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COVID-19: An ESSEC Alumna Reports From the Netherlands




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The Netherlands did not implement a full lockdown – and they flatted the curve. Are they out of trouble though? Find out with Monica Petry (M13), Office Bearer of ESSEC Alumni’s Netherlands Chapter.

ESSEC Alumni: What is the current situation in the Netherlands? 

Monica Petry: The Netherlands did not implement a full lockdown as many other countries in Europe. As we say here, we took a ‘Dutch pragmatic’ approach, which meant people were allowed to go out for basic necessities and exercising. And we've flatten the curve! Since July 1st, many business and gathering places such as gyms, churches, and orchestras opened their doors again. This was done following the government’s guidelines, including mandatory bookings at restaurants & gyms, providing free alcohol gel, keeping 1.5 meters distance, and a ramped cleaning scheduled. And masks are now mandatory in public transports. Also, as I work with parking payment apps at Park Now Group, I have access to data such as our Parking Barometer, which gives a good indication of how cars (and drivers) are going back to streets. In the Netherlands, we are almost at the pre-crisis level.

EA: How is the post-crisis period shaping up in your country?

M. Petry: Many companies are facing uncertainties. Although the Dutch economy counts with a good level of consultants and entrepreneurs who are used to reinventing themselves, waves of layoffs are taking place at KLM, Uber and other large employers. However start-ups who managed to get funds prior to the crisis are now investing and hiring.

A good change in my opinion is the shift in mentality– and even dogma – regarding working from home. In my company, we are now allowed and encouraged to work remotely; even once everything goes back to normal, my team will be in the office only 2 to 3 days/week. Also, hiring foreign and remote talent is also taking a new shift, which I feel will be more and more embraced moving forward. 

EA: How does this situation impact you on a daily basis? 

M. Petry: I am still working from home 4 days/week and in the office 1 day/week, based on a rotation system among departments. 50% of desks have been ‘cleared up’ to ensure the needed distancing. Thus large meetings such as PI planning still happen on conference calls. Also, as my company needed to make some savings, many open vacancies were frozen and external consultants were dismissed, which increased permanent employees workload, me included. So it has been quite challenging months.

EA: What news from the local ESSEC community in this context?

M. Petry: As many other ESSEC Alumni chapters, we made a natural switch to online events and webinars whenever possible, and we postponed our after works and networking events. We are now excited to have a new one planned on September 10th with 2020 MBA students coming from Paris to join us. On a personal note, I am also thrilled that I have been able to pursue my (amazing) EWA Boost’ mentoring program with Olivier Cantet (E87)! Despite the distance of +1000 kms, I feel I am much closer to the ESSEC community now than before. I can participate more actively in and I am really grateful for it.

Interview by Veary Ngy, International Community Manager at ESSEC Alumni, and Louis Armengaud Wurmser (E10), Content Manager at ESSEC Alumni 

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