Rabobank Traineeship: A 16-month journey to push your boundaries

Young female professional is standing outside in front of Rabobank office
Women smiling
Federica Midi
Project Finance Analyst
Reading time4 minutes

Finding your sweet spot

Are you ready to break free from the conventional path and take your career to new heights? Federica Midi, from Italy, did just that when she joined the Rabobank Traineeship. With a background in finance and a passion for sustainability and innovation, the program was a perfect fit for her. “It's a fantastic opportunity for me to push my boundaries and grow as a young professional," Federica says.

The Rabobank Traineeship offers a comprehensive learning experience that allows you to discover your strengths and gain a deeper understanding of banking. In the words of Federica: “The program is the best experience you can get to grow as a young professional.” She shares the highlights: “In 16 months you will work in 4 different departments, these are called ‘rotations’. You also get to follow lots of different training courses. From learning about credit risk management to soft skills, such as negotiation or networking.”

“I think the traineeship is all about finding your sweet spot within the bank. The rotations, trainings, coffees, talks with your talent manager and other colleagues: all these activities are aimed at helping you develop the career that is best suited for your talent. The first two rotations are assigned to you. One in a familiar field or position, and the other in an area outside your expertise that you wish to explore. The final two rotations are chosen by you, giving you the opportunity to pursue your passions and interests. And if you're feeling adventurous, you even have the option to do a rotation abroad, depending on your preference. It's an exciting journey.”

Embrace the unknown

“The program is designed to take you out of your comfort zone and introduce you to different areas of the bank,” Federica explains. Her first rotation was in IT, which was a stretch for her. “It didn’t fit my background at all! I got to work on the long-term strategy for the banking app, but I had no clue about information technology, platforms and how they work.” And that’s exactly the point, she explains. “It gets you out of your comfort zone, digging deep into complex things that you've never heard of before.”

“My second rotation was more comfortable for me. It was in the team called Equity Capital Markets (ECM). This team helps other companies and organizations with their financial transactions involving stocks and shares. They do this by giving advice and helping with things like initial public offerings (IPOs), which is when a company first starts selling stocks to the public, and secondary offerings, which is when a company sells more stocks after the initial IPO. They also help with other types of financial transactions like convertible bonds and share buybacks, and use their knowledge of the market and financial information to create the best plan for each company they work with. I worked together with the juniors in the team on presentations for the clients, and with the seniors figuring out which content to highlight.”

Young female professional is sitting behind her laptop chatting to a colleague

Taking ownership and getting support

“In Italy, I used to work in a consulting role in finance, which gave me the experience to step up my game in this second rotation. Taking ownership of the projects you work on is important during the traineeship. I’ve noticed it’s part of the Rabobank culture: they expect you to be independent and as a trainee, you are the author of your development journey. You’re given the freedom to shape your career path, while you’re given the help and trust you need.”

“As a trainee, you've got numerous people you can turn to,” Federica adds. This support network includes a personal mentor, a buddy who has gone through the program, talent managers and a supervisor in each team. “Additionally, you’re encouraged to reach out to people from all over the bank for information and advice.”

Navigating a different culture

What else did you learn? Federica jumps to answer the question. “It’s crucial that you express your issues, your concerns, and your propositions to the people you work with. I worked in countries and companies with a more hierarchical culture, in which it wasn’t easy to reach out to the head of a department or people with many years of experience. They wouldn’t easily make some time for you. In Rabobank, also very experienced professionals are happy to share their learnings, and wisdom with young professionals, and mentoring them. Networking is strongly encouraged.”

At the beginning of the traineeship, Federica found it difficult to approach a managing director or a head of a department directly. “This took a few trials to feel comfortable," she admits. “Before joining Rabobank, I thought that ‘juniors were juniors’. But now, I can confidently say, I dare to say my opinion, and I even challenge the views of people with more work experience,” she adds. “It's such a valuable learning point. I really enjoy working in an open and communicative work environment.”

Young female professional is standing outside in front of Rabobank office

Fun with an international crowd

Working with people from different cultural backgrounds is one of the most valuable aspects of the Rabobank Traineeship, according to Federica. “I enjoy working with people from different cultural backgrounds. I learn a lot from my Dutch colleagues, and there are other internationals here. I love seeing this more diverse side of the organization,” she shares.

“I started my traineeship with 19 other trainees, and with many other young professionals who are following the same training programs. We've had awesome times together, doing sports activities such as beach volleyball tournaments, a trip to Schiermonnikoog and we visited Efteling theme park. You get to know different people throughout the bank because they organize drinks with different departments. We’re networking, asking questions and having fun at the same time. This makes connections between us much stronger, and it helps you to discover new things about yourself, too.”

"It's a fantastic opportunity for me to push my boundaries and grow as a young professional." 
Federica Midi
Young female professional in front of a Rabobank office

Focus on sustainability and innovation

It's a big day for Federica today as she starts a new rotation in the Sector Banking team, where she’ll be working on corporate finance within the food and agriculture sector. “I'm really excited about this opportunity,” she says. For Federica, joining the traineeship was about more than just learning about banking. It was also about finding a career that aligns with her values. “I was keen to work for an organization that is dedicated to sustainability and innovation,” she explains. “I truly believe that the financial industry has a crucial role to play in creating a better world. I'm proud to be a part of a bank that's at the forefront of this change.”