Ruben Coomans is currently active as a junior consultant at BEA Sensors in the city of Liege. He supports the project management office of the company in several ways. We talked to him about his professional journey and passion for project management.
“Joining the project shortly after completing my master International Business Economics and Management was a great opportunity. I’ve always had a keen interest in project management and analysing processes to create more efficient workflows and better communicational frameworks.”
The project and team at BEA Sensors also perfectly align with Ruben’s personality: “Professional with a strong social component and the desire to drive positive change. I like to make a joke every once in a while. An informal moment during the first 5 minutes of a work day or meeting breaks the ice and generally tends to improve productivity in the next 25 minutes. During the first couple of weeks, I came across as a silent person. Meanwhile, I know that I can be myself within the team and company, both on a personal and professional level.”
Ruben’s support role within the PMO at BEA Sensors is pretty multi-faceted. “One of my chief tasks and goals is building and improving processes. Through interviews, surveys and process analyses, I try to find out what a process is and aim to translate it into a detailed and written project model. Who does what? Which tasks have to be completed in order to move on to the next process step? These are the types of questions I seek to answer.”
Mapping often complex processes is something that Ruben really enjoys. “You get to see the anatomy of processes that already exist, but also learn to recognize the gaps between process steps and operational or communicational inefficiencies within processes. In collaboration with colleagues and other team members, you also get the opportunity to develop interesting ideas for bridging these gaps and removing roadblocks that negatively impact operational efficiency. I’ve also learned how to apply theoretical frameworks in practical situations. Sometimes they form a tight fit, but in other cases, theory and practice don’t quite line up.”
LANGUAGE AND DIFFERENT CULTURES
Ruben was born and raised in Flanders and attended Leuven University, but now works in Wallonia. “I work in a very different environment than most of my colleagues. Liege and its people have a very distinct, open, laid-back and cordial culture. That attitude matches well with my social nature. Besides that, I’ve always been interested in getting to know and working with other cultures and expanding my knowledge of other languages. Since I’m not perfectly bilingual, this project gives me the opportunity to improve my French and really experience the business culture in a different part of Belgium.”
GROWING AND UNDERTAKING
The project at BEA Sensors has given Ruben ample opportunity to undertake new things, fine-tune existing skills and develop new competencies. “There is a lot of room to experiment and I’ve learned a lot about how crucial proper and personalised communication is. Some people like to have meetings on a regular basis, whilst others are perfectly fine with meeting up or receiving instructions only once a month. I’ve also learned how to ‘read’ the process flows of particular projects by combining theoretical insights and practical research. Another big takeaway is the fact that I’ve learned to turn my social nature and communicative skills into important professional strengths.”
SUPPORT FROM PROSOURCE
Ruben is very pleased with the support that he receives from Prosource. “The company has been really supportive from the start and invests a lot in every individual employee. Interesting training opportunities, and the chance to get valuable certifications: it’s all part of the mix. I’m also very impressed with Prosource’s mentorship program. Knowledgeable senior project managers are always available to share insights, challenge your ideas, and give you the support that you need being a still inexperienced and sometimes slightly uncertain junior consultant.”
Ruben also applauds the amount of in-house knowledge that Prosource possesses. “The organisation functions as a strong platform of knowledge, bringing together a lot of talented people who are able and willing to help each other. There is always room to exchange common experiences, share problems and help colleagues. But Prosource also organises many cool events that aren’t work-related. We form an open community that is often referred to as the Prosource family.”
And what about Ruben’s future aspirations?
“I want to keep on learning and further hone my communication and project management skills. I also aspire to become a senior consultant in the near future and would love to work on a very diverse array of projects. One day, I hope to pass on my knowledge to new juniors as a coach.”