Getting the best out of data and yourself

Mahtab Aghamiri, Young Professional Advanced Analytics

I  love data

‘After I graduated in Computer Hardware Engineering from Azad University in Teheran, I worked in Iran as a market researcher for a motorcycle business and as a business analyst for a petrochemicals group. I moved to the Netherlands to follow my dream and study at a top international university. Now I’m working for Rabobank in Utrecht.’

See the bigger picture

‘My Master in Engineering and Policy Analysis at TU Delft gave me a much broader view: I learned how to explore data and get the best information out of it. How data can help solve business problems where there is not always a best solution, only ‘a most satisfying’ solution. I could spend all day looking at data if I want (which I often do).

Sometimes it’s hard to see the direct results of your work, so I try to keep the bigger picture in mind. At Rabobank I love the concept of risk and the role data plays. It’s really important to provide good quality data so that we can build good risk models. Put simply, if we overestimate risk, the bank has to reserve more capital and has less to invest in clients. So, if I do my job well, then the bank can finance more farmers, and help to feed the world. That keeps me motivated.’

Speak your mind

‘I love getting my teeth into data issues, but I love being with people as well. Meeting new colleagues and exchanging information and experiences with other Young Professionals, is what I frequently do.  We have young professionals from all over the world, for example China, Macedonia, Italy, Germany and Greece. So, it is a good thing the working language is English! What I really like about the culture here is that you can speak your mind. If you identify a problem, you’re encouraged to put it on the table and present a proposal. Like the silo mentality you sometimes see between departments. With my trainee group we suggested setting up ‘random lunches’ with all sorts of colleagues to find out who’s doing what, where and why.’

Good place to learn

‘I’m a bit of a perfectionist and was quite stressed out when I first started, worried I’d look stupid if I didn’t know stuff. But the culture here is about making each other stronger. People are very open if they don’t know something and are relaxed about asking for help. I like that. It’s a good place to learn. On the Young Professional Programme we spend half a day a week on personal development. And there are lots of similar training options for all colleagues. I really liked the GITP course I took recently to identify my strengths and weaknesses and improve my skills in feedback, advising and influencing.’


‘It’s the training opportunities that made me choose Rabobank. I see myself in a management role in 5 years’ time and know I still have a lot to learn. After my Masters I also had offers to work as a junior at a consultancy firm. I liked the idea of working for all kinds of companies but wasn’t keen on the high-pressure environment with very long days. Although the focus at Rabobank is narrower, it means I can grow as an expert. What swung it for me was the emphasis on training. And the work-life balance. This way I learn a lot and get to spend time with my five-year old son. Win-Win.’

Are you interested in the Young Professional Programme Advanced Analytics? For more information on the programme, click here.