Hi! I am Marije van der Meer, 25 years old and living in Amsterdam. Since January, I have been a trainee at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW). In this blog, I am going to tell you more about my background and the traineeship.
First, I will tell you a bit more about my background. In 2017, I moved to Groningen to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Groningen. Here, I chose the accountancy & controlling specialisation. After completing this, I was looking for something more practical. Real Estate Studies fitted in well with that. For instance, I took a course called “Revitalising Neighbourhoods,” which combined theory with practice in the form of a neighbourhood study. Another example is the course “Real Estate Development,” where we drew up an investment plan for a redevelopment in Germany, from A to Z. Besides my studies, I did a part-time board year at the Real Estate Club Groningen (RECG). This gave me a good insight into the field in the broadest sense, from contractor to real estate investor. I found this a valuable addition because it brought theory and practice together.
One of the companies that really appealed to me during my time at RECG was Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. I knew by now that I found retail real estate very interesting, but which department exactly, I wanted to find out. This is where URW’s traineeship came in very handy. In this one-year programme, you work in three departments within the company, one of which is abroad. For instance, I started in the team of Operating Management in the Mall of the Netherlands. Here, as a team, you are responsible for the short- and long-term vision of the mall, from concept to implementation, including development and investment projects. I then flew to Spain and got to join the performance management team in Madrid for a rotation! Here, we analysed the performance of eight different shopping centres across Spain. A very varied job! Among other things, I worked on compiling the Spanish half-yearly results, where you compile and consolidate the results of all the shopping centres into one.
Working in a different country and culture was a super exciting experience and regularly resulted in great conversations and funny interactions. Apart from that, Madrid is of course a very beautiful city! I was able to receive many visits from friends and family, both in Madrid and abroad. In fact, from Madrid you can be in Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Malaga, etc. in two to three hours by high-speed train. I made good use of the summer and took many weekend trips to different parts of Spain.
Meanwhile, I have returned to Amsterdam and started my third assignment. I work in the Shopping Centre Management team of Stadshart Amstelveen. Here we deal with the day-to-day management of the shopping centre. In short, no day is the same. At URW, I was able to learn a lot about the company, real estate and also about myself at lightning speed!
Marije van der Meer