Rhys McKenna

Rhys McKenna – Partnership Manager – 2020/2021

About Me

My name is Rhys McKenna and I am a fourth-year bachelor student studying Economics and Business Economics. I say fourth year but it’s more like a board year as I’m only retaking one subject. Sorry, had to clarify. I am half Australian and half Taiwanese by birth. We moved from Brisbane, Australia, shortly after I was born, to the United Arab Emirates. The last 4 years of my schooling was done in Dubai where I completed the International Baccalaureate program. I also hold Irish nationality thanks to my Dad’s half Irish, half British background. I came to the Netherlands in 2016 to attempt a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering at TU Delft. That didn’t last long though and I decided to reapply to Erasmus after withdrawing from the program 4 months in. I can confidently say that I was the first person of my graduating class to have purchased something from Spar. The role of Partnership Manager was most appealing to me because I felt as though communication in speaking and writing was one of my strengths. I felt confident that the experience I had under my belt having been an active member of B&R Beurs for the past, nearly, three years would come in handy in this role. While COVID-19 looks like it’ll be around for just a bit longer, I’m confident that the 13th board, handpicked by the resilient legends that make up the 12th board of ESN, will continue to provide valuable experiences to our university students and be reliable partners to the companies or small businesses we collaborate with.”

Why a board year?

“I had always been curious about taking up a leading role at a student association. I had bounced the idea around in my head to apply for B&R Beurs and sort of give back since that’s where I started. However, ESN had a different allure to it. I was the office pest of both 11th and 12th boards of ESN (sorry but not sorry guys) and always found it to be a more relaxing environment where you could have any old conversation (or rant). Ironically, I was never part of any committee at ESN, but I had helped in various small ways in the past, including the ESN Intro Days for the academic year 2019/2021. If I had to point to only one reason for my choice of a board year, it would be the previous board members, specifically 11th and 12th. They were the ones who I talked to, bantered with, and ultimately had a lot of fun with. Applying for board was a nerve-wracking process but I hope to emulate the experiences those board members gave me to the new students joining us for the upcoming academic year.”

Function Description

As the Partnership Manager, it is important to have a very firm understanding of ESN’s ability to help local and larger businesses. It is important to not over-promise and provide lofty idealizations of how potential partnerships may work. The Partnership Manager needs to understand, as much as possible, what it is that ESN can provide to partners as it is a two-way street. The ESNcard, for example, is a fantastic way for newer companies to cement a reputation in the minds of students through discounts. On the flip side though, some companies prefer to maintain their brand image and thus opt out of providing discounts. The goal of offering valuable collaborations to new partners is therefore a major goal that the Partnership Manager must always aim to reach. On top of discount hunting, the Partnership Manager’s other, equally significant, role in ESN is to spice things up for the professional side of things. The annual International Career Days for example brings companies closer to students and there are career related events scattered throughout the year. The Partnership Manager needs to understand that there is no one solution to the everlasting problem of students looking to get started with their careers. In doing so, the Partnership Manager oversees the Career Committee in ensuring that university students feel more confident in their ability to filter out their personal strengths and weaknesses in order to assess what a future career may look like.


Life After ESN // Daniel van Loenen // 9th Board

My name is Daniel and I was the Partnership Manager of the 9th board of ESN Rotterdam. I was born and raised in the Netherlands, but I have a double nationality (Dutch and Polish). Despite this diverse background, a board year at an international organization like ESN contributed to both my personal and professional life. On a personal note, I can say that I made friends for life. I am still in touch with many people I met during my board year. This refers to people who were part of ESN or other exchange students who came to Rotterdam. The cool thing about this is that ESN brings you in touch with people from all over the world which establishes a truly global network. On a professional note, working with your committee and other board members is an extremely valuable experience. You learn to collaborate with people from different cultures, resolve conflicts, lead meetings, present proposals, and manage your time effectively. All in all, many skills you will need for your future job.