Nice to meet you! Would you like to introduce yourself and how you got your job at DNB?
Hi, I am Kiki and I am 23 years old. Currently I am doing a master’s in Econometrics (track: Financial Econometrics) at UvA, after I completed my bachelor’s degree in Econometrics earlier this year. In the beginning of this year, I was halfway my fourth year of the bachelor and I only had to pass one last course, as I already finished my thesis the year before. This meant that I had a lot of free time in that period, which I really wanted to use to do something practical. This made me think of an internship where I could apply what I have learned during my studies and to figure out what I might like to do with my knowledge. At the Business Orientation Days in October 2019, I got in contact with employees from DNB and one of the campus recruiters via an individual meeting. I told them that I was looking for an internship and then it all went really fast. A few weeks later, there was an internship available at the department Resolution. From February on, I did a really informative internship for five months and currently I am working part-time as a business analyst at DNB next to my master’s.
Hi, my name is Nienke and I am currently a master’s student in Econometrics. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in PPLE (Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics) in 2019 with a minor in Applied Econometrics. I enjoyed the minor so much that I decided to pursue a masters in the field as well. After I graduated with my bachelor degree, I wanted to do an internship to apply in practice what I had learned in the classrooms. To orientate myself, I attended the Business Orientation Days – a recruiting event specifically for econometrics and economics students. As a bachelor student coming from a different background (no econometrics bachelor’s degree), this was a great way to explore the opportunities now open to me as a new econometrics student. I participated in the resolution case with DNB, in which we simulated what would happen if a bank was about to fail. I really enjoyed it and things started moving quickly from there, which is how I ended up interning for DNB, at their resolution department.
Why did you choose DNB?
Of course, I knew what DNB is and what they are doing. But DNB really came into my view when I wrote my bachelor’s thesis. I was supervised by Maurice Bun, who is a professor at UvA as well as an econometrician at DNB. During our meetings, he told me about his work and the research projects they are doing, which made me curious about DNB. As DNB plays an important role in society, I thought it could be very exciting to work for. When I saw that DNB was participating in the Business Orientation Days, I thought that that would be a nice opportunity to get in touch.
As the central bank, DNB is a key institution in our economy. This makes it a very interesting work environment for an econometrician, because there is a lot of data available. From the case I mentioned earlier, I learned that I found the work at DNB (especially resolution) very interesting. Moreover, I was attracted to the working environment: working at DNB means being surrounded by very knowledgeable, skilled colleagues that I can learn a lot from. DNB provided me the opportunity to really participate as a “full” co-worker in their team, which was great.
May you briefly introduce your position in your current department and the project you are working on?
From February till June, I did an internship at the division Resolution of DNB. This division ensures that if a large bank or insurer fails, it does so in a controlled way such that consumers retain access to their bank account or insurance and that the problems do not spread to other financial institutions and the government does not have to step in. During this internship, I was part of the Internal Resolution Team (IRT), which is responsible for preparing and executing the resolution of significant large banks. This internship was very informative, because I learned about how a bank really looks like and what resolution is. Next to that, I felt valuable because I was part of a process which made checking and analysing the incoming data reports more automated.
During my internship, I helped draft a business analysis of a large insurance company for a resolution plan that was being written. Additionally, I worked on a topic within valuations, which was more about quantitative and required coding skills, and I helped set up a data dashboard to be used by the resolution officers. So the kind of tasks I was able to work on were very diverse.
Current project (together)
Currently, we are working together on a project for the Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS). We are reviewing and analysing the risk methodology which is used for determining the risk-weighted levies each bank submits quarterly to the Deposit Guarantee Fund.
What is the most attractive aspect to you of working at DNB?
I think that working in a nice, young division with very kind colleagues is one of the most attractive aspects of working at DNB at the moment. I think this also holds for the other divisions. At DNB, we have about 1800 highly diverse employees, of which about 800 with an age below 36. DNB’s culture is informal, which I really like. Besides, I get a lot of freedom in giving my input and in choosing what kind of projects I like to do. DNB also facilitates professional and personal development in the form of courses and learning programmes. If I want to follow a course or learning programme, that is always possible. This all makes working at DNB very interesting and challenging.
What I really enjoy about the DNB is that there is a lot of room for personal growth. There are many trainings available, as well as knowledge sessions such as “meet the experts”, in which you are able to attend a presentation and learn something on a topic you find interesting over lunch! Additionally, I really enjoy the culture – there are a lot of young co-workers, which is nice, and everyone is very welcoming and friendly. For example, if you are interested in someone’s work, they are always up to discuss it with you over a cup of coffee.
What does your future look like at DNB?
For now, I would like to stay at the current division at least until the end of 2021, which is until the end of my master’s. After that, I hope that I can stay at DNB for a while. I really like this division, but I am also curious about the other ones. It happens very often that employees switch to another division after a while, so I hope that I could get the opportunity to explore one/some other divisions of DNB as well.
I will continue working part-time at DNB at least until the end of my master program. Because I am working part-time right now, I am going to take some extra time to work on my studies. I plan to finish my masters either late 2021 or early 2022. After this, I’ll have to see what the future holds!
How helpful was your educational background in getting the job and handling your work when looking back to your experience? What adjustment would you make to be more prepared for career life if you are allowed to go back to your school days?
