This year’s edition of the Multinational Dinner took us to the picturesque Zalmhuis, which is located steps away from the subway station at Kralingse Zoom. A nice extra is that you can take bus 500, which is more commonly known as the self-propelled park shuttle. Upon entering the restaurant, we were welcomed by Eline Boink, President of the Financial Study association Rotterdam. She handed us our name badges and explained where we could leave our coats, after which we found our way upstairs to meet up with the rest of the participants. Upstairs most were already socializing and enjoying a few drinks. This was also the first moment of contact with the participating companies, Unilever, Albert Heijn and ExxonMobil.
Unilever is, of course, widely known for its impressive range of consumer products, which include very widely known brands such as Axe, Dove and Ben & Jerry’s but also the more local brands like Unox and Calvé.
It is impossible to imagine the Dutch streetscape without Albert Heijn, as this brand is probably the Netherlands’ most famous supermarket chain. Albert Heijn is part of Ahold Delhaize NV which holds several retail companies, including Gall & Gall, Etos and Bol.com.
ExxonMobil is specialized in raw materials such as different types of fuels, synthetic materials – including a lot of the packaging materials we all use on a daily basis – and lubricants. It can easily be said that the participating companies all have a profound impact on our lives.
The dinner consisted of three courses, which all lasted 50 minutes. The course ended with Eline ringing a bell which meant that you were expected to move over to the table of the next company. A day before the event every participant had received an e-mail with a personal seating arrangement. The setting was cozy and there was a very open atmosphere, which contributed to the feeling that you could ask away about everything you wanted to know about these companies. Hot topics included the job opportunities, trainee programs and daily activities at these firms. All in all, time flew by. It never happened that a conversation was already toning down prior to the sound of the bell.
In addition, all three courses were delicious and added to the nice ambiance. During the first course, a tasting of beef carpaccio, smoked salmon, steak tartare and quinoa salad, I learnt all about the room for personal development at Unilever. While enjoying a guinea fowl in a lovely honey-thyme sauce as my main course I gained some valuable insights on the retail management traineeship and company structure of Albert Heijn and Ahold and for dessert I had a very interesting conversation about sustainability and ethics at ExxonMobil, accompanied with a pear tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream.
The dinner ended with a nice cup of coffee at the bar, so that everyone had a last chance to ask their final questions or share contact information. It was a very interesting evening that certainly contributed to the image of these three companies. Around half past ten the event came to an end and everyone went home.