On Monday 13 May, I’ve had an interview with Ingmar Garrah, who is a risk management trainee at the ING office in Paris. We’ve discussed what it includes to be a trainee at ING and how it is to make the transition from university to business life.
Could you maybe start by introducing yourself?
My name is Ingmar Garrah. I’ve studied at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in the field of Behavioural Science and with a Master of Science in Econometrics and Operations Science. I’ve finished my master in 2018, while working on my thesis at DNB (The Dutch Bank). My thesis was mainly about modelling the business- and financial cycle in a multivariate unobserved components time series model. Before that, I’ve been an intern at Deloitte in the Financial Risk Advisory team. And now I’m working as a risk management trainee at ING in Paris.
How did you end up at ING after you graduated?
I already knew that I wanted to work in the financial sector. So, I went to an in-house day at ING. A day where you are able to get to know the company better. During that day, it just felt right and I decided to apply at ING and eventually got the position as trainee.
Many different companies want econometrists nowadays. Why didn’t you want to work at other companies than in the financial sector?
Yes, that’s right. Many companies in many different disciplines want econometrists nowadays. Tech companies for example. However, I feel less attracted to the mission, type of impact, and business cases that you would be working on at a big tech company.
At ING, I have the opportunity to have a direct impact on an important and personal part of the lives of our clients: their finances. Whether it’s a large corporation that needs to finance an acquisition, or a starting family that needs a residential mortgage.
How does a traineeship at ING work?
As a trainee at ING you’re able to choose different projects at various locations. An official management traineeship at ING lasts 4 years. There are different projects to choose from, some involve modelling, others are more business-orientated. After two six month rotations, you get your first fixed position.
At first, I worked in the Netherlands for half a year on a project where I had to deal with non-financial risk. I specifically chose for this project, since there was a lot going on in that field after the money laundering settlement. It was very interesting to work on that, especially from the perspective of an econometrician.
As a second project, you will be working on an assignment which can be done at various locations around the world where ING is located. Think about New York City, London, Madrid, etc.. I’ve ended up in Paris where I’m working on corporate credit risk management. My department is responsible for the assessment and approval of deals for large corporate clients. In addition, we also monitor and manage our outstanding exposures. What I find very interesting is that you learn a lot about businesses and sectors.
Is there a lot of guidance from inside ING for trainees, or are you thrown into the deep end as a trainee?
There is a lot of guidance available if needed. For the trainees, there is a personal trainee manager next to your regular department manager. This trainee manager will talk with you on a personal level and will discuss with you what you would like to do and what fits you. Which projects are a perfect fit for you. This also involves choosing the size of the teams you’re working in. If you’re for example more of a person that works better in smaller teams, then this manager will help you to choose the right project.
Do you have any tips for current students if they want to pursue a traineeship at ING?
There is no perfect path to follow. However, I still have a few tips. I recommend already having some experience as an intern. ING offers this to students too (ing.nl/stages). There are possibilities to work on your thesis at ING, for example. But extracurricular activities at for example a study association or your local sport club are just as much recommended. What’s most important is that you have some experiences that will help you to develop yourself and give you a more clear idea of what drives you. Of course, having specific skills like knowing Python is nice, but based on my own experiences it is your motivation and mind-set that is more important when applying for the traineeship.
What are the future possibilities as a trainee at ING?
If you show your ambition, then it is certainly possible to develop yourself within ING. If you show that you want to grow within the company, everything is possible. Personally I think the best way to start at ING is with a traineeship instead of directly getting a job at ING, due to the opportunity to see more of the bank and to build a broad network.
ING Direct Café in Paris
Where do you see yourself in the future?
After my half-year project is finished in Paris, I will be working in Amsterdam again. I will be doing the same work I did in Paris. After I’ve finished my traineeship, I plan to continue working at ING. Maybe after some years I will go back to the university to get a PhD. I think it is very interesting to take your experiences and issues from the financial sector to the academic world and be able to do research about those issues you’ve encountered while you were working. Who knows.
Finally, do you have tips for current students that you’ve wanted to know when you were a student?
Yes, I have. Don’t let worries about a lack of knowledge or skills keep you from trying things. You’ll not be expected to know everything when you start working at a firm after your studies. Experience comes with time. Dare to do things, to make mistakes, and to challenge yourself. Use the chances the job market gives you as an econometrician to just try different things. Think in possibilities.
If you are interested in a traineeship at ING or in Ingmar Garrah himself, you could have a look at the following websites:
International Talent Programme: http://ing.nl/traineeship
LinkedIn Page Ingmar Garrah: https://fr.linkedin.com/in/ingmar-garrah-a8a7a085