Rick van Dael: the joy of deciphering complex data puzzles

Rick van Dael: the joy of deciphering complex data puzzles

By 3 minute read

After his Master’s in Econometrics & Operations Research, Rick van Dael started (24) working at Aegon as a Data Science Trainee. He says it is wonderful to delve into the world of deciphering data, especially given the combination of his traineeship, the complex data in the insurance world, and the welcoming and friendly culture at Aegon.

Was it a conscious decision to enter the insurance world?

Rick: "Yes, it really was. I came across Aegon during a MIcompany networking event. That organization offers with Aegon a trainee program 'International Aegon Analytical Academy'. It's a three-year traineeship to improve hard and soft skills. I thought immediately that it is a great opportunity for me. Besides, the financial world has always appealed to me because of all the various data points that is available, from insurance and pension plans to process data. I also think it's really cool to be in a position to make life a little easier for customers when it comes to making financial decisions. We can simplify processes for the customer by providing insights into the numbers and identifying weak points in processes. Financial services are not always perfect, so there is definitely still room for improvement!"

Does that mean you went back to school?

"No, I'm done with school. I wanted to further specialize, and being a trainee in the Data Science Development Program is a wonderful opportunity to do so. Now I combine a full-time job with several weeks of training per year. In September 2018, I began the traineeship along with twenty other colleagues, not only from Aegon Netherlands, but also from Aegon Hungary, Aegon Turkey, TransAmerica and our subsidiaries TKP and Knab. During our in-class training weeks we learn how to work with the latest developments in this sector with targeted learning materials and actual cases. I learn a lot as well about consultancy skills and discussion techniques. Besides that, I'm also seeing a lot of the world, because every in-class training week is held in a different country and I'm traveling abroad soon for a three month project."

Rick van Dael
The financial world has always appealed to me because of all the various available data points

Do you prefer daily routine at work or would you rather have a more varied schedule?

"I would rather have varied days. My job is highly varied, and I really enjoy that. Sometimes I have to face challenges due to antiquated systems, data that used to be stored in different ways or data that is incomplete. That sometimes makes my job a complex data puzzle. This is not just at Aegon, it is also the case with many older companies that have made the transition to become data-driven organizations. That makes my job as a data analyst challenging."

How would you describe your ideal colleague?

"This person could be a nerd digit who enjoys programming and building models. However, it could be also someone who is open-minded to implement specific changes. It is very important to communicate with stakeholders and provide results to the business. Of course, I would like for this person to be sociable, because that would be a great fit in our young team!"

Get with the program

Do you want to take the fast track to develop your skills, make an impact on society and work on innovations for the future? Then apply now for Aegon's international Development Program