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Lex Meijdam

Lex Meijdam studied Econometrics and Operations Research, graduated in 1984 and received his PhD degree in 1991. After a successful career in academia he is now Dean of Tilburg School of Economics and Management.

Our motto Understanding Society means we want to have an impact on society and strong ties with the private and the public sector.

Why did you choose to study at Tilburg University?

“Because I was good at math and had social interests I wanted to study econometrics. After growing up in the Bommelerwaard I wanted to spread my wings and considered moving to Groningen. However, during the information day at Tilburg University I was overtaken by the pleasant atmosphere and nice and small scale of the campus. The time the university was called the ‘Karl Marx University’ was behind us, but the social engagement was clearly felt.”

Who was your favorite professor and why?

“In his lectures Professor Schouten addressed current issues like wage moderation, which tied in well with my social interest. But Professor Van de Klundert taught me at least as much economics. Also Professor Talman’s lectures, often in small groups, made a big impression.”

Do you have an interesting anecdote from your student days?

“There’s not one specific anecdote I can tell, but it was a great time. The study association for econometrics, of which I was a board member, was established and I participated in many activities. I also worked as student-assistant for Aart de Zeeuw, now Professor in Environmental Economics. In those days professors and students had contact often, which was very valuable.”

What has your career been like?

“After graduating in 1984 I joined the econometrics department as research assistant. After a year and a half I changed to the economics institute at Radboud University in Nijmegen where I wrote most of my doctorate thesis. In 1990 I returned to Tilburg University at the economics department. Because of my interest in macroeconomics and public economics this was a better fit. Professor Van de Klundert was my promoter and in addition to my regular position (assistant- and later Professor) I held several board positions, for example Vice Dean Education and Academic Director at Netspar. Since January 2013 I am Dean at Tilburg School of Economics and Management.”

What are your future ambitions?

“I’m not a planner, but I hope to do a good job the coming four years. This means we’ll strengthen our top position in research and education and the recent introduction of Research Based Learning is a good step in this direction. The school will have to be financially sound and valorization is high on our agenda. Our motto Understanding Society means we want to have an impact on society and strong ties with the private and the public sector.”

What role has Tilburg University/School of Economics and Management played in your life and how did it influence your career?

“It is clear that Tilburg University already for more than half my life plays an important part and I consider this my second home. The university is a good employer, the lines are short and there are many opportunities for development. Here people can reach their full potential.”

Do you have any advice for current students?

“Take advantage of the opportunities offered and enjoy it. Move into a student house; participate in the international exchange program. Don’t let the job market guide you too much, but follow your interests.”