My network provided three jobs

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Career Growth Chart Hein Brekelmans

After I completed my degree, the bank was an obvious choice to me. I started off as an intern at ABN AMRO and applied for the traineeship while I was still at it. The results of my capacity test made the bank quite eager to take me aboard, which stood in stark contrast with the other major bank I had applied with.

The soft side added a lot to the traineeship: self leadership training, mentor support, and especially interaction within the group. Hein Brekelmans Hein Brekelmans Relationship Manager Franchise Clients

Before I got started on my traineeship, they asked me to set up a shareholder meeting for the Managing Board. That was a vital springboard for my career, which landed me with a wide network full of resourceful personal assistants. These contacts later yielded two jobs: first I got into Corporate Clients in Zwolle, and later I moved to Romania to take up the position of Credit Structurer. After ABN AMRO's acquisition I was employed at Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas. By then I wanted to try something else and worked in the Amsterdam catering industry for a while. My experiences with these various positions have shown me that ABN AMRO is a great employer, and I'm happy to be back with the bank. Once again, my return was facilitated by one of my old contacts.

Confrontational feedback

The traineeship and interaction with other trainees taught me that I initially came across as overly confident, which raises certain expectations. The close cooperation with my peers was a huge eye-opener. They meticulously detected and showed me my points for improvement. Compared to the days at college, it was quite confronting, and after four months I found myself getting fed up with that to-the-point feedback. But useful it was, absolutely. Nowadays I have far more insight into my qualities, am more approachable, and show more appreciation for difference.

The soft side

The soft side added a lot to the traineeship: self leadership training, mentor support, and especially interaction within the group. In fact, a number of us hit it off so well that we went on a five week trip through New Zealand together! I still keep in touch with many of those old friends after all these years, which was a pleasantly surprising aspect of my time as a trainee. My advice to others is to make the most of all the opportunities you're given. Choose your own path, show courage, open yourself up to others and – most importantly – be authentic.

Career growth tracker

  • 1998 – 2005: Financial Economics, University of Tilburg
  • 2005 – 2005: Internship, ABN AMRO
  • 2005 – 2005: Project manager, ABN AMRO
  • 2006 – 2007: Traineeship, ABN AMRO
  • 2006 – 2008: Credit Portfolio Manager, Corporate Clients, ABN AMRO
  • 2008 – 2010: Senior Credit Analyst, ABN AMRO
  • 2010 – 2010: Senior Credit Officer, Deutsche Bank Nederland N.V.
  • 2010 – 2013: Senior Credit Analyst, BNP Paribas
  • 2013 – 2014: General Manager, Beiaard Groep Nederland
  • 2014 – present: Relationship Manager Franchise Clients, ABN AMRO

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