Author: Yassin Vancolen
My story starts here. Growing up in Indonesia, I lived at the intersection of two different cultures, East and West, and learned to look at the world through different perspectives. Thanks to my Belgian father, who managed and operated a cigar factory, I was able to look at our society from a business point of view while my Canadian mother, who ran a school, taught me the importance of education.
I would often accompany my father to his factory and observe the processes that went on between man and machine. I was particularly intrigued by how supply chains worked, and all the steps involved in the process that went from the tobacco plant to a box of cigars ready to be shipped. Usually, they seemed as coordinated as the inside of a watch, but sometimes things would go wrong. I became fascinated with systems. Little by little, I learned to take things apart in my mind to rebuild them in a slightly different way.
I was a competitive swimmer for many years, but my mom made sure I never used my training as an excuse not to study. At the age of 15, I moved to Vancouver to go to boarding school. I kept on swimming, and also tried rowing - which was in some ways even more intense. I remember waking up at 5:00 AM to train indoors, going to school, practicing on the water for two hours afterwards, and studying until I could barely keep my eyes open.
I am grateful for my years as an athlete. It made me tough, showed me the love for competing, gave me a drive to make things better, and an ability to perform under pressure. Sports even enhanced my appreciation for systems and the power of subtle changes. I learned how a marginal change, taking a perfectly timed stroke with the boat instead of a millisecond later, can have a massive impact on the speed of a racing shell. I even began to analyse my own systems, such as study routines and diet and optimize them to improve my academic and athletic results.
I moved to Montreal and followed a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at McGill University. Here, I learned the soft and hard skills of a scientist. In some ways, my science degree was as gruelling as the sports I had done in high school. I would spend hours in a lab every week conducting experiments. A few times, a tiny lapse in concentration forced me to redo an entire experiment again. After obtaining my Bachelor’s degree, I followed a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering, which I enjoyed because I could apply my scientific knowledge while trying to solve real-life issues.
The BrightWolves journey begins
After graduation, I applied for many jobs, but I chose to work at BrightWolves. Why? Because it represented a great opportunity for me to leverage my existing skills in a challenging environment, to learn even more, and make an impact with a growing firm whose values I share.
There are many aspects of my job that I love. I enjoy my work as a consultant, which pushes me to expand my limits and leverages my talent for analysing systems to guide businesses. I am excited to live in the city of Brussels, the administrative heart of the EU, and to be close to other cities like London, Paris, and Berlin. With thousands of businesses within a two-hour radius the possibilities seem endless.
Most of all, I love the culture of BrightWolves. BrightWolves encourages its consultants to innovate and create - not just to solve clients’ problems, but to improve our own systems from within. Everyone here is challenged, supported, and valued. We are large enough to take on impactful and challenging projects, but small enough to be agile. We are a pack of wolves roaming the forest; we travel fast and light, and we thrive by working together.
From here, my story will continue.
Are you interested to start your own journey at BrightWolves? Reach out to us or grab a virtual coffee with one of our Wolves!