Achieve something remarkable

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Swaensborgh ship

In 1989, two students from the Amsterdam Academy, while at the bar in their student house, came up with the idea of a student race which is now known as the ‘Race of the Classics’. Every year 680 young professionals from leading international organisations sail from Rotterdam to Ipswich. This year, I will join the ABN AMRO team in this spectacular event. It suits ABN AMRO not be afraid of a challenge and competition. To work in a team that is able to adjust to changing circumstances, that can deal with ad hoc situations and is ready to build relationships inside and outside ABN AMRO.

I wanted to work in a dynamic, international and complex environment and found all these ingredients in the ABN AMRO Clearing traineeship. Ilse Karelse Ilse Karelse Relationship Manager Energy and Commodity Clients

In this first of multiple ‘Race of the Classics ‘ (ROTC) blogs to come, I am given the opportunity to write about the start of my career with ABN AMRO up until the ‘Race of a lifetime’. ‘When you think you’ve seen it all, there is always something new around the corner’ is the perfect description of a career at ABN AMRO. I have worked for two business lines in four different countries, with a multitude of clients varying from oil traders in the Middle East to high-frequency traders, in a constantly changing financial environment where every day is different. The same goes for the place where I started my first job after the ABN AMRO traineeship: London.

I spent the first years after finalising my Corporate Law and Business Administration degrees at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, pursuing my passion: travel. ‘Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling’ – these words were written on my travel journal, which I filled with stories. I got to experience the ultimate feeling of freedom while swimming with pink dolphins in the Amazon in Bolivia, watching the sun come up over Maccu Picchu, staying with a local tribe in Laos and during hundreds of other experiences I could talk about for hours. In the summer of 2014, I came back to start my first job, at ABN AMRO. I wanted to work in a dynamic, international and complex environment and found all these ingredients in the ABN AMRO Clearing traineeship.

During the fifteen months that followed, I worked for Clearing in Amsterdam and was given the opportunity to do three assignments of three months each at several offices all over the world. This made my traineeship an extraordinary one. I joined Clearing in London and Sydney and ECT in Dubai, worked alongside colleagues from a variety of backgrounds and broadened my professional horizon in many ways. I contributed to a technical IT project and a financial RWA allocation framework, created commercial insights in different ways of pricing and gained valuable insights into trade finance with ECT. I am proud to say that I work for a global firm where the possibilities are seemingly endless if you work hard and put your mind to achieving these goals.

Having filled my (this time imaginary) backpack with the experiences and knowledge described above, I started my career as a Relationship Manager Energy and Commodity Clients at ABN AMRO Clearing London in January 2016. I am the day-to-day contact for my client portfolio, and try to service their needs for hedging in the financial commodity markets worldwide.

The City of London might be small, but it is mighty. It is not all champagne and cigars and white men in pinstriped suits and bowler hats. It is a multicultural hub with endless possibilities and there’s no other place like it. ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford’ is a saying with which I couldn’t agree more. From a young professional’s point of view, it has been an amazing time so far.

I will tell you more about my ‘Life in the City’ in my next blog, which will follow in due course on the road towards the next new remarkable experience that is just around the corner: The Race of the Classics. The Young Meets Old ROTC event last week, one of the first activities towards the Race, was a great opportunity to meet new people and network. Being someone with no experience when it comes to sailing, I probably didn’t ask the former ROTC team the most intelligent questions. Still, they were useful questions and I now have a good picture of what to expect. With drinks on a boat on the canals of Amsterdam and a lovely dinner with the 2015 team, it was a great kick-off!


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