Nikki van Avendonk
Associate in the PE funds team
“Here you get to work with ambitious entrepreneurs and it’s really great to experience their passion and drive at first hand. You go into a partnership, get involved and engage in entrepreneurship and strategy.”
What’s your background? & What brought you here?
After my studies in International Business Administration and Finance & Investments I began a Wholesale traineeship at ING. I started in Acquisition Finance and then worked as a Corporate Finance Adviser. So I was on the business side of the bank and I worked there for two and a half years.
Why did you join Egeria?
I knew I wanted to work in Private Equity. I always had it in mind as a potential next step. From my previous job I knew that the Dutch entrepreneurial no-nonsense culture suited me best. That’s why I came to Egeria. I think Egeria is one of the leading companies in the Netherlands. They’ve made some excellent investments. In terms of culture they’re known for having a close-knit team and they invest in a hands-on way. That really appealed to me. Egeria also focuses on a number of areas that I found interesting. They take a hands-on approach to their companies, focus on the key issues and act as a sparring partner for businesses, which I really like. And the fact that other women were already working there was a plus for me.
Why did you make the move?
I had a lot of involvement with PE transactions in my previous job. I liked the fact that with PE you enter into a genuine long-term relationship. As an adviser you’re only involved with your customer for a very short time and I thought that was a pity. I made the move precisely because I wanted more involvement with entrepreneurs and the implementation of strategy. In PE you need to fully understand the business because you’re going to be part of it, you’re going to run it together. That means you go more deeply into the analytical and strategic aspects, but also into the relationship with the business. Being enterprising and building the business together, being able to seek out and exploit opportunities, that’s something I really wanted to do. From day one you work with the people in your portfolio businesses and become genuinely involved. I really enjoy that! There are always opportunities to build businesses here, and that entrepreneurial collaboration was something I missed.
What do you like about the job?
You get so much responsibility here. The dynamics are completely different because you work with the management of the portfolio businesses from day one. I really like hearing the stories, getting to know the businesses. It’s inspiring and really energises me.
I also like the analytical aspect; you have to know the market and also understand a business and its growth plans. There’s much more focus on strategy and you actually get to implement it with the business. It’s a joint enterprise, so you really want to dive deeply into it. I like to get my teeth into something and learn new things. That’s what you get with this job! You discover that there’s so much behind businesses and production processes and you learn about everything they involve and how complex they are. That’s what I like about this job. You suddenly start looking at the world differently because you ask yourself: ‘What’s behind that?’ Plus you get to work with inspiring people! You have the chance to work with ambitious entrepreneurs and it’s really great to experience their passion and drive at first hand. You go into a partnership, get involved and engage in entrepreneurship and strategy.
How was your first month?
It flew by! There’s such a steep learning curve! You start working immediately, you’re given responsibility, so you’re introduced to the portfolio businesses right away. It’s great that there’s so much knowledge in the team, because you’re immediately thrown in at the deep end. You can spar with your colleagues and genuinely ask them anything you need to know, so it’s an enormous learning opportunity.
They also organised drinks and a team outing in the very first week, so I was lucky. I was immediately able to get to know everybody and that was great. You have to work hard, but there really is room for the personal side and I think that’s important. For example, I’ve been allocated a coach within Egeria who I can turn to if I run into any problems. Everyone proactively offers to support you or help you out. And sometimes you need that. I was immediately allocated two portfolio businesses and a live transaction, and there’s a lot of day-to-day activity. So it really was a dive into the deep end.
What’s the atmosphere like?
I really felt that everyone was pleased that I had joined, that I had come to strengthen the team. That’s a really nice feeling. There’s a good team spirit here. People check in with you and contribute ideas, and that’s really nice. It gives me the feeling that I won’t have to deal with things on my own. Even though there’s a lot to take on board in the first month in a job. They’re approachable and the ethos is that it’s better to ask than get something wrong. Also, you have too much responsibility to allow that to happen. Just doing something without understanding it properly…
For each portfolio business you’re in a different team, which means I’ve been working in different teams right from the start. I think that’s really good. I’m also immediately linked up with my colleagues in Munich. The atmosphere is all about enterprise and initiative: you’re encouraged to tackle things. That really energises me. I can immediately pick up and investigate ideas. Just do it! That’s the mindset. You’re given responsibility and immediately have the confidence to get down to work. And that’s great.
What learnings have you had so far?
I’ve had a lot to absorb in the last three weeks… I’ve been involved in three different businesses with completely different activities. They’re in entirely different industries, have different strategies and are in different phases. I’ve learned so much from them already! There’s a lot to absorb all at once, but it’s hugely educational.
What have you had to get used to?
The short communication lines, and the amount of responsibility. You can ask a partner a direct question here, and that’s something I’m not used to. After just a week I went with the CFO to a meeting with one of the businesses. It was fantastic, but I was also a bit nervous. Here you’re thrown in at the deep end right at the start. But in a good way. So far so good! I find the job very interesting, the work setting is really nice and I just love it.
- Upload date
- December 1, 2021