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Alumni symposium 2017

Each year the FEB Alumni Network organises a symposium, in Amsterdam, for all FEB alumni! This year's theme is Political and Economic Turbulent Times: Creating Growth Opportunities in Uncertain Times. Experts from three different industry angles will share their visions based on their own experiences with uncertainties that affect their way of doing business and their industries. Join us on Tuesday 20 June (16.30 – 19.00) at the EYE-museum in Amsterdam for an inspiring afternoon, and connect with other alumni over dinner afterwards!


How can you participate?

Interested in attending the symposium? In order to participate (as non-donor), we ask you to sign up via the blue button. The symposium fee is 20 euros (including symposium ticket, coffee, tea, extensive dinner buffet, and drinks). Plus ones, partners and other friends are also welcome to buy a ticket.

FEB Alumni Network donors participate for free (Aeb/VERAF), however, please register via Recent graduates can become junior donors (first two years free donorship) and also sign-up via


The symposium focuses on a current strategic theme and has the aim to broaden the ideas and knowledge on this theme and facilitate the exchange of ideas and information between alumni and the faculty. This year we have chosen for topic Global Political and Economic Uncertainties: Creating Growth Opportunities in Uncertain Times. Recently we have witnessed large changes in the political landscape in Europe (such as Brexit, migration flows, and new questions about the future of European institutions) and at other continents (such as the new U.S. administration, and the fate of major emerging markets such as China, Brazil, Russia and Turkey). It has even been argued that the globalization as we have known it in recent decades has come to an end. With regard to fiscal and monetary policies, the abnormal post-crisis era of large liquidity provisions combined with restrictive fiscal policies is beginning to make room for a stimulative policy environment.

While creating challenges for policy makers and businesses to manage risks associated with these changes, uncertainties also create new business opportunities. One key opportunity relates to digital transformation which is impacting virtually every sector and business in the economy. The need to deal with climate change and the large shifts in the global energy landscape has opened up another area for business growth.

The aim is to tackle the question: how does (global) political and economic uncertainty impact on economic growth, business and financial performance? This question will be tackled from multiple angles, including monetary and fiscal policy, energy and climate, and digital transformation.


Experts from university, government and industries will share their vision based on their own experiences with the uncertainties that affect their business and the opportunities it also creates. From multiple angles the topic of how to deal with these uncertainties will be addressed, creating an insightful afternoon for all involved. Participants will enjoy an afternoon full of inspiration and gain new insights in the different ways of dealing with uncertainties in government, finance and businesses. In the program we want to learn from practitioners about what the effect is of uncertainty on the way of policy making and doing business? What are the adjustments made in industries and sectors? What are the challenges industries and sectors face and how are they resolved?

Bart van Ark
Bart van Ark

Day Moderator and Key-note Speaker: Bart van Ark, The Conference Board

Bart van Ark is executive vice president, chief economist, and chief strategy officer of The Conference Board. He leads a team of almost two dozen economists in New York, Brussels, and Beijing who produce a range of widely watched economic indicators and growth forecasts and in-depth global economic research. A Dutch national, he is the first non-US chief economist in the history of The Conference Board. He is also a professor in Economic Development, Technological Change and Growth at the University of Groningen where he teaches in the areas of economic growth, development economics, economic history and international economics and business.

Alexandra Jankovich
Alexandra Jankovich

Business Speaker: Alexandra Jankovich, Managing Partner and Co-Founder SparkOptimus

As managing partner and co-founder of SparkOptimus, Alexandra has leading international experience in supporting and accomplishing digital growth and transformation. She is an alumna from the FEB MSc. Business Administration. Currently, she works closely with international leading companies on board level to define digital value creation in their industry as well as the financial, organisational and operational consequences to make this happen. Alexandra started her career at strategy consultancy McKinsey & Company, before working at Reed Elsevier in international senior line management positions: setting up the digital division (Science Direct) in New York, heading up the global cooperation with Microsoft in Seattle and managing the marketing and internet division in Europe. As Managing Director of Benelux she led the travel site to a No. 1 position within 6 months. Alexandra appears in lists like NextWomen 100 and Inspiring 50 and is a member of various supervisory boards.

Jan Marc Berk
Jan Marc Berk

Speaker from the Dutch Central Bank: Jan Marc Berk

Jan Marc Berk, alumnus from the University of Groningen and presently, director of the Economics and Research division at the DNB (Dutch Central Bank). He is responsible for the economic policy and research at the DNB, allowing him to shed some light on the effect of uncertainty on the ways of working at the DNB. He is currently also professor money and banking at the University of Groningen and independent crown member of the Sociaal Economische Raad (SER). Previous positions include director of the Statistics and Information division at the DNB, head of the Monetary and Economic Policy department, Research department, associate professor Money and Banking at the Free University Amsterdam and Research Fellow of the Tinbergen Institute.

Mark Sarfo
Mark Sarfo

Speaker from the Ministry of Finance: Mark Sarfo, Policy Officer Foreign Financial Relations

Mark Sarfo, alumnus from the FEB in International Business and Management, also gained a master's degree in International Political Economy at King’s College London. After an internship at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), he started working at the Dutch Ministry of Finance. Currently, he is a policy officer at the ministry focusing on the foreign financial relationships and investments concerning European development and climate policies. He represents the Netherlands at international meetings concerning climate financing and has represented the Netherlands at the European Investment Bank (EIB). Mark will shed some light on the effects global political and economic uncertainties have on the ways of working and plan development at the ministry. Complementing the other angles Mark can provide the governmental perspective in the wider context of the European Union and the global playing field.

Programme outline

The doors will open at 16.00 at the EYE Museum and the symposium will start at 16.30. After the speakers and the panel discussion drinks are provided on the terrace, followed by an extensive buffet in the IJ Lounge; an opportunity to further connect with friends, fellow alumni and the speakers.

Time Activity

16.00 – 16.30

Doors open and coffee and tea
16.30 – 17.00 Introduction by professor Bart van Ark (The Conference Board)

17.00 – 17.20

Reaction from alumna Alexandra Jankovich (SparkOptimus) providing the Business viewpoint
17.20 – 18.00 Break of 20 min with snacks
18.00 – 18.20 Reaction from alumnus Jan Marc Berk (DNB)

18.20 – 18.40

Reaction from alumnus Mark Sarfo (Ministry of Finance)
18.40 – 19.00 Panel Discussion with speakers and alumni
19.00 – 19.30 Drinks on the terrace at the water of the EYE Museum
19.30 – 22.00 Extensive buffet dinner and desserts in the IJ Lounge

Last modified:13 June 2017 11.29 p.m.