Anastasia Krol describes her journey from being a student to being employed at ING.
Opportunity (Hiring process)
When I was looking for job opportunities during the last year of my Master’s I was terrified. The University program was about to end and I had absolutely no idea what to do next. Even though I believed that I was ready to bravely explore the unknown - judging from my experience of moving to Europe at the age of 17 - this time I was not sure how to deal with all of it.
None of the job offers I had on the table were really anything inspiring and I was already coming to terms with the fact that all of the international student networking events and creative projects were about to become memories of the fun old student days.
When ING responded to my CV and invited me for the first (of three) rounds of the ITP application process, I honestly thought that it wouldn’t work out. A position in an international bank? Sounds serious, complex and honestly a bit… boring? What do international banks do anyway? Is it what I want to do? There was only one way to find out… to try.
I appreciated from the very beginning that programme is constructed in a way that takes such doubts into consideration. I understood that the first year is all about getting to know the bank and deciding what exactly is inspiring about it. It includes rotations throughout different departments of the bank, mentoring, international rotations, events with other trainees from all around the world, the first level of the CFA qualification and a smooth transition into the first permanent position to ensure a perfect match. The perfect answer to all of the questions! After the final interview – involving an intense and competitive business panel with three managers - I got a call and an offer!
The Ride (Year 1)
If I had to describe what this year was about in one word? I would say uncertainty. Things change every hour of every day and I find it fascinating, but extremely challenging, as I have never faced it before.
During this first year I had three rotations in the different departments of wholesale banking in Prague, which is a precious experience for someone starting off their career.
I started in the Lending department where I spent the first eight months with the team and learned plenty of hard skills in the field of credit & financial analysis. This was the first time I felt the orange culture of lifting each other up, supporting one another and helping others to be successful.
We aligned with my manager that my main goal was to learn as much as I could about the bank - both in terms of its people and processes.
Right after my graduation I started to actively search for a position in the foreign branch of ING for a short term assignment. I found a perfect match in Belgium and confirmed with the host manager a start date for this new challenging position in two months time, although unfortunately this didn’t happen for various reasons.
I asked for another rotation instead, in addition to signing up for a CFA exam (which is obligatory for my ITP track) in order to not waste time. In between my rotations was the first International ITP event – Inspire, which took place in Amsterdam. It was a unique fourteen day experience, despite the intensity of the program.
I was impressed with how well-balanced the program was. Everything was so exciting! After the end of the event, I passed our obligatory Core Banking Skills exam and started with my second rotation in Financial Markets. During the course of my second rotation I received an offer from ING Prague to start my first position for ING Czech Republic as a Junior Lending Specialist.
Currently I am on my last rotation (Client Coverage) and it is brilliant! This department feels completely different - it is more strategically-oriented, which I enjoy a lot.
Overall, I am extremely happy as I am excited about every day spent in the office. My favorite thing about ING is the environment of open-mindedness and curiosity. Everyone working in ING is very entrepreneurial which gives you the feeling that anything is possible if you work to make it happen. It may be hard to understand this from the very beginning, but not having strict guidelines brings about very exciting possibilities! If you are ready to take on the challenge and find a creative and innovative approach to solve it, you will receive great support - so just go for it!
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