My stay in the head office of ING in Amsterdam, where I was part of the exploration team for 6 months

After my studies I wanted to work in an international and intercultural environment. After my Bachelor's degree in tourism, I decided to add a Master's degree in business administration. During my studies I developed a soft spot for innovation management, which I also specialized in during my Master's degree.

How did it go on for you and how did you come to the ITP, our International Talent Programme?

I was generally interested in a trainee program and researched online to find which companies might suit me. Who actually offers trainee positions in change and project management? The results were initially sobering. There were hardly any opportunities in this area for me as a newcomer. Then I discovered the ITP program at ING. In terms of content, the job advertisement perfectly matched my expectations, only the idea of working in a bank took some getting used to at first. The more I read about ING, the more curious I became. The fact that the company was awarded as a "Great Place to Work" by its employees was an important point for me. I had previously experienced the positive and enriching work/corporate culture in another company, which had done very well in the same study.

What was the next step? What tipped the scales for your decision?

The most important argument for me was that I had the chance to get into change and project management at ITP. The Retail Banking track gives trainees the opportunity to get to know different areas of the bank and, in addition to project management, to work in sales or real estate financing, for example.

How did the application process go?

There were only 6 weeks between my application and the final acceptance. That was really very fast. After the online tests I went to the "Company Day". Already during the first meeting I thought: "How cool! This is really a personal exchange as equals." From the very beginning, the other employees have given me the feeling that the company has a genuine interest in my skills, interests and professional goals. At the same time, they have given me a very good feeling of what makes ING tick as a company, what makes the bank stand out and how people work together as a team.

Where do you currently work? And how has your development been so far?

I recently joined the "One Agile Way of Working" team as a PACE coach. When I started, I was initially involved in classic project management. During this time I got to know the company very well and worked on many cross-departmental bank projects. I really enjoyed the topics in this area and from September 2017 I was employed as a PACE coach in the Digital Strategy & Innovation Team. "PACE" is the innovation methodology of ING.

The methodology helps us to develop new products and services closely aligned with customer needs and to improve existing products and processes. We coaches accompany the concept development and the teams to optimize success.

How is the day-to-day work as a trainee in Track Retail Banking?

From the very beginning, I was positively impressed by how much I was pushed as a trainee. It starts right away and you're right in the middle of all kinds of different topics.

Normally you do so-called rotations in all tracks, but in project management it was different. The working method there is based on a cross-departmental approach. You work together with colleagues from different departments and disciplines. This also allows you to develop a more comprehensive view of the company.

Stakeholder management therefore plays a key role alongside organizational activities.

In your opinion, what should you bring to the program?

You should be a doer and enjoy taking things into your own hands. Particularly in the area of project management, you should be very open towards people, as you sometimes work with very different personalities. It is just as important that you enjoy approaching different topics. For example, at the beginning I had to find an approach to complex financial topics. Now I see this as a real benefit for me. Empathy is just as important, because you are often the "connector" between people and projects. At the same time, you often slip into the role of a mediator and moderate topics. It is my job to accompany the exchange of content between colleagues so that we achieve the best possible results in this process.

How is the ITP generally structured?

The talent program lasts 4 years in total. In the rotations of the first 18 months, you get to know different areas in the bank. After that, you start with your first job as a permanent employee. In addition, you will receive further support as part of the program. This includes international qualifications such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). In the Retail Banking track, Greenbelt Lean Six Sigma is also part of the curriculum. Here, students learn skills related to process optimization.

Basically, it is all about continuous further development. But you are always responsible for this to some extent.

What other advantages does the program offer?

You can develop good connections within the company: Networking is very important and you support each other. A stay abroad is also part of the program. You can feel that the company plans with us as trainees – and thinks in a networked and future-oriented way. That is really something special.

Does experience abroad also belong to ITP? What have you done?

For my STA, I decided to work in the head office of ING in Amsterdam because a lot happens in the innovation environment there. For 6 months I was part of the Exploration Team, which is concerned with exploring new business areas outside the traditional banking business and then bringing them to life with the help of colleagues from the Accelerator Program. The work is super exciting as it is really about developing new business models and thus helping to shape the future of ING.

About Annalena

Location: Frankfurt, Amsterdam

Focus: Retail Banking, Project Management, Digital Strategy & Innovation

My highlight: "My stay in the head office of ING in Amsterdam, where I was part of the exploration team for 6 months."

Why ING: "Because of the possibility to enter into change and project management through ITP."

My tip for applicants: "You should be a doer and enjoy taking things into your own hands. Particularly in the field of project management, you should be very open and empathetic towards people. I am enthusiastic about working on innovations and driving change processes together with others.”

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