Aleksander Pettersen

Wholesale Banking is a fast-paced environment that really appeals to me

A former soldier, personal trainer, maths teacher and mechanical engineering student has become a Wholesale Banking trainee working on sustainable financing. It might sound odd, but that has been precisely Aleksander Pettersen’s path to get where he is today.

When he wanted to broaden his horizons after finishing high school, Aleksander studied to become a personal trainer in Indonesia. Once back in Norway, his homeland, he joined the army. As a keen athlete he loved the physical side of that, but missed an intellectual challenge.

A ‘life-changing’ encounter

Aleksander: “I increasingly realised that I wanted to continue studying. My brother inspired me to start a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at the University of Tromsø. I didn’t want to stay in one place for long so I did an exchange at the Polytechnical University of Valencia in Spain, which is famous for its engineering curriculum. There, I met the people who turned out to be ‘life changing’ for me: they convinced me to move to the Dutch city of Delft.”

The place to be

“The master’s in technology management I did in Delft was interesting, but what had the most impact on me were the people I met and the Netherlands itself. I really fell in love with the beautiful Dutch cities, the history and culture. It was during another exchange in Porto, Portugal, that I realised how much I missed the Netherlands and how I really could imagine myself settling here in the future. Because of my growing interest in finance and economics I decided to do a second master’s in financial management, in Utrecht. During that master’s I applied for the traineeship at ING – The place to be for graduates with an eagerness to learn and a desire to step out of their comfort zone, while exploring the many opportunities that come with a banking career.’’

In line with expectations

“I expected this traineeship to offer numerous opportunities in a challenging environment where I wouldn’t stop learning, and it has fully met my expectations so far. I chose Wholesale Banking because it’s a fast-paced environment with a strong commercial focus and a certain amount of pressure that really appeals to me. I’m a keen chess player which means I’m a strategic thinker, and I guessed that would come in handy in the type of work involved in Wholesale Banking.”

Member of the pitch team

“For my first rotation I chose to join the Sustainable Financing team which issues sustainability improvement loans – a really great concept developed by ING. These loans have a flexible interest rate depending on the company’s sustainability factor. My role as an analyst is to prepare pitches for clients – by analysing their business, their industry and their peers – including suggestions for their sustainability strategy. I attend client meetings and recently even gave part of the presentation myself. I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous, but apparently it went well, because shortly afterwards I was asked to do it again. It’s great that I’m getting the chance to do this so early on in my traineeship. Opportunities like that help me to improve and overcome my shyness in those kinds of situations.”

Exciting nervousness

“I am now about to start my second assignment, which will be at Debt Capital Markets – a totally different domain within Wholesale Banking. I expect it to be intense and very demanding, but that’s exactly what I want. I thrive on working hard and being challenged. It gives me a sort of nervous excitement that I love. I’m looking forward to starting in my new role!”

About Aleksander

Aleksander loves all kinds of sports. From soccer and cross-country skiing to tennis and squash, as long as it’s physically active and competitive, he is up for it. His father taught him to play chess when he was a kid, and he still is an avid player. Aleksander lives in Amsterdam.

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