Always thinking about what’s next and where do we want to be
The international assignments that normally form part of the ING traineeship have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily for Seb Korsten, he has already seen a lot of the world on his travels.
Australia, Indonesia, India, Central America and Sri Lanka are just some of the places Seb has been to over the years. “As part of my bachelor’s degree I spent six months studying in Perth, and I went to Central America during my gap year. In that same gap year I also did an internship at ABN Amro, which was my first introduction to the world of finance and – indirectly – to operations and change.”
He did his master’s thesis on organisational adaptability. “When we were learning about flexible organisations, it soon became clear that ING is the frontrunner in the banking industry so that seemed like the place to be for me. This traineeship was the deciding factor because Operations & Change is a perfect fit, both with my interests and with my educational background.”
“I loved my first assignment right from the start. It was at Wholesale Banking Client Services, in the Performance Management and Innovation team. I set up a dashboard to enable the department to monitor how to handle customer requests as efficiently as possible based on the available capacity. There was a great sense of team spirit and I was given lots of responsibility. It was a little daunting, but above all lots of fun.”
Internal consultancy team
“My second assignment should have been at ING Turkey. I was literally standing in the Turkish embassy with my visa application in my hand when I heard that it was definitely not going ahead. I was disappointed, of course, but I soon found an alternative assignment at Global Change Execution – an internal team of consultants who work on change projects. I actually really enjoyed it and I could have stayed on to continue working on the project, but I was keen to see other areas of the bank – preferably within a more strategic assignment.”
ING’s innovation hub
“I now work as a Scaling Consultant at ING Labs, ING’s innovation hub where new initiatives are developed and nurtured into a proven concept. There comes a time when successful initiatives have to be scaled up, such as to more countries or to more customers – and that’s where I come in. For example, I’m currently involved in an internationalisation strategy. I’m conducting market research, analysing the potential of the business case, studying the legislation and regulations in the target countries and evaluating whether – and if so, how – a team should be set up on the ground. It’s strategic and analytical, but with visible results. I like that.”
Beyond the comfort zone
I have got a taste of numerous aspects of Ops & Change, and I’ve been able to shape my own trajectory, which is great. I always try to push myself beyond my comfort zone, because I believe you can’t grow unless you also do things that feel a little uncomfortable. I like big challenges, because it’s even more satisfying when you succeed… and then you can move on to the next one. I’m someone who’s always thinking about what’s next and where do we want to be. And that’s a very good fit with this track.”
At the moment Seb works as a Venture Builder at ING Neo. Innovating and building a new asset around Embedded Finance for Energy Efficiency Renovations and Sustainble Housing.
Seb initially wanted to become a gym teacher and started doing a physical education degree, but after a year he felt that he wouldn’t find the profession challenging enough in the long run so he switched to administrative and organisational sciences at the VU. After graduating, he took a gap year before doing a master’s degree in organisational change and consultancy at Erasmus University. He loves surfing and keeping fit, either at the gym or at home. Travelling is his passion and he has a long-held dream of travelling around Namibia in a 4x4.