Young talent | Nika Van der Wildt


Young talent | Nika Van der Wildt

December 21st '18

Our commercial department in Arendonk was complemented over two years ago with a great colleague: Nika Van der Wildt. She had a little taste of Smulders during a holiday job, went on a trip around the world for a year and then started working for us as Junior Tender Manager. Commercial Director Wim Vaes about Nika: “She is a driven, hard worker who quickly picks up on things and is able to work remarkably independent for someone her young age. Moreover, she gets along great with all of her colleagues.” All the more reason to get to know her a bit better. 

What is your most important task, Nika? “I coordinate the entire tender process. That commences with the receipt of a new ‘invitation to tender’ which sometimes consists of a hundred documents. That means reading the demands of the client, looking at the contract with the legal department, checking
the technical requirements, ensuring a planning is made, requesting price documents and maintaining contact with the client until a final offer is available.”

What was your introduction with Smulders? “After I graduated in 2015 as commercial engineer, I worked at the commercial department for a month during a holiday job. Because I already had my diploma, Wim Vaes gave me a job that was more challenging than the regular holiday job. That was a good experience, on both sides. When I returned from my trip around the world, I was welcomed back.”

So, your holiday job was a bit more than copying documents and getting coffee? “I gathered, among other things, all tenders for offshore projects in an Excel file making them easier to compare at certain points. That was useful for the entire company. (She laughs.) I still use that information myself sometimes.” 

What was it like to return to Smulders after your trip around the world? “It was great I already knew the colleagues because of that month of holiday work and had an idea of what my work would entail. That usually remains to be seen when you start somewhere new.”

What do you like most about your job? “The variety is the biggest asset of my job. You arrive here on Monday morning and have no idea what your week is going to look like. There are days I am in meetings all day and days on which I prepare documents and answer emails from behind my desk. In addition,
I am in contact with all kinds of parties: clients, subcontractors, colleagues of other departments. You learn a lot from that.” 

What do you consider your biggest talent? “I am very eager to learn and I appreciate it when other people take the time to answer my questions. If a colleague comes to me, I will always try and make the time to do the same. Even when I am busy. Just because I have experienced for myself how much time it can save if other people help you on your way.”

What do you appreciate most about Smulders as employer? “You are sometimes thrown in at the deep end here, as in: swim! That is quite scary in
the beginning but it does give you opportunities that take years of waiting anywhere else. It is also the quickest way to learn the finer details of the craft. In addition, Smulders is a real family business with a nice, loose atmosphere and a lot of laughter at times. Everything can be said here and you can even go to the Managing Director directly with questions without having to go through ten layers.”

Any ambitions? “Mainly to become more confident, so that I eventually am able to lead meetings with clients myself. If a client asks a question during
the meeting, I sometimes still doubt too much in order to answer while I often think afterwards: I would have known that. I feel such a rookie when that happens. I sometimes have meetings with people whose years of experience exceed my age.”