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Roderick Munsters

Roderick Munsters studied Business and Financial Economics, has a successful career in investments and was appointed CEO at Robeco Group in 2009. While studying he undertook many activities.

"It makes you a more mature, better person. Because of the failures as well as the thrills you get when you succeed."

Why did you choose to study at Tilburg University?
"My father introduced me to Henk Goris, Financial Director at Philips at the time. The experiences he shared appealed to me and confirmed my interest in economics. Because of the reputation I considered studying in Rotterdam or Tilburg. Rotterdam’s reputation was a little stronger, but during the information session you were put in front of a video screen, because the lecture hall was filled to capacity. Tilburg was smaller and more appealing."

Who was your favorite professor and why?
"Two professors I owe a lot. Professor Piet Duffhues, at the time Associate Professor, with whom I also worked as a student-assistant, is an open and enthusiastic man. He helped me with my thesis on securitization. Piet Moerland, now CEO of Rabobank, was my professor at graduation. Later Professor Duffhues helped me switch jobs from a marketing position at Esso to a financial position at Interpolis. He made his mark on my development in the financial world and I always stayed in touch with him. In addition, Jacques Sijben, professor at TiasNimbas Business School, bon vivant and enthusiastic storyteller, got me interested in monetary economics. With both professors I have a warm, personal connection. The human touch, that’s what it’s all about."

Do you have an interesting anecdote from your student days?
"My thesis topic, trading in debt securities (securitization), was a new phenomenon. Since then it has boomed and the market became more transparent. That has contributed to the crisis we are now in. That’s a bizarre sensation.

" I learned a lot from all the extra-curricular activities I undertook while studying, from starting a consultancy for small and medium sized enterprises, teaching students and organizing symposia. It makes you a more mature, better person. Because of the failures as well as the thrills you get when you succeed."

What has your career been like?
"I started my career in a marketing position at Esso, but that was not a good fit. After a year I switched to the financial world. In different positions at companies like Interpolis, PGGM and APG, my job gradually changed from investments to being responsible for the company’s results and motivating people in my position as CEO at Robeco. Inspiring people to be their best and giving direction, that’s my job now. I’ve constantly worked with pleasure with people, who are driven and who have challenged me and have given me opportunities."

What are your future ambitions?
"Plans I don’t really make. I have never applied for a position, I was asked every time. I want to be surrounded by qualified people, enjoy my work. As CEO you can set your own agenda and that suits me fine. I’ll work for another twenty years and who knows what will cross my path."

What role has Tilburg University/School of Economics and Management played in your life and how did it influence your career?
"Tilburg University is a place where you build knowledge and skills, where you feel at home and many extra-curricular activities are offered. I have greatly enjoyed those days, gained a lot of experience and made contacts for life."

Does Tilburg University/School of Economics and Management still play a role in your life, and if so, which?

"Through connections with professors. fellow students and fraternity members, by cooperating with the Tilburg Center of Finance and Netspar and by giving the occasional lecture I stay in touch with the university."