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.