Alumnus: "Career Day is a great way to expand your network"
Initially, Teun van de Braak, Animal Sciences alumnus and currently employed at Hendrix Genetics as a Product Manager, had quite different ambitions:
“I always wanted to be a vet, inspired by James Herriot in the British television series All Creatures Great and Small. Unfortunately for me, veterinary medicine had a fixed quota and I didn’t make the programme. So I decided to do Animal Sciences at Wageningen University & Research instead which, as it turned out, suited me perfectly. I really liked the fact that Animal Sciences was a relatively small programme and that students and teachers knew each other by name.
Fascinated by animal breeding
Apart from watching ‘All Creatures Great and Small’, Teun had another – somewhat unusual – hobby that took up a lot of his free time:
“As a kid I was already fascinated by animal breeding, especially chickens; I had Silkies (Zijdehoenders), Brahmas and other breeds, and my aim was to breed hens with the most beautiful patterns and color varieties. It turned out that there was a very simple ‘trick’ to breed Brahmas with a blue base color, and the fact that I was able to do that really sparked my enthusiasm for breeding and genetics.”
His passion for genetics – and poultry – lasted into adulthood, and Teun eventually found his dream job* at Hendrix Genetics, a multi-species animal breeding, genetics and technology company. He already knew the company quite well before he started his current job:
“I started as an intern at Hendrix Genetics while I was in the process of completing my education at Wageningen University & Research, and it turned out to be a great match!”
The match between Teun and Wageningen was a great one as well:
“At Wageningen, you’re a person, not a number. That’s one thing that – in my opinion – really sets Wageningen University & Research apart from other universities. Also, the overall quality of education is just outstanding, and that’s not just how I experienced it, but also how Wageningen University & Research is perceived internationally.”
Tips for students
Teun has some tips for students who are looking into career opportunities:
“Initiatives like the Career Day – an annual event organised by student association the Veetelers – is a great way to expand your network and get in touch with companies involved in the breeding industry and other sectors. And programmes like Breed4Food and Feed4Foodure are also great initiatives that can be used to set up new connections.”
But, as Teun points out, Animal Breeding and Genomics (ABG) already has very close connections with both national and international breeding companies and organisations:
“Speaking for myself and for Hendrix Genetics, I really appreciate the fact that we can just reach out to someone at ABG and say ‘we have an opening for a new intern, do you have anyone to recommend?’ And I think there are a lot of other companies as well that really reap the benefits of having a close connection with ABG.”
*”Although I really, really like my job,” says Teun, “my absolute dream job would be to work as a chicken farmer in Costa Rica. If you are – or know – a chicken farmer in Costa Rica who could use an extra pair of hands, please get in touch!"