Rising through the company ranks

Ilse came to ING as a trainee in October 2012. During her training, she gained expertise in three different areas. At 28, she served as the Business Manager for CEO Nick Jue. Today, as Head of Investment Advice she is in charge of the Komfort-Anlage (comfort investment) and online asset management at ING Germany. What’s her secret to success? Showing initiative and having a hunger for new experiences is more important for your personal development than formal qualifications. This is her story.

Being Dutch, I became an ING customer at a young age. After my studies, I looked into the ING trainee program. I had the chance to get some insight into the company at a gathering for potential trainees. We were tasked with creating and presenting new solutions and products to the Management Board. I felt very valued when the Board listened to our new product ideas. They didn’t simply praise everything but asked critical questions. I immediately felt like I was being taken seriously – but I also got to experience a Board member scrutinizing new ideas. This Board member, as it turns out, was Nick Jue, then working for ING in the Netherlands and now the CEO of ING Germany.

From zero to a hundred

I started as a trainee in accounting in Amsterdam. The open culture won me over immediately. It is present in the parent company and in every ING branch. There is a familiarity among colleagues and the department manager’s door is always open. After only six months, I was given the opportunity to take a foreign assignment. Short-Term Assignments (STA) in another country are part of the trainee program. I knew that I wanted to go to ING Frankfurt.

In Frankfurt, I was placed in Controlling. I enjoyed the varied responsibilities of my job, as well as the city of Frankfurt. I liked it so much that I chose to stay indefinitely, although I was originally supposed to return to Amsterdam after six months. My role in Management Accounting allowed me to support various departments with their cost management, while getting to know many different people at the company. There was plenty of opportunity for personal development, and I was able to complete supplementary training as a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Off to new pastures

After three years in Controlling, I heard that a new international team would be formed in Frankfurt with the task of developing global securities solutions. The topic sounded so thrilling to me, so I reached out to the director of the new department and expressed my interest without even knowing the requirements. After a meeting, I knew that it was the perfect challenge for me. In Global Retail Investment Products Solutions (GRIPS), I was once again responsible for global issues. As my career shows, switching between branch offices and groups can be seamless. Among other things, I took on the task of looking into the possibilities of online asset management. I worked on this project for a year and it ended with a partnership between ING and Scalable Capital.

Work in the securities sector was always exciting and fun for me. So I was faced with a tough decision when the opportunity arose to apply for the position of Business Manager for CEO Nick Jue. I applied nonetheless, because I wanted to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My trump card was my varied background: I had learned to keep many aspects in mind at once and to familiarize myself with subjects in no time. Those skills benefitted me greatly as Nick’s Business Manager. And I was able to hone my skills further over the next 2 ½ years. Despite the exciting and wide-ranging topics, I developed the desire for a new challenge, which would lead me back to securities.

An agile transformation was in full swing at the time, so many new positions were already filled. However, Nick and Daniel offered suggested I lead my own project. The goal was to determine whether the investment consultation that had been implemented in Spain could also be introduced in Germany. Today, it is known as the Komfort-Anlage of ING Germany.

As the current Head of Investment Advice, I took on this task with great enthusiasm and began, bit by bit, to put together a team for this project. It involved hiring employees for operational tasks and finding asset coaches. In no time, our team had grown to 30 asset coaches and 8 employees. Together, we got the digital and personal consultation path for the Komfort-Anlage off the ground.

In my current position, I can also pursue my passion of getting more women interested in investing. For this, I have managed to find like-minded female employees in the bank who are passionate about women and investing. We’ve formed a working group to keep driving this topic with the goal of incorporating it in the greater strategy.

Staying flexible, following passions

My career path shows that professional development at ING does not follow predetermined tracks. Through personal initiative, I was always able to determine my own next steps. The company always allowed me the freedom to switch between individual departments as well as between branch offices of the ING Group. My superiors encouraged me continuously in my personal development and stood by my side as advisors.

Do your thing: along with my professional development and my passion for making investing appealing to women, at ING I can also invest time in my hobbies. For example, I’ve been a member of the ING-Band “Swinging Lions” for 8 years. Even here I’ve made progress: I started with the keyboard, and now I’m also the lead singer.

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