From consultant to partner: talking to Koen Rutten and Luc Keltjens

For Koen Rutten and Luc Keltjens, our renowned cup of coffee to get to know each other was also their first acquaintance with Marktlink. Managing partner Tim van der Meer was looking for reinforcement of his recently opened Amsterdam office at the time. Koen joined as a consultant in 2010, Luc followed in 2015. In the meantime, both have become partners of a business that has since grown from a small business into the go-to M&A specialist in Europe.

Today’s Marktlink is a far cry from what it was in Koen’s and Luc’s first years. Dressed just a little too flashy (“I believed I was being fashionable”), Koen got on the train from Maastricht to Amsterdam for his cup of coffee with Tim van der Meer. “Through my sister, they met through wine trading, he contacted me. I was still graduating from my International Business studies and had not applied for any job yet. We clicked and I saw a great challenge with a business we could continue to build up with a small team.”

Round the table with entrepreneurs

A stronger base had been laid when Luc had his coffee appointment with Tim. Despite a successfully completed management traineeship at a large bank, he opted for a position with a smaller consultancy firm. That put him at the table with entrepreneurs of larger SMEs. “I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and fitted right into this playing field. It was what appealed to me about Marktlink: a hands-on mentality and working hard. The way it was then can’t be compared to what it is now. We didn’t have support departments such as HR and Marketing back then, for example.”

Putting in miles and miles

Anyone who joins Marktlink in 2022, knows exactly what their career path will be like and which opportunities they will get. That path follows the personal development of the people who have been with Marktlink since the early days. “It is great to witness that process of professionalisation of which I’m still a part”, say Luc proudly. “As a junior consultant, I put in miles and miles. As a manager I trained the next generation of consultants, and now, in my partner role, I get the opportunity to think and operate as part of the greater whole.”

Focus on sustainability and making the world a better place

To leave his mark is something Koen aspired to do, when he joined as a partner. “Once the Amsterdam office had been firmly established, I got the opportunity to start a new office in Drachten, in the north of the country. One of my motives is to do something good for the world and that starts with yourself. That is why I strive to make Marktlink more sustainable. I started in Drachten and recently we set up a Green Team with members of all our offices. I genuinely want Marktlink to become a business with a long term focus on sustainability and making the world a better place.”

We all started at the bottom

An entrepreneurial attitude was, is and will always be a prerequisite to succeed at Marktlink. “Because in fact, you run you own business within Marktlink”, Luc states. “The great thing is, as a junior consultant you’re encouraged by looking at the people above you. We all started at the bottom and we all know what we need to do to get ahead.” Koen recognises that. “If you have it in you to show initiative, you can grow as much as you want. The key is to like your job enough to invest in it, and it will always pay off.”

Want to know more?

Contact us now for more information.