Career advice from Judith Koetsveld

Published on: 19 Jul 2021

Judith Koetsveld has taken her business administration background and built a career at Bisnez, a consulting and project management firm. Top of Minds talked to her about her career, choices and challenges.

“Say what you want. You’ll be surprised how much people can and will help you if you do.”

Tip 1: Trust your intuition
Judith is a project manager at Bisnez, a specialist consulting firm working in strategy execution and predictable management. A career in consulting wasn’t the obvious path for Judith in college. She studied technical business administration in Twente, with a focus on financial engineering and management. She did her thesis project in the Risk Management department at Rabobank. “It’s so much fun to take a deep dive into a model, but I realized that I got the most energy from the project management around my assignment. That’s when she decided that she wanted to work in consultancy. Judith was looking for an organization that truly valued substantive expertise and craftsmanship and at the same time had a laid-back, collegial atmosphere. But at career fairs and in-house days after graduation, Judith couldn’t seem to find a consultancy firm where she felt at home.

So, she started her career in a different role at technical services provider Guidion, where she worked for three and a half years – first as an account manager and soon after as a business analyst. However, the desire to work in consultancy one day still occupied her mind. Eventually, she came across a headhunter who connected her to Bisnez. The company is founded on the belief that clients are entitled to reliable advice. That translates into their core values: future-oriented, human, thorough and sincere. As it turned out, they were offering the substantive opportunities and the norms and values Judith was looking for. Judith: “In the end, it was possible after all. I don’t regret a thing, but if I had trusted my intuition three and a half years earlier and kept looking for a consulting firm that matched my vision, I might have been able to find my dream job sooner.”

Resume Judith Koetsveld

2016 – nu
Projectmanager, Bisnez

2013 – 2016
Various rolles in Business Intelligence en Projectmanagement, Guidion

Industrial / Financial Engineering and Management, Universiteit Twente


Tip 2: Broaden your horizons
Judith heads projects for Bisnez’s clients. During these projects, Judith looks has only one interest in mind: her client’s. In projects with outside vendors, Bisnez often acts as a project manager or consultant on the client side. “It should feel to the customer like I’m one of them,” explains Judith. She’s responsible for project planning and directs teams on implementation. That’s where content and knowledge come together with a talent for stakeholder management. Her background in technical business administration really comes in handy here. “I often work with IT people or other technical people. It helps that I speak their language and can brainstorm with them. That makes me flexible and versatile, and it gives clients confidence in my abilities. But that could also be true if I’d had a different background; it’s about knowing my strengths and knowing how to use them for the client.” A similar truth actually applies to all the consultants and project managers at Bisnez. Without exception, the consultants have interesting backgrounds that are still always less important than their development potential and talent for personal leadership. As a consultant, you will, by definition, broaden your horizons. At Bisnez, assignments are never the same. You work in different sectors on a very wide range of assignments. “That’s sometimes challenging, but don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone,” advises Judith. “What you have already learned, for example, at college or previous job is something no one will take away from you. But don’t let yourself be pigeonholed into what you can do, who you are, and what your future career should look like. Think creatively and don’t limit yourself; just see how far you get with your ambition and curiosity.”

Tip 3: Provide the right guidance
Making strong analyses and presentations was something Judith learned from her manager in her first job. Judith: “Thanks to her, I was able to not only sharpen my analytical skills but also get to know myself and my own ambitions.” Later, at Bisnez, like every one of her colleagues, she was paired with an experienced consultant who is personally and actively involved in her development and in making sure she enjoys the job. Those experienced colleagues are always available for a coaching conversation. “Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone for ten minutes, and if they ask the right questions, you can suddenly see the solution yourself. Otherwise, you’d be stuck in your own mindset and miss the forest for the trees.” If you don’t have anyone in your organization who will give you that guidance, go look for one. An experienced colleague with whom you have a good rapport will probably enjoy helping you advance. Take advantage of that opportunity.”

Tip 4: Find a role model
Judith believes in the power of role models. It could be a colleague from your own organization, or even someone you know in your own network or the media. “I was really inspired by one of my colleagues at Bisnez. He taught me to see emotion as a factor in the bigger picture and to isolate it, so you can approach a situation analytically and create clarity. A role model inspires you and shows you what’s possible – perhaps without knowing that you’re paying attention.”

Tip 5: Keep challenging yourself… and find an employer who will help you do that
When matching consultants and project managers for a new project, Bisnez doesn’t look so much at seniority or who “checks the boxes” on a project resume. They look at the person to decide which project is the best fit at that time. Experience plays a role, but so do the consultant’s ambitions, what they want to learn, and whether they have the energy for a big challenge at that moment or need a stretch in calmer waters. “Your current project is always preparation for the next one, and you develop very quickly. I recently did a project where stakeholder management at the senior level was a challenge for me. I was dealing with strong personalities at the executive level and had to find the right tone to maintain my sense of self in that without pretending to be someone I’m not.”

At Bisnez, we take on challenging, complex projects. The trick is to make complex issues as transparent and predictable as possible for the client. One of Judith’s strengths is that she can quickly bring the client into what she’s doing. Transparency and structure are the key words. That’s also a valuable skill outside of consultancy, according to Judith. Because Bisnez is always transparent with its clients, it really helps us earn their trust. They aren’t afraid to involve us in complicated or painful situations where the stakes are high. But no matter what kind of work you do, transparency leads to trust – and that always pays off.”

Tip 6: Take a good look at what you want and say it out loud
That’s why Judith regularly considers her own professional goals, and how she can achieve them. “I feel responsible for my own development. So, I network and let others know what I’m looking for. That gives me a lot of influence on my assignments and career. I try to find out what I want and communicate that to people around me. At Bisnez, that’s actively encouraged. My colleagues like to brainstorm with me and try to help me. If people don’t know what you want, they can’t do anything for you, and you have to handle it all yourself. But if you communicate what you’re looking for, you may be surprised where that leads.”


"Think creatively and don't limit yourself; just see how far you get with your ambition and curiosity."

Judith Koetsveld

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