Econometricians are always relevant employees for DNB. As most econometricians also have some knowledge in finance, economics and/or data science, it fits very well with the tasks of DNB. My econometric background was very helpful for handling my work. Because of my finance knowledge, I knew how banking works. My analytical skills are very helpful for the data analyses I do. And of course, knowing a bit about programming is always useful. R, MATLAB and Python are the languages I learned during my bachelor’s and master’s program. These skills are very helpful in handling my work. I was not career prepared at all, as I had no career experience before I started working at DNB. In my situation, it was also not that necessary. For example, the division I am working for (Resolution), is about something you have never learned at the university. When you start working there, you will learn it at DNB via learning programmes. But of course, every experience and skills you bring are helpful. I could have been more career prepared by for example joining more career events the VSAE was organizing.
I would say my educational background was very helpful – for me, having the combination of theory that I learned from my bachelor and the quantitative skills that I gained in my minor prepared me well for both my master’s program and the internship. I like being able to both work with the data and really delve into what it means. If I was allowed to go back to my school days, I would say I would attend maybe more practical courses like Excel course besides my studies, which were offered by the study association. However I think it is always hard to be fully prepared for career life because part of work of internship is also just starting the job and seeing how it goes – that’s also the nice part of an internship, where you get to have a bit of a taste of working life and figure out what you find important in a job. Good to mention is that for DNB, it is not necessary to have experience before starting an internship, although it is always good to have relevant extracurriculars. The most important thing is that you are able to demonstrate that you have affinity with economic and financial topics, and are willing to learn.
What are your suggestions to the current enrolled students who want to get into DNB?
You can get in touch with DNB via the several campus events they are organizing. At www.werkenbijdnb.nl you can find all the upcoming campus events, such as in-house days, and vacancies. If you want to learn more about working at DNB, you can get in touch with one of the campus recruiters by sending an email. Next to that, DNB participates in many VSAE events, which happened for me to be a very good first point of contact.
I would suggest to attend the Business Orientation Days or an In-house day. It’s the best way to both meet people from DNB and see if you like the work and if it is the place you would like to work in.
What personality and skills does DNB value the most in prospective employees and what kind of students would be suitable in working at DNB?
Relevant fields of study are economics, econometrics, law, political science, business administration, public administration, international relations and (organizational) psychology, Data & Technology studies and studies such as mathematics, (technical) physics, liberal arts and sciences. In addition, in the coming academic year we will explore the possibilities with other, less obvious, master courses and universities.
In addition to a relevant study background, it is essential that potential employees have a demonstrable affinity with financial, economic and social topics. This can be done through an extra minor, ancillary activities, internship, (side) job, thesis or strong motivation. It is important to DNB that prospective employees are able to transfer knowledge and analysis with impact. In addition to substantive knowledge, we assess what someone brings as a person. Consider, for example, highly developed competencies persuasion, analytical skills, initiating ability and communication skills.
Is having a really excellent grade an important factor of getting into DNB?
As for me, my grade is fine, but not that top though. I think they would also value your other extra experiences and interests. In the past years, I joined some relevant committees and activities and followed some relevant (finance) courses at UvA. I think that also helped me getting the job.
I do not think it is necessary. It is more like a trade-off. For example, you might have a grade over 9 without any experience or other extracurricular activities, or you might have a lot of relevant extracurriculars and a somewhat lower. Both cases could be good, depending on the requirement of the job you apply for. However, an extremely high grade, like 9.5, is not a requirement for DNB.
How fluent in Dutch does DNB require for the international students who want to work here?
Most employees of DNB speak Dutch. However, it is not a requirement. DNB has many non-Dutch employees, so also international students can have a chance to work at DNB. Dutch and English are both okay. It would be good if you can attend a Dutch course, showing that you are working to learn Dutch and your interest in that. For the division Resolution, it would not be a problem if you do not speak Dutch.
What does your experience in the study association mean to you?
Being a member of the VASE gave me good opportunities to make some friends and enrich my social life. In the first year of my bachelor’s, I joined the Freshman committee of VSAE and I participated in the social events. Later, I turned to some more serious events and activities and I learned a lot from them. Also, such experience broadened my view and network and brought me more career perspective and opportunities.
Yes, I would agree with that. I was a member of AIM (PPLE’s association) and for example chaired the Charity Committee, amongst other things. There were not only Dutch but also international students there, so I made a lot of new friends and connections. It was really a good time in which I learned a lot of new skills.
Which option would you recommend the most for those in the last phase of their bachelor program, internship, minor program or global exchange program?
I would highly recommend to make some room during your bachelor’s or between your bachelor’s and master’s for an internship. I really valued some practical work, which we barely learn at university. By doing an internship, you get to know how working life is and you can check for yourself where your interests are. For me, the internship at DNB was definitely a good fit. I’m sure that not every first internship or job is the perfect fit, but also that will help you find the employer or job that fits you the best.
Personally, I am really glad to have done both the minor in econometrics and the internship. As for the minor: I pursued something that was outside of my current studies and I ended up loving it, so I definitely think it is worth taking some time to pursue your further academic interest. The internship was perfect for getting a taste of working life and gaining valuable experience. So I would recommend those two options. As for the exchange program: while I haven’t personally pursued this option, I have heard a lot of good things about it from fellow students who have relevant experience. You get something different out of this: the experience of living in a new environment by yourself, making new friends and having to be fully self-reliant. That is of course a very valuable experience to have. At the end of the day, I think it really depends on what you want to get out of the last phase of your bachelors and it’s up to you to make that decision.