Wanted: fast learners and all-round team players

Lisa van Bekkum (FI, 2019) and Rutger Delhaas (FI, 2020) swap notes on their shared paths to roles at Rabobank – and why a sense of belonging is so important.

Lisa van Bekkum (FI, 2019) and Rutger Delhaas (FI, 2020) sit in the entrance lobby of Rabobank HQ in Utrecht

When Rutger Delhaas (FI, 2020) began his internship in the M&A division at Rabobank, there was one person who knew exactly what he was going through: his colleague Lisa van Bekkum (FI, 2019). Just 12 months before, she herself had been the intern.

“I hadn’t met Lisa before I started at Rabobank,” says Delhaas, “but I knew we were following the same trajectory, just on different timescales. When I was an intern, she was already an analyst. We worked together and, partly because we had studied the same course, I found it very easy to reach out to her.”

Van Bekkum praises the way Delhaas slotted smoothly into her team. “He was one of the interns I worked closely with on a live deal. He knew a lot from the start and picked things up very quickly. I told him I had been in his shoes just months before, and encouraged him to reach out to me in case of any questions, big or small.”

There was, of course, one point of difference between the two: the pandemic hit just as van Bekkum finished her internship, while Delhaas was very much in the eye of the storm. “I was so glad I was able to spend those first months in the office,” says van Bekkum. “The long hours are much more enjoyable when you are all together, making jokes and asking questions.”

But when it became clear that everyone would be working from home for the foreseeable future, it was easy for van Bekkum to move into working online in her new job as an analyst. “I already knew my team in person. But for the next year’s interns, like Rutger, who started out online, it must have been super difficult to make an overall impression.”

In fact, when van Bekkum started her internship, she had been amazed by how quickly the team involved her in their projects. She wanted to give Delhaas and the other interns that same sense of belonging – even if it was virtual. “I told them funny stories about things that happened when we were all in the office so they know what the team is like and how the ambience would be when we were all back together.”

Delhaas meanwhile was getting a feel for the job. “Working in M&A is demanding and no one is sure when they start out whether they will like it. I saw the internship as a way to find out first and foremost whether it was for me. And then work out whether Rabobank was the place to do it. It needs to be a good fit for both sides.”

He also appreciates the support he has received. “Rabobank has turned out to be a very good fit for me – I’m surrounded by knowledgeable people and mentored in a team from which I’m constantly learning.”

It was exactly the same for van Bekkum. She had decided in her second bachelor’s year that she wanted to work in M&A – “I enjoyed the mix of commercial and financial, working in different industries, the dynamism” – and a two-day investment banking business course (Best of Both Worlds) hosted by Rabobank and Clifford Chance introduced her to Rabobank.

“I also considered applying in London, but during the business course, I quickly learned that Rabobank M&A stands for the same, high-quality environment, with a more balanced work-life dynamic. I really enjoyed my internship with the Rabobank M&A team, and could not wait to get started. And 24 months on, I still feel the same excitement as on that first day. I am so glad I followed my instincts.”

Do you have a story of an internship you took while studying at RSM? We’d love to hear from you at