rate of consumption it took a concerted effort to maintain an awareness of the price and still have a good night. I am not sure to what extent this represents trading itself but for now it can at least be a small taste for what might be to come for some of the party goers!

Wall Street parties can arguably be seen as the only time when a market crash is a benefit. With the market crashing randomly throughout the night and all drinks dropping to an evening low the usually somewhat casual walk to the bar for another drink turned into a stampede. Orders - for what seemed like half the room - were being shouted with notes being waved about all over as people raced to get drinks during the crash. SCOPE|FOCUS managed to create its very own bear pit for one night only! A few individuals excelled in avoiding the stampede in gaining invaluable “insider information” as to the approximate time of the market crash and in doing so happened to conveniently situate themselves by the bar pre every market crash! All in all a great night by all whether you succeeding in playing the market successfully or let it beat you the next event promises to provided us with another evening of much entertainment!

Special thanks go to the Social Activities Committee who organized the sellout event and we look forward to the next Wall Street party with much anticipation! Hopefully by which time we will all have improved our trading skills! Lucie Galloway & Christian Peters

Wall Street Party


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Active member weekend


ummoned by the high court of SCOPE|FOCUS justice, active members joined together for a weekend of Law and Disorder also known as the infamous Active Members Weekend 2012. On arrival at our destination, Green valley all criminals were welcomed by four Panzerknackers (Active Member Weekend Committee), who escorted us to the “Court House” for the weekend. The weekend was sure to be a great opportunity for all active members to get to know each other better and of course a weekend of fun and entertainment, which happened to coincidently provide all with a break from the hard studying.

Divided into six different teams, the first challenge was for the groups to come up with team names. After an initial unveiling of names ranging from Gryffindor to The Kip Kips the High Court Judges (Active Member Weekend Committee) felt these names were a poor effort and provided no link to the theme. After much deliberation and consultation between groups, new names were created and the first points were on the board. With the themes of Law and Disorder the opportunity for a murder mystery case was too good an opportunity to miss! Each being assigned a knife (plastic for those safety conscious) to “kill” a fellow active member, we had to do so without the other criminals noticing. With all best intentions for the mystery to last the entire weekend within that evening at least half the members had died and it soon became a tactical game with teams desperate for as many points as possible! Also a riddle sheet was handed out to the teams. For each solved riddle the teams earned points.

After the classic games of charades and musical chairs provided everyone with much amusement the night continued with a Law and Disorder theme party. A 40

range of innovative costumes were worn including a gangster, sexy police women, Panzerknacker and also gay policemen. The Dirty Bike Gang, managed to coordinate outfits of bike thieves for the whole team. As the night continued, the several dance competitions most defiantly showed who the true professional were with the highlight of the evening being the superwoman morph and sheriff bunny’s dance ending in a leapfrogging finale. The evening for the majority ended after the crowing of the King and Queen of Limburg for best outfits and the best dancing performance. The title of Queen was awarded to superwoman morph and the King title was awarded to a retired army general. With another full day ahead, many took this opportunity to gain some sleep. However, a few brave soles continued to party long into the morning!

Saturdays activates started with a trip to Valkenburg, but as criminals don’t belong at a Christmas market, this one was left aside and all went to laser tech, which is also situated in the grottos of Valkenburg. There, the teams were mixed and the fun started. The laser tech names were as creative as the team names of the criminals and “The Hulk” really earned his name winning all his rounds. But there were also a few gamers who didn’t understand that one shouldn’t shoot his or her fellow teammates. So these special criminals earned minus points for their teams. After 2 to 3 rounds of the fun game and a few people having been sneakily killed for the murder mystery case, everyone was exhausted. After a look around Valkenburg and a photograph with Santa/Father Christmas the criminals headed back to the courthouse. At the courthouse the criminals were given some free time. Many took this opportunity to either have a nap, a hot cup of coffee or play dodge ball.

The evening promised to be just as good as the last; the Panzerknackers had prepared an awesome and demanding quiz about various topics ranging from history and facts about SCOPE|FOCUS to “How do policemen of different nations look like”. A particular highlight was describing how prisoners escaped using various goods such as a potato, chili powder or a green pen. The teams‘ answers earned several points for strange and most creative answers. The most anticipated event of the weekend was the team performances. The high court of SCOPE|FOCUS summoned the different teams for their final trial in which they had to prove their innocence Active Member Weekend

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and that they were a loyal member of SCOPE|FOCUS. For this the teams had prepared funny performances more or less timely before the evening.

but in the end the smart policewoman found the real wrongdoer, who was busted.

