Translating insights from complex analyses into simple messages for executive decision making is one of the most difficult things I do on a daily basis.
Before joining BCG, I completed a PhD in political science, had a lectureship, and managed earthquake response programs. My academic experience taught me critical thinking and provided me with the analytical skills to structure complex problems. Managing earthquake response programs taught me to get things done in challenging settings. At BCG, I get to apply my different backgrounds in a wide variety of settings.
The diversity of projects has been astonishing: ranging from international health organizations, public transport companies, banks, and children’s charities to insurance companies, public transport, consumer goods, the ministry of defense, courts, and public broadcasting. The intellectual curiosity and drive to crack the problem has been the common denominator of all my teams.
Personally, BCG has been the best employer to let me and my wife combine our international careers: I have transferred offices three times in the last five years.
Prior to joining BCG, Timo headed several earthquake response programs and offices for the International Organization for Migration in Indonesia and was a lecturer in politics at University College, Oxford. Timo holds a doctorate and MPhil in politics from Oxford and a BA in the social sciences from Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He was a visiting scholar at Princeton and the University of California, Berkeley.
Q: What international experiences at BCG have been the most interesting for you?
A: When I was working for the Amsterdam office, my wife got an interesting job offer in London. I asked for a transfer and was working in the London office even before she had started her job. When the reverse happened two years later, I was surprised by the ease with which I could transfer back to Amsterdam. This unique experience of working and living in another city is common.
Q: How has your network grown as part of working at BCG?
A: For one of my projects, I guided the negotiations of a cooperative of all public transport companies in the Netherlands to organize the public transport digital ticketing system. BCG was the independent advisor arguing for the common interest of all these competing parties. At the signing of the deal after one year of negotiations with all these parties, I found myself in a position of having board-level access and credibility at all the major public transport companies in the Netherlands.
Q: What are you reading right now and why is it interesting?
A: I’m reading Papegaai vloog over de IJssel, a book by a Dutch-Iranian author about a refugee settling in a village close to where I grew up. It offers a very refreshing external perspective of the world I grew up in and shows me how challenging it can be to enter this society from abroad.