IT at the bank: the business administrator who learned how to program

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Most people think of ABN AMRO as a bank or a lender, but behind the scenes the organisation is increasingly starting to look like an IT company. That’s what I found out when I joined as a trainee after having graduated from university. For me, that was perfect because I’m at my best when I can combine business and IT in my work. I found the ideal mix at the Transfer department in Global Markets.

A colleague asked me to build a mock-up of Minesweeper and that’s how I learned to program. Jack Cornelisse Development Engineer at ABN AMRO

Pieces falling into place

I graduated from Erasmus University Rotterdam with a degree in Business Administration three years ago. A year later, I also earned a Master’s degree in Business Information Management. Business Administration is a broad programme that taught me a lot about key business processes, from supply chain to strategic management. Business Information Management was the logical follow-up for me; it offered scope for specialisation in the Master’s programme. I focused on IT because this area had long captured my interest. So all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place when ABN AMRO hired me as a trainee right after I had graduated.

Programming in different languages

The bank offered me opportunities to develop my IT skills early on. I was hired as an analyst, but my manager occasionally let me do some programming as well. The better I became, the more hours he let me spend on it. My manager gave me the chance to develop, but my experienced colleagues really helped me in the saddle. Thanks to them, I learned how to program in different languages. It all started with a colleague who challenged me to build a mock-up of Minesweeper on the weekend. Once I had learned how to program, I quickly became a fully fledged member of the team. I have now created a good mix for myself between IT and business administration.

Global Markets

The IT and business sides come together in my department, Transfer in Global Markets. We provide services to the different financial departments, from the trading floor to equities and bonds. To illustrate: we help build systems that store transactions and produce reports where necessary. Some knowledge of the business market definitely comes in handy here. Our team not only has knowledge of the products we trade, but we also know how to convert them into various IT systems. So I’m basically a developer as well as an analyst. To do my job well, I truly explore the overlaps between IT and business.

Always opportunities at the bank

And what about my interest in business administration, you ask? That’s certainly still there. I was pleased to hear the Markets Introduction course being announced. While attending the course, my colleagues and I learned more about global markets, which represents the business side of my department. In two days’ time, we heard a lot about ABN AMRO’s different tasks, services and products. That was great because, as an IT officer who usually works behind the scenes, your work becomes a lot more fun when you understand how your ideas actually work in practice. ABN AMRO is a huge organisation, which makes it a wonderful employer. So far I’ve focused on IT, but I’m sure that whatever path I eventually choose, there will always be opportunities for me at the bank.

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