Hi! My name is Koen van Wissen. For the past three years, I’ve been working at VB Advisory following my Master’s in Quantitative Finance. As of this year, I hold the role of Managing Quantitative Consultant.
“Could you tell us something about your path towards joining VB Advisory?”
Ha, apart from the usual part-time jobs and an internship at a large Dutch bank, this path was actually fairly short. I found VB Advisory after the LED (Landelijke Econometristen Dag) in a brochure. I was still eager to find a thesis subject so I contacted VB Advisory hoping they had one available for me. After two great conversations with Guillamo and Diederick, the founders of VB Advisory, I wrote my thesis with the company. The subject was the hedging capabilities of cryptocurrencies, with respect to more standard financial markets. Simultaneously I started working on a client project, which I enjoyed so much that I decided to stay, which has now led to this interview.
“What kind of projects do you do at VB Advisory?”
I’m happy to say it’s becoming a nice list. I started by developing a new Credit Risk Model in the retail department of a large Dutch bank. After that, I joined another client as a Quantitative Developer related to the IBOR Transition. There, I’m still part of the team, continuing to work on the latest models for financial instruments. Apart from that, I also work on a Market Risk-related project at a global Asset Manager.
Within VB Advisory I set up some personal projects related to modeling cryptocurrency markets and developing forecasting models for E-sports matches. Outside of that, I also supervised multiple people in writing their thesis at the company.
“Why did you choose VB Advisory?”
During my studies, I found that I need a fast-paced environment to stay focused and continue learning new things. Therefore, the variety of projects and requests you get at a consultancy firm is a perfect fit for me. Outside of that, I greatly appreciate the flat hierarchy and personal work environment that VB Advisory promotes. At VB Advisory, employees are more than just a number, as a lot of attention is being paid to personal development and wellbeing. When I started at VB Advisory three years ago as their fourth consultant, the work environment was what initially attracted me.
Fast-forward to today and we have nearly 30 employees, while still promoting the same culture. We are a young group that wants to perform and deliver great things but there is also enough room to do fun things as a team.
“What sets VB Advisory apart?”
The feeling of being part of a close-knit team. We are a social group who assist each other where needed. Apart from that, the flexibility of the company and the focus we have on the happiness of the client as well as the employee.
“What did you study and why?”
I’ve always had an affinity for numbers and problem-solving and I was aiming to do something related to this with my work. Through a family friend I came in contact with the study of Econometrics in Rotterdam, which perfectly matched the subjects that I was interested in. After completing my Bachelor’s in combination with a minor in Tokyo, I continued with a Master Quantitative Finance, which I successfully completed as well.
“What do you do in your time off?”
Sports! I used to play football for over ten years, but since a couple of years, I get my sports in by going to the gym. I enjoy being able to measure my progress as well as the satisfaction after a workout. Apart from that, I enjoy visiting festivals during the summer or having a few drinks on a terrace with friends. If I’m off for a longer period of time I like to travel. Japan, Australia, and South Africa are currently at the top of my list.
Fun facts about Koen….
“What does your ideal Sunday look like?”
Sleeping in! Followed by “breakfast” at By Jarmusch. Quotation marks because my girlfriend and I usually arrive after 12. Apart from that, we often go to the gym together on Sundays and if the weather allows, we like to have dinner in the park near our place. Usually, we bring a BBQ and just enjoy a relaxed afternoon, sometimes joined by friends. In the evening, we often watch a movie. It’s mainly a day that doesn’t require us to think a lot and enables us to relax by doing things we enjoy.
“In which country would you like to live outside of The Netherlands?”
Japan! During my study, I did a minor for half a year in Tokyo and ever since I have had some extra fondness for the country. I would like to go back once, even if it’s just for this “Gyudon” place near my old apartment. Don’t think I’ve ever had food as good at that dish since.
Dilemmas with Koen…
“Coffee or tea?”
Coffee. A lot of coffee usually.
“Breakfast or no breakfast?”
“To speak or to listen?”
“Not a day without?”
Hmm, I guess food? I’m always looking for food and my colleagues at the office usually joke about the amount of chicken I’m eating. Also, I visit the snack drawer at the office daily so I guess I can’t go a day without those.