My stay in New York. A great city where I experienced many great projects that gave me deeper insight

I am a trainee in Risk Management and started at ING in October 2016. Since then, I have had several rotations and in May this year I started on my first permanent position. For my first rotation, I spent six months in Credit Risk Management. There I got to know about Wholesale & Retail Credit Risk Management, for example. After that, I was in Market & Integrative Risk Management and Treasury for five months. After a year at ING in Frankfurt, I went to New York for my STA and worked in Counterparty Risk Management. When I returned to Germany in early 2018, I was in the Wholesale Banking front office and in Non-Financial Risk Management.

What did you do before your traineeship?

I completed my Bachelor’s and Master's degrees at the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund. It was already clear to me during my Bachelor’s degree that I wanted to specialize in finance. That's why I later focused on Risk & Finance with my Master’s degree. During my semester abroad, I was at the Ocean University of China in Qingdao.

How did you get involved in the ING trainee program?

In the beginning of my last year of studies I started looking for potential trainee positions. During my research, I noticed the ING job advertisement and registered for an interview with ING at the Access Banking & Finance fair. The exchange at the fair was great; the opportunity to meet current trainees was especially good. In addition, of course, there is the international network and the interesting opportunities that a global company brings with it, the special corporate culture and the growing importance of ING in Germany that convinced me, and I applied immediately afterwards.

International experience plays an important role in this program. A foreign assignment is a mandatory component. Can you talk about your time abroad?

New York was a great experience for me. The colleagues there were very welcoming, integrated me and involved me. Another advantage was that there were many other trainees from all over the world who were in New York at the same time. That made it possible to make new contacts immediately.

The international network is also an important part of the trainee program. How do you experience working in an international environment?

My experiences so far have been consistently positive. I was immediately involved everywhere and was given responsible tasks very quickly.

In my team I work with many inspiring personalities from a wide variety of backgrounds. In total, seven different nationalities are represented - I really like that.

What do you think is so special about the trainee program at ING?

What makes the program special for me is, most of all, the international component and the total duration of the program of four years. In comparison to other trainee programs, we stay in touch with other trainees after the first 18 months and continue to be supported and challenged over the entire four years. Apart from that, I really like the fact that we can achieve different levels of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualifications within the ITP and that there are other opportunities for further training, such as language courses. The important thing is that you can organize yourself well and bring your own self-discipline with you.

What project or topic was a highlight during your rotations?

All in all, I would say that the stay abroad was my personal highlight. This was partly because I did the longest rotation of 4 months there.

While abroad, I had the chance to dedicate myself to a more extensive project on my own and to gain deeper insight. This was certainly one of the most interesting and responsible challenges during my first 18 months as a trainee. And for me it was also the best in this respect because I worked with many different units.

What do you think potential trainees should bring to the program?

The motivation to go the extra mile – or let's just call it: interest and curiosity. That is fundamental for a trainee program. A trainee should also want to work in an international environment, as the program is very international and there is also the possibility to work abroad later on.

What does the program prepare you for and what are the challenges?

The program prepares me very well for international cooperation. You already meet many international trainees at our first trainee event called "INSPIRE". In addition, the stay abroad teaches you to think and work globally and bigger. This means not only concentrating on your own area or on ING in Germany, but also on the global level. You learn to assess everything better, to understand strategic decisions better and to generally think outside the box. The specialist training courses, such as the core banking skills we receive at the trainee events, also contribute to this.

What drives you in life besides your job? What do you get excited about?

Particularly in the current phase of my career, I am interested in many things: I soak up all kinds of information from my colleagues like a sponge and learn many new things every day. You shouldn't be afraid of throwing yourself in at the deep end every day – as a trainee you regularly face new challenges. If you always limit yourself to what you can already do, you won't go anywhere! Challenge yourself again and again and stay curious, only then you can grow.

And how do you see your future?

Since May 1, I have been in my permanent position: in Wholesale Banking Credit Risk. There, from a credit risk perspective, I work with various front office teams such as Structured Acquisition Finance, Telecom Media, Technology & Healthcare and Disintermediation & Asset Securitization.

In my medium-term planning, I would like to gain two years' experience in this position and assume more and more responsibility. After that, I would definitely be tempted to go abroad again – even for a longer period. I could also imagine working in another area of Risk Management or in the front office.

About Alex

Location: Frankfurt, New York

Focus: Credit Risk Management, Wholesale Banking Credit Risk

My highlight: "My stay in New York. A great city where I experienced many great projects that gave me deeper insight."

Why ING: "Because of the international networking, the four-year program duration and the intensive insight into business at very different levels".

My tip for applicants: "Interest and curiosity are fundamental. As a trainee at ING, you should also want to work in an international environment and enjoy doing new things – because if you always limit yourself to what you can already do, you won't go anywhere!”

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