Sam is big-hearted about everything he does. From sharing his Murex expertise with people around the world to bringing joy into the lives of deprived children or helping excluded job seekers to reskill for IT jobs.

Meet Sam Van Broeck, Business & Integration Architect Manager at Accenture Belgium & Luxembourg

‘The sea has always played an important part in my life. My father was a sailor for 25 years on long voyages around the world in container ships. The sea air has also been a life saver for me as an asthma sufferer and it’s where I discovered my passion for windsurfing as a teenager. There is no air pollution out on the waves! As my love of the sport grew, so did my ability. I became Junior Belgian Champion and Club Champion. In my last year of secondary school, I was approached by the owners of Aerotech Sails to join their windsurfing team and I became a freestyler, which was great fun.’

My end game was to become a Game Designer! 

‘When the time came to start university, I became self-employed to support my studies and continued windsurfing as a hobby. I began building websites and programming optimizations for companies just as they were just starting to discover the digital world. Most companies back then still did everything on paper. For example, I wrote a program to automate inventory for an import/export company. It was a big thing at the time.’

‘I chose to study at Howest in Bruges because it was the first school in Belgium to offer training in multimedia, coding and web design. I loved the combination of design and coding. My end goal was to become a game designer (on the graphics side). In the end, my skills were sharper in programming and when it came to my final year specialization, I opted for that. It was a good choice. I graduated with 96%.’

‘I went on to win several innovation awards as a student. One of them was Microsoft’s Imagine Cup. Together with a small team of other students, I participated in the Artificial Intelligence programming section and we won the regional, Belgian and European prize! When it came to the continent prize, we came second. That night, we cried.’

‘Then in my final year, I was invited to join a new project within Howest around program performance testing. We successfully created a testing program just on a laptop. This won us a trip to Seattle where we met leaders at Microsoft, MySQL, IBM… it was another world! I’m proud to say the program we helped to start up is still running at Howest and today’s students are still supporting companies with testing.’

Having a very specific expertise and taking pride in your work is not always easy.

‘It was during my final year at Howest that Accenture called to offer me a job working on a biometrics project. This intrigued me, so I thought, why not give it a try and see where we end up. I was curious to see how a big firm handled business so I could “watch and learn” and take best practices back to my own company. Well, that was the plan... After two years of working in parallel, I stopped my self-employed activities and decided to go forward with Accenture, a decision I don’t regret. If I had to start a company again from scratch it would have the same core values as Accenture: Fairness, equality, “the box doesn’t exist”, being ethical and secure.’ 

‘The funny thing is, that biometrics project didn’t get off the ground immediately! Rather, I was invited to join another project at a bank, where a team urgently needed help. Banking and capital markets were a total mystery to me, but I knew that the technology used by Accenture on the project was new, so let’s give it a try! In the end, it was an amazing experience. Hard work, long days, and very international. It also changed me personally. I was accustomed to working alone and it got me into another spirit, working as a team.’

‘I like to know why I’m doing something. I need to see the complete picture. Therefore, I steadily took up more and more front and back office responsibilities in Murex. When system testing takes place before going live, I stay until the end. I feel responsible if things go wrong and I want to be there when something needs fixing. Having a very specific expertise and taking pride in your work is not always easy!’

‘Today, I’m a builder of virtual bridges between all the apps used for making and losing money. I’m part of Accenture’s Technology Financial Services - Capital Markets team where I have become an expert in trading platform integration and migration projects, with a specific focus on Murex. As such, I support projects in multiple countries, and I’ve worked in many different locations and cultures. Connecting with people around the world is what I love most about my job.’

We achieved a 50/50 male/female balance, which makes me very proud!

‘After seven years working on projects for our clients, often abroad, I’ve decided to find a new rhythm. As a Murex expert, I’m still called in to validate proposals or advise our clients, but I now have more time to focus on other projects. Doing less but doing it better. If you know what you want to do, there are many ways to unleash your creativity at Accenture.’

‘Leading the Internships Program is one of them. Each year, we offer final year Bachelor and Master students the opportunity to experience an outstanding 12-15 weeks working on real client cases in Belgium but also in Latvia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Mauritius and India. More than 300 students have already participated in this program. And 25 out of the 40 interns last year joined Accenture. We achieved a 50/50 male/female balance, which makes me very proud!’

When I saw those children at Koraal, I just had to do something

‘Another passion of mine is outside Accenture. I first discovered Koraal through my sister, a childcare specialist. This amazing charity cares for children aged 0 to 12 years who can no longer live with their parents due to family problems. The main goal of Koraal is to reunite these families by providing support and guidance to parents. Meanwhile, it offers children a safe environment in which to live until they can return home. My sister’s dedication to these children, giving them the opportunity to be part of society and enjoy things that most children take for granted such as learning to swim, visiting a playground, was inspiring.’

‘When I saw those children at Koraal, I just had to do something. Knowing Accenture is active in supporting employees’ charitable work, I contacted the Corporate Citizenship team and in 2018, I applied for a grant via Accenture’s Giving Through You initiative. I was delighted to receive a grant, which enabled the children to participate in a summer camp of their choice, from pony riding to a science camp. These children deserve a better chance and we need to invest in their future.’
‘While the local authority provides basic funding to Koraal, there is no budget for any extras, like school materials, clothing or rucksacks. Which is where my colleagues make a difference. For the last two years, they have donated gifts to Koraal via our annual St. Nicholas event plus school materials, toys and clothing. The kids of one colleague even insisted on individually wrapping all the things they donated. Every child likes to receive a surprise gift, right? It is so heartwarming to see this.’

‘Another Corporate Citizenship project I’ve become involved in is BeCode. The aim of BeCode is to reskill people excluded from the labor market and help them to find decent jobs in IT. They range from people who have never studied, students whose studies don’t allow them to get a job, people facing difficulties because of their ethic or cultural background, and women who want to return to work after a career break. Accenture organizes workshops to help job applicants and we have already welcomed seven eCode interns.’

‘Our ambition is to hire 25 people from this untapped talent pool in the future. I hope we succeed, because like all my projects, this is very close to my heart.’

 

Sam Van Broeck

Studied: Multimedia & Communication Technology

Started working at Accenture: 2008

Relationship status: Married

Loves: BBQ, windsurfing…

Gets annoyed by: Sneezing when I have a cold

Favorite food & drink: BBQ, smoked chicken with grilled corn. My favorite drink depends on the mood, location, timing and people I’m with. It ranges from water with cucumber to a decent Trappist and a proper single malt

On my nightstand: Children’s toys

Listens to: Almost everything but regularly Elvis, Charlie Parker, Chopin and Bart Peeters

Would like to sit next to in the plane: Jason Polakow! No doubt at all. Unless there is no wind on the planet that day, then I would go for Bear Grylls, my favorite outdoors teacher

Life-changing event(s): Having kids

The best lesson life has taught me: The end is never near, keep going with a smile

What I learned last week: Rotterdam doesn’t have good Wi-Fi connection to watch soccer

Most beautiful place on earth: Hawaii

Hobbies/passions: Family, windsurfing, BBQ, music and construction work

What nobody knows about me: I was head judge at the World Cup freestyle windsurfing in Porto Pollo, Sardinia

Life motto: There is nothing a good BBQ can’t fix