ECT: the heart of the economy

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I’ve always said I wanted to work right in the beating heart of our economy. That’s why Energy, Commodities & Transportation (ECT) is such a compelling choice: it encompasses all the raw materials we need to make our products and food. Only a few weeks into my internship, I became aware that ECT drives our economy. These sectors will always be necessary and that’s why it was an easy choice for me to follow the Corporate Banking Graduate Programme specialising in ECT.

The programme is incredibly well-designed and the trainers have a huge amount of experience! Wendela Huber Wendela Huber Corporate Banking Graduate Programme specialising in Energy, Commodities & Transportation

Part of the Graduate Programme is five weeks of training at Nyenrode Business University, together with graduates specialising in different parts of the bank. It’s a crash course in banking, ABN AMRO and yourself, and takes you through interactive and personal subjects such as financial modelling, valuation and personal leadership – it’s pretty intense but so exciting! To make the leap from theory to practice, ABN AMRO colleagues come in to talk about their departments and careers. And of course, we had to get down to work ourselves – not by putting pen to paper, I’m happy to say, but through real-life simulation games. For example, we traded on the stock market, fielding constant phone calls from other banks looking to trade shares while responding to a host of news items at the same time. At first, I had absolutely no idea what was going on, but this method of learning-by-doing made it great fun. Besides, you learn a lot about the various ECT markets: how they move, what financing structures are in place, and how to make robust financial analyses. They really put you through your paces!

Strategic advice

For me, the most important part of the job is working with clients. Of course, you first have to familiarise yourself with all of the bank’s systems, but after that you obviously want to make a difference. I’m currently collaborating on strategic pitches, presentations and internal market updates, learning about the range of financial structures available and how to write (re)financing proposals. I often work with other departments such as Debt Solutions and Corporate Finance – this breadth of experience means I’m really learning a lot. Commodity loans, for instance, are typically short-term, while loans in the energy sector tend to be more project-based, making for a totally different dynamic.

Opening up

After work, I often meet up with the other trainees in the Corporate Banking Graduate Programme for drinks or dinner. And we also have a WhatsApp group to stay in the loop. Of course, at the start you don’t know anyone, but five weeks later you’re friends. You really have to open up, which is quite intense, come to think of it – it surprised me, in a good way. The programme is incredibly well-designed and the trainers have a huge amount of experience. It has also influenced the way I think. Oil and gas are a great example: oversupply keeps prices exceedingly low – which is advantageous for consumers, of course, because their energy get cheaper. But our energy clients are going through a very rough patch, forcing us to look for solutions and alternatives to keep them out of financial trouble.

Overseas contact

After I complete the Graduate Programme, I want to get a few clients under my belt. I’m not yet sure which type of clients as I’ve yet to choose my preferred ECT field. What I do know is that I don’t want to only provide support through financial structures: finding suitable products and giving good advice are just as important. Let’s not forget that we work with and for major international players. I like that: we may be based in Amsterdam, but we’re in daily contact with foreign account managers, truly moving with our clients. And that’s why ECT is where I want to be: I’m building my career at the heart of the economy.

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