I come from a family that’s been in the hospitality industry for ages. My grandfather used to own a hotel, so hospitality is in my blood. After completing my studies at Hotelschool The Hague, it seemed like a logical next step for me to enter the business, too. When I turned 33, I stopped and asked myself what it was I really wanted to do, and I quickly came to the conclusion that I wanted a job where I was in charge. When I was offered a position at ABN AMRO, it didn’t take me long to make up my mind. After all, what could be more meaningful in terms of my own personal development than to see what it’s like to sit on the other side of the table?
Although there are about 6,000 people at the head office in Amsterdam, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how personal the interaction is there.
Vincent Karsten Procurement Consultant
Procurement is about knowing everything there is to know about purchasing and working with ABN AMRO’s suppliers. We carry out procurement processes for products and services starting at €50,000 for all the entities making up the bank, the international offices and the subsidiaries. When it comes to travel procurement, we help source transport and accommodation for employees who travel for their jobs, both in and outside the Netherlands. I don’t just focus on procurement, though – I also make sure our services are up to date. It’s a real challenge! I have close dealings with various colleagues who book travel arrangements. Communication is key, since it’s about meeting the expectations of multiple players: those of an external provider, the internal stakeholder and my own colleagues. Striking the perfect balance is a must.
A project-based approach
I’m currently putting together an interesting project called MICE, which stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions. I’m responsible for implementing MICE to ensure our use of remote locations is both efficient and cost-conscious. Obviously, my sixteen years’ experience in the hotel industry is crucial here. Our aim is to reduce the number of suppliers, while working more closely with the suppliers we’ve chosen. I’ve made price agreements with these suppliers and will be posting them shortly on the intranet. Booking remote locations will soon be much easier and more transparent.
Hospitality and personal attention
I’ve been working at ABN AMRO for just over three months now. Although there are about 6,000 people at the head office in Amsterdam, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how personal the interaction is there. In my own department, for example, there’s definitely a lot of camaraderie, and we all help each other out. I was quickly accepted by the team, and there’s a really strong bond there. Just the other day, a colleague said to me, “It’s like you’ve been working here for five years.” I see a similarity here with the hotel business – hospitality and bringing people together. It’s about personal attention. Of course, there’s still room for improvement here at the bank – listening carefully to clients is important, and we’re getting better at it. I’m glad to do my bit. Service and hospitality are close to my heart. And that’s why I enjoy my job!