Challenging and being challenged as part of the company culture

Shiaron Liu, Data Scientist and Young Professional IT

‘I work as a Data Scientist at Rabobank Nederland. Sometimes I can’t quite believe all I’ve learned in just nine months. Monday to Thursday I work with a small IT team to solve internal business problems. And every Friday I work on personal development with other Young Professionals. That gives me new communication skills and insights into myself. And I feel more confident to be creative back in the team.’

Surprising interview

‘After my Master in Computer Science at TU Delft I decided to stay in the Netherlands. My idea was to learn how big companies work before going back to China. I applied to international tech and IT companies and a couple of banks, including Rabobank. I had my list of answers ready for interviews: my motivations, ambitions, why I was enthusiastic about company x, y or z. The interviews were all pretty similar. Until I got to Rabobank. The recruiter here really surprised me by probing deeper. In fact I was quite shocked when she challenged me with the questions: Who are you and who do you want to be?

That lead to an intense conversation about my personal and professional values and inspired me to join Rabobank. Nine months on, I’m not shocked by direct questions any more. I like the fact that challenging and being challenged is part of the company culture. And that I get to work on my personal development every Friday.’

A nerd amongst nerds

‘I expected everyone at a bank would be dressed in suits and act very business-like.  But my team is not like that at all. They’re technically driven and all dress casually. Which is fine with me as I’m not into fashion. Basically, it’s a team of very cute nerds.  I’m the only girl in the team and the only non-Dutch person. To be honest, I’m a bit of a nerd as well. So I fit right in.’

Data analysis and machine learning solutions

‘Our department has about 30 people but we work in teams of 4 or 5. A typical day starts with coffee and then down to solving problems brought to us by the business consultant. That’s the contact with the different parts of the bank and he or she works with us throughout the project.  It’s really interesting to work together, using data analysis and machine learning to find solutions. I love the challenge and being involved from the idea phase right through to the pilot. I recently visited to a local bank near Groningen with the Young Professionals group, so I do sometimes meet ‘real’ customers as well.’

Feedback

‘My Young Professional Programme ends in mid-2019. I’ve talked to my manager about my role in the team till then. I’m good at what I do and am getting better as I learn from my co-workers. So I’d like to give something back. A more international focus for instance. And help them get better at giving feedback. That’s something I work on in the Friday sessions with the Young Professionals Programme. It fits with the bank’s new performance management system called GROW!. It’s all about open conversations and feedback. So I’m helping my teammates grow as well.’

Serious about food and environment

‘When you work here every day you realize that ‘Growing a better world together’ isn’t just a slogan. Things like not wasting food in the staff restaurant, or recycling coffee cups, are practical things that remind you of the bank’s mission. People here really are serious about food and the environment. It makes you stop and think about what you can do as a person to make the world a better place.’

Are you interested in the Young Professional Programme IT? For more information on the programme, click here.

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