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Application tips from previous trainees

Get insider information on SEB’s International Trainee Programme!

If you are curious to learn more about SEB’s trainee programme, check out these valuable tips from former participants who recently finished the programme. Because they really know what it entails! Meet Jennifer Ljungquist and Lisa Silver, who both completed their trainee period in the fall of 2019.

"The trainee programme is such an established concept within the organisation, you immediately feel welcomed by all your colleagues, both from your own department and outside."

A view from the inside

During the nine-month programme, SEB offers trainees a unique opportunity to get familiar with all divisions within the bank and experience different perspectives. The participants get to establish a strong network and learn from experienced colleagues. And they also get to contribute and challenge existing ways of working and thinking.

But the question is, how is all this experienced from the inside and is it as good as it sounds? We asked Jennifer Ljungquist, an engineer with a focus on industrial finance, who now works a Sales Analyst in Foreign Exchange at SEB.

– I definitely think the programme lives up to the expectations. And because the trainee programme is such an established concept within the organisation, you immediately feel welcomed by all your colleagues, both from your own department and outside. During the time as a trainee, I gained a more complete understanding of what the bank does and the many different departments, which I think is unique. And this is a great way to gain a big network, which is really valuable at the beginning of your career. The network makes my job easier from a practical perspective and people are generous in sharing their experiences and giving advice.

The network is something that Lisa Silver also highlights as one of the greatest benefits with the trainee programme.

– Not only do you gain great connections with your colleagues, but you also get a network of trainees from your own course, and trainees from previous years. And that is invaluable! I was also lucky to be in a team where two former trainees already were working. I got a lot of help from them and used them as my sounding board.

"A bank is so much more than people think. And SEB truly wants to challenge the bank industry by putting focus on innovation. There are many opportunities to be creative, regardless of what role you have."

A good employer with innovation in focus

Lisa worked part-time at SEB while she was studying to get her Bachelor in IT and finance. She really enjoyed having SEB as an employer, which motivated her to apply to the trainee programme.

– The way I perceive SEB, both as an employer and as an organisation, has become even more positive. A bank is so much more than people think. And SEB truly wants to challenge the bank industry by putting focus on innovation. There are many opportunities to be creative, regardless of what role you have, says Lisa who works as an IT Project Manager.

Jennifer did not have any prior experience in banking but had heard positive things about the programme and decided to apply. And according to her, entering a new job while simultaneously getting practical courses in leadership and communication was a really great way to start her career. Jennifer worked in London and Singapore for five weeks as a part of the programme. So, if you are interested in working abroad, you can push to be transferred with the support of your manager and mentor. But it is ultimately up to you to get in touch with people at SEB’s foreign offices and find projects you can work with.

– My department can fortunately be found at many of SEB sites, which made it easy for me to transfer to an office abroad. One of my assignments, in London, was to prepare material for, and together with my manager, to attend client meetings. Through this I gained a more holistic perspective and could compare how our different geographic regions interpreted customer focus and service.

Lisa also took the opportunity to work abroad. And for one month she worked in Singapore. Together with a colleague, she mapped out how to complete clients’ onboarding, annual review and offboarding. The result was a thorough document describing the processes, together with IT requirements, that now can be used as a reference to identify areas for development. Challenging the status quo is an important part of SEB’s company culture.

Common mistakes as a new trainee

Both Lisa and Jennifer point out that a common mistake a lot of new trainees make is to believe that there are high demands on them to instantly deliver.

– Most people who start the programme are used to delivering at a high pace, since it’s expected at university. And they want to achieve a lot. But the trainee programme is also about gaining knowledge and building relationships. Because observing and learning before delivering, is actually better in the long run. The balance between learning and performing is important and sometimes it is good to lower the high expectations we put on ourselves, says Jennifer.

Finally, what advice would you two thriving trainees want to share with candidates applying for the next period?

– There are many different opportunities as a trainee in SEB. But it is crucial that you take responsibility and work independently. You will get a lot of support, but do not expect to get everything served. You should also think about what strategy suits you the best. I have actively chosen to learn more about the areas I knew the least about, since I wanted to broaden my knowledge. But you might be more interested in a specific position and want to nerd out in that area instead, says Lisa.

Jennifer agrees that it is important to take initiative. For example, you will need to independently get in touch with the different branches you want to learn more about to make a transfer.

– Try to not get so influenced by what the other trainees are doing. Leave the “I should also…” mindset and try to focus on what sparks your interest. This is your trainee period, so use the time for your own development. Good luck and have fun! Says Jennifer.

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Joining SEB’s International Trainee Programme means that you are offered a position within one of the bank’s prioritized areas AND an exciting trainee programme with an international focus.

The application period for the programme 2020-2021 starts the 18th of November 2019. In the meantime we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter to get updates about SEB, the programme and a reminder when it is time to submit your application!

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