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SBIT Alumni Stories (2): Which way can you go?

By October 1, 2017April 2nd, 2024No Comments
Reading Time: 4 minutes

In this column, we reunite former SBIT members with the current generation; what are the possible paths they can take after studying Information Management, and how best to prepare for this journey? In this second edition, I talk to Pim Smulders, junior IT Advisor at Baker Tilly Berk since mid-2016.


I followed a Bachelor’s in Economics and Computer Science, now part of Business Economics, after which I did a Master’s in Information Management. During that period, I also did a board year at SBIT. After my master’s, I decided to travel for six months before I started working at Baker Tilly Berk. 

What is your fondest memory of SBIT?

What I like most about SBIT is that it provides a good opportunity to build connections with possible future employers, as well as with the other members of SBIT and ASSET. You can then also use these connections to hear experiences when they start working (and thus can tell what it is actually like to work at that particular company). All that apart from all the fun you have with a fun group of students.

How did you end up at Baker Tilly Berk?

Baker Tilly Berk contacted SBIT during my board year to explore what they could do for each other and that’s the first time I heard about the company. I became interested and decided to apply for an internship. During my internship, I had the opportunity to work full-time on my thesis and get a taste of the work I am actually doing now. 

You chose Baker Tilly Berk, which is not one of the Big Four. What differences do you see with the Big 4 and why did you ultimately choose Baker Tilly Berk?

As far as I’m concerned, the work of the Big 4 compared to a slightly smaller firm is about the same, so that’s not going to make the difference. For me, the difference at such a large firm is partly in corporate culture and in the type of clients you deal with. Ultimately, you have to weigh up for yourself which culture you fit into best. You are obviously going to make it easier for yourself if you choose a company you feel most at home with.

How are your activities now at Baker Tilly Berk compared to your activities during your internship?

During my internship, I was mainly working on my thesis, which was my intention. This did make it a bit difficult to get an idea of the work being done. A nice solution to this was that I was able to visit a client together with a Baker Tilly Berk consultant every now and then during my internship.

How do you see the outlook in terms of employment in Information Management?

Information Management is hugely important and relevant right now. Chances are that this role will only become more important in the future. It can go two ways: a study like Information Management can grow and develop enormously or other studies will apply the concepts of Information Management in their own fields. Perhaps this is better explained with an example: at my current job, I spend a large part of the year supporting the accountant in carrying out the annual audit. Now, my role in this may become increasingly important, but it may also be the case that accountants are increasingly becoming IT accountants and my role will shift more towards specialist knowledge. For now, the career opportunities in Information Management are very good.

Are there any friends who chose a completely different direction after the Information Management master’s?

Of course, there are always exceptions, but as far as I am concerned, the usual streams can be divided into two major ones: consultancy and management. With management, I mean that you move up within one company, and with consultancy, you go from your company to clients to do your work there. Within consultancy, then, with regard to IT, you again have two major streams: IT auditing and IT consulting. I saved myself a choice and now work at a company where auditing and consultancy are combined.

What differences do you notice when you now look back at your friends who stayed in the Tilburg area after graduation and you yourself decided to leave Tilburg?

After my studies, I decided to live in Utrecht because of my work. What I noticed with moving to Utrecht is that it really is a new chapter. My fellow students who still lived in Tilburg could continue the student life alongside working and that is a bit different when you also move to a new city. At least, that’s how it went for me. Both situations have advantages and disadvantages, of course.

Have you ever had moments during your work as an IT consultant when you thought, I should have paid more attention to this during my studies?

During my studies, I had several courses on IT Governance. Those subjects covered frameworks and models, which at the time I thought I only had to memorize once. I now find that I quite often refer back to those subjects to help clients in ‘mastering’ the IT environment. During the lectures, you will hear everything once, but exactly what it will look like, you only find out later once you start working with it.

I would like to thank Pim for taking the time to share these experiences with us. Interested parties will now hopefully have a clearer picture of the path you took to the position of junior IT Advisor!

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