“I love working for a company that encourages you to fully be yourself"

Bram Koper

Financial Controller Commerce

Financial Controller Commerce

As a 15-year-old boy, Bram Koper started a job as a store clerk at the Albert Heijn supermarket in his hometown of Maarssenbroek. He probably wouldn’t have believed you if you had told him then that he would still be working for the same company nearly 15 years later. Only today he’s no longer a store associate; he now holds the title of Finance Controller at the supermarket chain’s parent organization, Ahold Delhaize. “I love working for a company that encourages you to fully be yourself, that values you and that offers you lots of opportunities to grow, both personally and professionally.”   

Every Tuesday and Thursday evening and all day on Saturdays – the legal maximum number of working hours for a 15-year-old in the Netherlands – Bram would spend his time replenishing shelves at the Albert Heijn in the Bisonspoor shopping mall. He still vividly remembers the fun he had in those days. “I was part of a group of about 25 store clerks, all boys and girls aged 15 or 16 from Maarssen and surrounds. Aside from being a place to work, Albert Heijn was also where I met lots of new people and made new friends.” 

Back then, Bram didn’t really have a clear picture of what his career path would look like. “I went on to study commercial economics because many of my friends had gone that route and enjoyed it. After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I considered doing a master’s in finance. I really liked working with numbers and was actually pretty good at it. But at that time I had been working as Team Lead for a few years and was in the running to become Assistant Supermarket Manager. The idea of earning a full-time salary appealed to me greatly, and so I put the idea of doing my master’s on hold.”  

A nudge from his inner voice 

But there was always that voice in the back of his head, asking questions like, ‘Don’t you think it would be a good idea to get your master’s now?’ and ‘Do you really want to do this for the rest of your life?’. It took Bram a while to realize that the answer to the first question was ‘yes’ and the answer to the second wasn’t very clear-cut.


“As Assistant Supermarket Manager, you invest a lot of time in helping others to develop new skills, but I personally wanted to learn more, too. And so I decided to go back to school to do my master’s.” 
When Bram told his manager about his decision, he received his full support. The company even paid for his studies. “In the end, it took me three years to complete my degree – I experienced a few months delay while writing my thesis. Throughout the whole process, my managers and colleagues were incredibly supportive. I love working for a company that really looks out for its team and genuinely wants associates to reach their full potential.”  

Finding his groove 

With his master’s degree in sight, Bram felt ready to take the next step within the organization, too. When he came across an internal job spec for a Finance Controller position at Ahold Delhaize on the company’s career website, he decided to apply. After having worked in Albert Heijn stores for over 10 years, he found himself sitting at a desk at Ahold Delhaize’s HQ in Zaandam. “I’ll be honest, that change required quite a bit of adjusting. Coming from the hustle and bustle of a shop environment where I was constantly surrounded by people and activity, it took some time to get used to the much quieter work setting of an office.

And it took even more time to get comfortable working from home – that was a completely new experience for me! It felt especially odd in the beginning when I didn’t have a lot of meetings yet and some days were really quiet. A year into the job, I have definitely found my groove and really love it.” 
The fact that Bram gets to work with numbers is one of the main appeals of his job. It turns out that the voice in the back of his head pushing him in this direction was right: finance is a great fit for him. “I’m part of the Finance Control Merchandising & Sourcing team – an amazing group of highly skilled and experienced people. Currently, my work within Ahold Delhaize involves me working exclusively for Albert Heijn. We are constantly trying to optimize existing finance processes and implement new ones to give better control to the company. For instance, we recently were involved in implementing  a change to ensure stock is registered in the systems of the stores we serve. As a result, Albert Heijn stores can now see exactly how many flowers they have at hand, which makes the ordering process easier and gives a clearer picture when reviewing the accounts. I love it when we achieve something together – often in collaboration with our colleagues in India, Business Control, Store Support and IT departments – and it’s great to know that I personally contributed to that success. That’s the most rewarding feeling.”  

When he’s not working, Bram likes to spend time with friends or his girlfriend, Celine. “I live with Celine next to her parents' dairy farm in Loenen aan de Vecht, close to Utrecht. My in-laws are farmers who own around 80 cows. Celine works as a project manager at a big company, but when the farm is very busy or her parents are away, she steps in to help. I love living in such a beautiful rural environment with so much space. On a sunny day, a group of us get into a boat to explore the area’s waterways. Other pastimes that make me happy are attending festivals or going for drinks with friends.”   

Bram doesn’t know exactly what the future holds for him yet. “I love the personal and professional growth I’m currently experiencing. One day I hope to take the expertise I’m developing now to whatever my next role will be, and continue to gain new skills. Within Ahold Delhaize, people move between different roles, teams and departments quite a lot. It’s one of the perks of working for a large international organization that proactively encourages personal development.”  


Name: Bram Koper (1994) 
Started working at Ahold Delhaize: June 2009 as a store clerk at Albert Heijn 
Studied: MSc Management sciences (The Open University, 2022) 
Living with: My girlfriend, Celine, next to my in-laws’ dairy farm in Loenen aan de Vecht  
Hobbies: Playing sports (boxing, fitness)  
Wake me up in the middle of the night for: An emergency or holiday travels; otherwise, please let me sleep 
Favorite holiday destination: Southern Europe  
Life-changing event: Internship in Indonesia 
Biggest source of inspiration: People who both work hard and play hard 
Best advice I’ve ever received: ‘Just be yourself’ 

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