Karolina Ordowska

Enjoy the freedom to explore all aspects of modelling

“I’m Karolina Ordowska and I work in the Risk Hub at ING Tech Poland. This is my first job since graduating   and it’s exactly where I want to be. There are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow, both personally and professionally.  ING is a fast-growing international bank with a start-up attitude, so there’s constant change and movement, which is both challenging and exciting.  


ING’s orange culture is everywhere: it’s open, forward-looking, supportive, diverse and inclusive. I started working at the bank  while still doing my master’s degree and decided to stay after I graduated. I moved to the Risk Hub in May 2019, just three months after it opened, so you could say I was one of the pioneers. We’ve been growing exponentially ever since.

I have a bachelor’s degree in econophysics, followed by a double master’s degree in quantitative assets and risk management at the universities of Katowice and Vienna. That master’s turned out to be the right choice, because I’m validating exactly the kinds of models I learned about during my studies.

The most important task of a model validator is to guarantee the quality of the bank’s credit risk models. We validate internally developed models to ensure they are reliable, fit for their intended use and comply with regulatory requirements. Our goal is to promote a better understanding of a model’s limitations and potential weaknesses. You can use your skills to identify, measure, analyse and assess the likelihood of risks. It’s how we secure the bank’s ongoing financial stability, protect our customer data and ensure ING’s products are safe to use.

Choose your own path

I’m currently working on internal rating-based (IRB) models, but there are lots of other areas that I’ll be able to explore in the future. That’s what I love about working at ING: the freedom to make my own choices and to choose my own path. For now, I’m more than satisfied with the variety in the IRB area. There’s a lot to learn and more than enough to challenge me.

One thing that makes it so challenging is the global scale of our work. We work with colleagues from around the globe here in Warsaw and in Amsterdam to validate models for all ING countries. Another interesting aspect is that we create the tools and processes ourselves. We innovate and automate, making the basics faster and easier so that we can focus on the more complicated aspects of our work.

Keep challenging myself

I feel I’ve made a lot of progress since I joined ING. For example, when I started I could only create simple SQL query, now I can perform all the validation in SAS  using the macros our team created. I’ve also improved on a personal level. I’m rather shy by nature, but I recently gave two presentations in Amsterdam and Warsaw. It was pretty stressful, but I want to keep challenging myself to do new things.  I’ve started mountain caving and if it wasn’t for the coronavirus outbreak I would be in Peru right now on a three-month trip off the beaten track. It’s amazing that ING is willing to give me the change to do that! I also had   the opportunity to mentor two students in ING’s bootcamp programme. It feels good to be able to help them take their first steps in what will definitely be an interesting career at ING.”

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