Banking is not brain surgery

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Runners

The level of activity and dynamism at a bank is much higher than many might think. I expect that anyone who wishes to make a difference can find a niche. I found mine at Debt Solutions. We carefully analyse domestic and international companies and offer them financing solutions. This is what fills me with energy: studying a scenario in depth, understanding what a company needs at crunch moments and being able to fulfil those needs.

With so many different industries and types of companies, I learn something new every day Tommy Poll Tommy Poll Trainee

Involvement in the bank’s true purpose

I have always wanted to work in the financial sector. Becoming a trainee at ABN AMRO was a simple decision for me: it gives me what I want. On the one hand I want to work with major clients, for the dynamism and the complexity. On the other I want to see what goes on at various different departments. At Debt Solutions I do both. Another factor, and one that is not entirely irrelevant, is that lending is the bank’s true purpose. Here I am close to the heart of the business.

Everything from the oil industry to slaughterhouses

With clients including major domestic and international enterprises, my work is very diverse. One day I might be familiarising myself with an offshore oil company, and the next client might be a slaughterhouse. With so many different industries and types of companies, I learn something new every day. At this early stage in my career this is particularly useful, as it gives me a wide scope. We also have regular training sessions to stay up-to-date. I join trainees from the Corporate Banking Graduate Programme who are finding their way in a similar field. This gives me an opportunity to focus my training more on specialist areas, and to meet people I deal with in my job. I also want to spend some time working abroad. In September I will travel to New York, to join a team like the one here in Amsterdam. I think it will be a great opportunity to get to know the people there and to specialise in financing.

Fit for the job

I relax after a busy day at the office by going running four or five times a week. At the moment I am training to run the New York marathon this autumn, with twenty others from Debt Solutions. I also regularly take new trainees out on the road. For example, after a group of us had given a presentation about our work a while ago, I gave a running clinic in the dunes. I strongly believe that to perform at the highest level you need to be in good physical condition. Often when I see those trainees again, they will mention that tough training session – and it makes me proud to hear that they are still enthusiastic about exercising.

Adding, subtracting and multiplying

Before I joined ABN AMRO, I thought that the financial aspect and understanding the numbers would be extremely complicated. I was worried that I would need to buckle down hard to keep up. Recently, though, someone I was working with told me, ‘Tommy, it’s not rocket science. It’s not brain surgery. You add, you subtract, you multiply.’ That was illuminating. I was also surprised by how informal everyone is. I had read De Prooi, and I thought that the bank would be much more hierarchical and elitist. The organisational structure is flat, and if you have a good idea you can pitch it to anyone. So happily the bank is much more open in practice.

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