Engineering and risk modelling are more closely related than you might think.

If New York City was not so far, maybe we would never have met Maral. Originally from Tehran, she moved to Brussels to study Electrical Engineering. In 2021 she joined ING as a Risk Modeller. “Just like Brussels, ING is very dynamic and diverse. The perfect place.”

You’re an electrical engineer. How did you end up in banking?

I came from Iran to Belgium in 2011 and got my master's and PhD in Electrical Engineering in Brussels. After one year of a post-doctorate, I felt I had seen enough in the academia and needed a new challenge. Consulting was my first move. And it was in one of those projects that I came across the world of finance.

I was very much intrigued by this completely new world. As an electrical engineer I never thought I’d be working in a bank. But I felt this click and started looking around and learned that ING offered a lot of opportunities. Also for people with a non-financial background.

You work as a risk modeller. What does that mean?

Simply put, we classify clients who are looking for loans into different risk groups This is usually done based on income and other demographic data. Because we need to make sure that you can actually afford the loan. Not only to protect the bank but also to protect the client. And that’s just as important.

In a way my job does relate with what interests me. Like data, human collaboration, research. So working as an engineer or working as a risk modeller in a bank are more closely related than you might think. Especially in the methods we use to achieve our goals.

Was it easy for you to get familiar with banking?

At first, I had no idea about anything. And that brings me to one of the things that I like about ING. You get the time and support to learn all you need to know about your job. I got one month of intense training in risk modelling. I could start with smaller projects first and gradually evolve.

And there is more that I like about ING. There’s this huge international network you can tap into and work together with. People also really value you for what you do. It’s always noticed and appreciated. And literally everyone wants to help you grow. It’s very dynamic, diverse and human oriented.

Why did you choose Brussels over Teheran?

Well, I always wanted to live in a diverse, multinational, dynamic city! New York City would be a nice candidate! Expect it is very far from home (Tehran). And now after many years passed I really love Brussels! It’s the capital of Europe and it’s so easy to travel across the continent. It’s the perfect place for me.

I also started biking in the city on the weekend. Everyone does it over here. It’s a challenge because there is a lot of climbing that comes with it. But thanks to the ING leaseplan, I’m looking forward to getting an electric bike. That should help.

About Maral

  • Born and raised in Tehran, Iran 
  • Got her master’s and PhD in Electrical Engineering in Brussels 
  • Started working as a Risk Modeller for ING in 2021 
  • Married a Belgian guy and learned all about our obsessions with cycling 
  • Meanwhile, she loves baking and biking 
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