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This series introduces us to a different employee every week. Find out what they most enjoy about their job and learn things you might not know about them yet. This week: Sander van Triest, Associate Professor at the Accounting section of the ABS.

What do you like most about your job?

There are many things I like about my work that others also mention. We have a lot of freedom regarding our research activities. Also, the interaction with students is great most of the time. It can be disappointing to discover when marking exams that not all students benefitted equally from that interaction...

What I like very much about working in an academic environment are the celebrations and special occasions with respect to education and research. The buzz on campus when the academic year starts again, a PhD defense, graduation ceremonies – these events all add extra color to university life.

Which project from the past year are you most proud of?

In recent years I have run various survey projects in which students contribute pairs of employees and their direct managers from their personal networks. I invite these pairs to complete surveys. This way, students receive anonymized total response collected through all participating students. This ensures that they can analyze a much larger sample in their thesis, which allows for more interesting research questions.

I also use the data for my own research. As with most research, it’s a matter of years rather than months, but in the past year we got papers accepted from several projects. In the most recent project, one of the findings is that when managers themselves have more discretion, they allow less working from home among their employees. I think it’s an interesting result - now I just need to convince the reviewers.

What don’t most colleagues know about you?

I belong to the 3% of Dutch people who don't like cheese. That's a challenge at meetings or seminars where there is official catering.  Fortunately, my partner is also part of that 3%, so we can keep our home free from cheese.