'Our impact as a bank amazes me each day'

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When I started this traineeship 18 months ago, I had a completely different idea of ABN AMRO than I do now. Like most Dutch people, I thought a bank was a place where they just managed your money for you. Nothing more and nothing less. But I was quite wrong.

Like most Dutch people, I thought a bank was a place where they just managed your money for you. Nothing more and nothing less. But I was quite wrong. Fons Dammers Management Consultant Procurement

I had absolutely no idea about the complex world that lies behind it, the impact a big organisation like ABN AMRO has and the fresh new ideas being developed here. The Process Consulting Talent Programme assigns talents to three different business lines in rotation. You also attend training sessions which help you in your professional development. You do this with other talents, and that gives you a useful and friendly network straight away.

Working on innovations

The programme is part of Innovation & Technology, the business line which works on innovations designed to improve the lives of our customers and make our own internal operations more efficient and effective. My first assignment was in I&T Office Communication, where I worked on the use of Connections, a kind of business Facebook. How could we deploy it as effectively as possible? What links should we add? What did employees want to be able to use it for? I also looked at how it interfaced with the intranet and at how the two platforms could strengthen each other.

Working in a dynamic way

My second assignment, in Facility Management, was equally interesting. A number of teams were being reconfigured along multidisciplinary lines, a big change which required them to adopt a completely different mindset. This was a classic internal change process which I was able to make a significant contribution to and from which I learned a lot about agile and scrum. It was highly enjoyable and also useful, given that more and more business lines are working in this dynamic way.

Challenging suppliers to become ‘greener’

My third assignment, in Procurement, was different again. As a bank, we are increasingly aware of the impact we have, and the substantial contribution we can make to society, including in promoting sustainability. Which is why we want to work with suppliers who operate in a genuinely sustainable way. I was given the job of challenging our partners, for example to supply us with products in recyclable or re-usable packaging in order to reduce their, and hence our, carbon footprint. It's fun conducting these discussions, incentivising suppliers and exchanging ideas. And it's especially great to be able to make an impact for the bank in such a way.

Considerable trust

I felt I was given considerable trust in all my assignments. You may only be a talent, but you have a lot of real influence on the job you've been asked to do. I genuinely felt I could make a meaningful contribution to the bank's direction, which was very gratifying. Meeting and working with the other talents was also really enjoyable. Although you mainly see each other at training sessions, for example when you're asked to practice difficult negotiations, there are also opportunities for relaxation. You gravitate towards each other because you're in the same situation, which means you see a lot of each other, both during and after work. I can honestly say I've made some friends.

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