Not just getting from A to B quickly and cheaply   

Not just getting from A to B quickly and cheaply   

12/14/2022 - 12:34

ProRail was not at the top of her list when Maam van der Blij went to apply for a job. So how did she – after a Double Degree in Logistics and a Master of Science in London – end up on that track anyway? 
Logistics NL

Interview: Maaike Dukker-’t Hart 

‘That has been a real switch of mind,‘ laughs Maam. ‘Sorry, that’s the customary joke in our office. Indeed, a job at ProRail did not seem very sexy to me, but really, the railways are not as grey and stuffy as they once were.’ 
Maam graduated in 2017 from BUas (then NHTV) where she spent four years at the location next to the municipal offices at Claudius Prinsenlaan in Breda. Today she is walking around the new BUas campus and cannot believe her eyes. ‘It has become so beautiful,’ she declares. ‘I knew they were going to buy the convent – wow – and that’s where the restaurant of the hotel school is? I will definitely come back with some former fellow students sometime!’ 

Two study programmes at the same time, why would you do that? ‘That took a bit of switching too,’ says Maam. ‘I was good at economics, but I didn’t want to study economics, I found that quite boring at the time. Technology appealed to me more, so I chose Logistics Engineering in Breda. With a few extra subjects each year, I was able to also do the economics side quite easily and now I also have a bachelor’s degree in Logistics Management, which looks good on my CV,’ she concludes.  
Risk Analysis 
And a Master of Science from King’s College in London also looks quite good on your CV. ‘It does, and yet that was not the main reason I chose it,’ says Maam. ‘For me, the bachelor’s degrees were too much about getting from A to B quickly and cheaply, and not yet enough about sustainability and responsibility. BUas’ Master’s in Supply Chain Management did not yet exist and I was afraid that another master's in that direction would also have that focus on efficiency. So I chose something else, Risk Analysis!’ 
Political agenda 
‘I was quite interested in development aid at the time, which connected well, because the master’s I did in London is mainly about differences in views on risks, from politics, society and the media. Politicians are very good at highlighting a piece of research, magnifying it and using it for their own political agenda. Thinking critically about this is what I learned especially in my master’s. And of course, the experience of living in London was also special!’  
Not quite the right track 
‘When I started applying for jobs, I initially wanted to do something with risk management. I applied to municipalities, for instance, for positions in which I would have to work out scenarios in case of disasters, but I didn’t feel I was on the right track with that. Then I started looking more in the field of business administration, I wanted to be socially responsible and at least not make the world a worse place with my work.’ 
Master planning 
‘I certainly feel this social commitment at ProRail. Public transport connects, you can see that when there are strikes, people really miss it. I cannot solve staff shortages, but as Portfolio Manager at ProRail I do contribute to making public transport attractive to travellers. Together with colleagues, I work on a master planning scheme in which maintenance and renewal projects are combined as much as possible, for instance during a weekend. That is not necessarily cheaper, but for the traveller it means fewer hold-ups.’  
Logistical puzzle 
‘Such master planning is quite a logistical puzzle, but I like that. When I started, there was only a simple Excel file; now we have built a tool in which we can display the entire project portfolio. We work in a diverse team and there is plenty of room to provide input for a more sustainable approach to projects. Furthermore, you get a lot of freedom to develop yourself. For example, I work one day a week on a study at the TU Delft where I look at how our work is done abroad. You hear, I am secretly holding a Promo Talk for ProRail, we could really use some new colleagues!’