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Alumni in the spotlight: Peter van der Wel

"In the time I studied, the UvA offered a lot of extracurricular activities relevant to my studies, such as protest and discussion groups. There was focus on socialism versus capitalism, colonialism, upcoming interest in the environment, and equal rights. In those years the UvA was a hotbed of socially critical groups and movements. These subjects still fascinate me.”

ASE alumnus in the spotlight

Peter van der Wel: 

  • 1968 - 1975: Drs, Business economics, Political Economy and Economic Sociology
  • 1990-1998: Senior Management consultant at VB Accountants (Later part of Deloitte) Future studies & strategy development (government and non-profit organisations)
  • 1998 – 2006: Director at EPN (Electronic-highway Platform Nederland)
  • 2006 – 2012: Part-time senior Management consultant, futurologist at Rijnconsult and part-time public speaker
  • 2012 – Present:   Futurologist; author and public speaker


“During my studies, I have learned skills I still gratefully use. I learned to analyse, critical thinking and reasoning, to work independently, to set goals and to monitor progress.


“I started my career as an economics teacher, then I became a team leader and after jobs as senior management consultant, director and senior management consultant & Futurologist. I decided to leave my former employer and to start as futurist and public speaker. This gave me a lot of freedom. It was a relief not to be involved in bureaucratic rituals anymore The pitfall of being an entrepreneur in my field is unfortunately the lack of spiritual nourishment, new incentive and the necessity to innovate.”

Alumni network

“I am still in contact with my former classmates. Annually we try to organize an economist weekend in which we discuss our point of view on various situations in the world. We all have the same knowledge base which makes it easier to understand each other. From this base, every individual followed its own path. Some of them work in education, others in development aid, one of them became an artist, others are entrepreneurs, etc. This variety in careers makes our conversations extremely versatile because we can all contribute our individual experiences.”

Lifelong learning

“I am convinced you should never stop learning, whether you are 24 or 84 years old. When you stop learning, then you are old. The UvA could do more to let the alumni build bridges between the university and the industry. Especially now, people live longer and innovation is growing faster than ever. Professional knowledge goes out of date faster and more jobs are being automated. The university should play a role in this process to help alumni after their studies.”

Run for fun

I never had trouble finding a job. On the contrary. As you can see in my resume I changed quite often.  Every time I thought: I should have made this switch sooner. With every new profession, you gain more knowledge and experience and you will be challenged again. On the other hand there are also disadvantages. In a new profession you have to prove yourself, gain credibility with the professionals of your new employer. I also have another recommendation: Run for fun! Do not take your job too seriously and keep it enjoyable. This will be your fuel to make that extra mile every time. It is important to listen to your instinct when it comes to your job. Prior to every job switch I made, I always had a hunch I had to explore new interests. At such a moment I always looked for new associates from that field of work. With my new associates I talked about my curiosity in this new field of work and looked for the chance to take part in it. I was searching for possibilities to work in this new field parallel to my current job. Very often I would end up wor and it occurred that I often worked part time in both professions.