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Berry van Gool

Berry van Gool studied fiscal economics and graduated in 1997. After a career of 15 years in the banking sector, he got the opportunity to become managing director at football club Willem II in 2013.

"You never know what is going to happen in the world of football. You can be targeted before you know it, which is why I live day by day as much as possible."

Why did you chose Tilburg University?

"In 1991 I was trying very hard to become a professional football player at Willem II, so it was obvious to choose Tilburg University. I was interested in trade, economics and entrepreneurship so decided to enroll in the fiscal economics program. It was not a well thought out decision. When eighteen, most teenagers do not know what they really want. Neither did I."

Who was your favorite professor?

"I would not be able to name one. Maybe that says something. If I had to make the decision right now, I do not know if I would choose fiscal economics again. The main reason I decided to choose that program, was that not many students were doing it."

Is there an interesting anecdote from your student days?

"My time as a student was fantastic. It is not without reason that it took me six years to graduate. I learned a lot during my student days, taking the first steps being independent. Living on your own, being responsible for everything yourself. Exploring life and discovering yourself. Nowadays I meet a lot of young people that, by studying really hard, graduate in no time, but boy, there is so much they still have to learn as a person."

What has your career been like?

"As a young player at Jong Brabant in Berkel-Enschot, I was scouted by Willem II. At the age of 19 I quit my aspirations of becoming a professional footballer. I made this decision, when I realized that I would not become the new Marco van Basten. On top of that I had to make a serious effort in order to keep up with my studies.

I started as a fiscal specialist at PWC, but in 1998, after one year, I transferred to Van Lanschot Bankers. There I was able to work for and with people. Besides a short period where I was at ABN AMRO, I worked for Van Lanschot in several different positions, lastly as branch director. In 2013, the position of managing director at Willem II became vacant and I realized: if I ever want to experience something special, I have to apply for that job. And that is exactly what I did."

What are your future ambitions?

"You never know what is going to happen in the world of football. You can be targeted before you know it, which is why I live day by day as much as possible."

What role has Tilburg University/School of Economics and Management played in your live and how has it effected your career?

"Life as a student was easy going, cycling from the campus to the city center. I did not study at my student room of three by three, but in the university library with all the other students. I got to know new people and made friends with whom I still meet up. I met my wife Kim Ardon at the university. Your student days are crucial for your personal development. I loved it."