Jerom van de Kraats on his first months at Hammer

Jerom van de Kraats is a Market Analyst on the Hammer team since September last year. Hammer is a boutique consultancy specializing in providing market intelligence for strategic decision-making. Based in Arnhem, Hammer serves a wide range of clients consisting of family businesses, investors and multinationals.

Can you share a bit more about your background?

Like several colleagues within Hammer, I too have a connection with the Radboud University. During my five years of study there, I completed both the BSc. Business Administration and the MSc. International Business. After graduating in the summer of 2022, I was looking for a job within the field of consultancy to start in the last quarter of that year.  

After several job interviews, I ended up on Hammer Market Intelligence's LinkedIn page. I searched there because a friend of mine had repeatedly mentioned that Hammer was looking for new employees. Here I discovered a vacancy that matched exactly with what I was looking for: market analyst. The work described in the vacancy was very similar to what I found interesting during my studies. For instance, in my master year I had enjoyed writing a business plan for a food company and this assignment had many similarities with the tasks in the job description. Also, Hammer appealed to me because of its unique profile and the team of young professionals.

What are your main responsibilities as market analyst?  

After both an online introduction via Teams and an interview at the office, I was able to start working as a market analyst at the end of September 2022. I was immediately thrown in the deep for my first project. For this, I mainly collected a lot of data, but was also immediately involved in meetings with the client to discuss our working method, methodology and report progress.

Over time, I became increasingly involved in other projects. Last quarter, I focused on a project for a company in the agri-food business, for which we conducted several interviews with experts in the field of digitalization and digital platforms. These interviews served as input to map out the steps in the development process of such a platform. The challenging part here was to translate all collected information into actionable insights for the client, as we had also collected a lot of data from open-desk research. During this project, guidance of senior Hammer team members was really helpful to make that translation. Conducting interviews is very interesting, as industry experts like to talk about their areas of expertise.

Conducting interviews also came up recently in a shorter-term commercial due diligence project for a UK based investor. This project also had a lot of emphasis on business analysis and data modeling. The short timeframe put some pressure on the project, but at the same time this also provides a lot of satisfaction upon final delivery.

How do you experience the culture @Hammer?

Hammer consists of a team of young people and a flat structure, which facilitates learning and collaboration. The younger members receive guidance and advice from a number of senior colleagues. This structure creates a dynamic and friendly atmosphere. Because many colleagues are in the same stage of life, there is also plenty of room for conversations about everyday matters such as football or the news of the day.

The projects for a wide range of clients in various industries make the work varied and challenging. In the past few months, I have noticed that the academic way of working differs substantially from the method used in our projects. An example is the switch to more goal-oriented language instead of academic language, which can be much more cumbersome. It also helps that the lines of communication within Hammer are very short, so you often get quick and targeted feedback on your work. At Hammer, you immediately become a full member of a project team, which ensures a steep personal learning curve.

What advice would you pass on to other starters?

For the search for a first job, I would advise starters to have as many conversations as possible, both with recruiters and potential employers as well as with friends and (in-law) parents. As a starter, you often don't have an exact idea of what you are looking for as a first job, but this idea forms during your search. Personally, it helped me mainly to talk people in my close circle. They often asked the right questions that helped me reflect on the potential job, after which I could make a good choice.

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