FOCUS Pocus also performed very magically and showed awesome dance skills. The high judges were especially appreciating the dancing skills of the beautiful FOCUS Pocus girls.

The last performance was by team BRAM, who made all the members sing many well known songs together such as “Yellow submarine” or “Piano man”. This was a very nice finish for the night.

The first team‘s, The Rosy Cops, performance was very creative. Someone had stolen a beer keg and the rosy cops made the female criminals to dance with them.

Coming to the top of the performances, the Dirty Bike Gang had to prove themselves before the high judges. They had written their own songs about their life of being a bike thief in Maastricht. They were in Gangsters paradise and also in many other songs. Some of their famous lines that made all the witnesses of their trial laugh, should be mentioned: „Been stealing all your bikes living in the gangsta’s paradise (Gangstas Paradise)“, or „There’s a new bike standing in front of me; I’m trying to make it all mine (Piano Man)“. Next the Sexy Alkipones performed. Their case was about their mascot, a kip that got stolen. A gangster and a Panzerknacker were accused for having stolen it,

Active Member Weekend

The Double D‘s were also creative in terms of pantomiming some other criminals. Besides they showed some nice dancing skills and made the high judges appreciate them by being very smart.

After yet another late night for the majority and a few individuals to just skip going to bed at all, the prize giving was a grand finale to an amazing weekend. For their very creative songs the Dirty Bike Gang was awarded the overall winning team of the active member weekend. The members had a great weekend together and made many new friends along the way. The Active Members Weekend 2012 was very well organized by the four Panzerknackers and much fun for all of us actives and certainly an experience we won’t be forgetting anytime soon! Lucie Galloway & Christian Peters


INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2

SCOPE|FOCUS Activity agenda January New Year’s Drink, January 17th

General Member Meeting, January 21st

SCOPE|FOCUS Ski Trip, January 26th - February 3rd

February Active Member Information Evening, February 5th

SCOPE|FOCUS recruits new active members for the Maastricht Finance Day 2013, the Frankfurt Banking Tour 2013, and the Congress. Potential applicants will receive detailed information about the activities and opportunities SCOPE|FOCUS offers. Multinational Battle, February 5th - February 21st

Ernst & Young Luxembourg Inhouse Day, February 20th

FOCUS on Wall Street, February 26th

Accounting Orientation Day, February 27th

March Maastricht Business Days, March 12th - 13th

Maastricht’s largest recruitment event will be organized for the 18th time and will serve as a platform for students and companies to expand their network and get to know each other. This will be done by means of presentations, workshops, personal interviews, an information fair, networking drinks, and recruitment dinners. For more information: Nederlandse Kantoren Dag, March 20th

April PWC Luxembourg Inhouse Day, April 17th Kempen & Co Inhouse Day, April 17th Active Member Day, April 21st 42

For more information about all upcoming SCOPE|FOCUS activities and career opportunities, visit or follow us on facebook or linkedin! SCOPE|FOCUS Activity Agenda

INFOCUS - Volume 10 - Issue 2

ur n yo o S FOCU



Wishes You a Great and Successful Year 2013


Paul, Luc, Carlijn, Thur, Luisa, Bram, Raphael


Kunnen we jou een balans­ totaal van 100 miljard toevertrouwen?

Met een eigen vermogen van ruim €10 miljard en een premieomvang van €20 miljard zijn we het grootste verzekeringsbedrijf van Nederland. Dat betekent een enorme verantwoordelijkheid als Financieel Management Trainee bij Achmea. Een uitstekende start van een veelbelovende carrière bij Achmea. Kijk op voor meer informatie.

Kunnen we jou onZe Klanten toevertrouwen?

solliciteer als Financieel management trainee


InFOCUS 2013 Volume 2  
InFOCUS 2013 Volume 2  

SCOPE|FOCUS is the financial study association of Maastricht University for students interested in finance, accountancy, and controlling. Ou...