Talent development at Rabobank: “You’re in charge”

Rabobank invests a great deal of time in developing young talent, starting from the very first meeting when you talk about what you can do and what you want to achieve. With plenty of time for personal and professional development, you can learn new skills, look for new growth opportunities, and receive personal career coaching.

Coaching is an important part of employee development. Christina van Zanten is head of talent at Rabobank. Talent coaching is one the responsibilities she shares with her teams.   

“Talent coaching is a constant factor in the traineeships and the Young Professional Programs. We offer one-on-one coaching to improve individual skills, like networking or stakeholder management. Our group coaching focuses on developing skills like leadership and giving and receiving feedback. Trainees can also work with a mentor elsewhere in the organization. This experienced professional provides coaching and advice, often of a personal nature too. By working rotations in different departments, trainees become acquainted with the various aspects of working at Rabobank.”

What does the young talent have to say about the coaching they received during their traineeships or in the Young Professional Program? Joris Kursten, Federica Midi, and Michiel Heeneman share their experiences.

How coaching helps during a traineeship

Joris Kursten works at Rabobank as a cooperative trainee. He is reaping the benefits of the coaching opportunities. He has a buddy, a mentor, and a talent manager to guide him through the Cooperative Traineeship. He discovered that a coach can be really helpful if you invest your own time and energy in the process. “During my traineeship I became interested in the innovation opportunities at the bank. My talent manager was able to assist me very well in finding the right positions and assignments. At the end of the day, the first step is yours and you have to take on the responsibilities in order to advance your career. I learned how best to go about that and which steps I’d need to take through one-on-one conversations.”


Coaching during your traineeship is important for personal and professional development. Trainees work on their own learning objectives and are given the opportunity to pursue a variety of trainings. Michiel Heeneman is doing the Young Professional Program in Advanced Analytics: “I did a training the program offered that’s designed to teach you about the bank. It was set up as a simulation in a virtual environment. You end up working with a team to manage a bank and having to make choices which could be based on global economic scenarios or changes within the bank itself. Then you get to see the consequences of your choices in the bank’s results. It’s a simulation of course. It’s incredibly interesting since it teaches you about the bank’s activities and products and also about the effects they have on society and vice versa.”

In addition, Michiel is also participating in a training about personal leadership. “Here you learn how to express yourself in specific situations, when you can show vulnerability, and how to deal with difficult situations.” Michiel gets to decide which Young Professional Program trainings he wants to do: “You’re in charge of your own development and are not required to follow a set training program.”


Young Professionals alternate between different traineeships, departments, and locations within Rabobank. We call these stints “rotations.” Every four months, trainees move to a different place at Rabobank. Talent Managers work with trainees to find which spot is the best fit for their ambitions and abilities. With each rotation, trainees get a new coach. “The first two rotations are chosen for you,” said Federica Midi. “One is in a field you’re familiar with and another that’s in a field that is new to you. You get to choose the last two rotations yourself, so you can always do something you’re passionate about or interested in. You can even do one rotation abroad depending on what you prefer.”

“While doing these rotations, I learned how important it is to step out of your comfort zone. The traineeships teach you to be confident about your own abilities. Then you can handle anything. The rotations require flexibility and time management skills, but luckily Rabobank’s coaches and talent managers are there to help. I worked on a long-term strategy for the Rabobank app which we presented to the Managing Board. Getting to do that and especially learning how to do that was a huge learning experience for me.”


As a Young Professional, you are not alone. From the first day of the traineeship, your colleagues and fellow trainees are right there with you, helping you deliver your best. Besides a talent manager, department coaches, and the circle coaching groups, you also get a mentor. The mentor advises you on all sorts of matters, whether professional or personal.

Recalling his mentorship, Joris Kursten said, “My mentor was the SME director at Rabobank Amsterdam. I met with him every three weeks and could ask his advice about professional and personal issues. He would give me tips about how to approach different matters. One of the most useful things he taught me was that everybody at Rabobank is willing to help you, regardless of their position or location in the bank. You can e-mail the Chairman of the Managing Board your question. If he doesn’t have time for it, he’ll point you to a Board Member who does. And the same goes for all Rabobank employees. Everyone is so easily approachable.”

Your development

Would you like to discover more of the development opportunities that Rabobank can offer you in one of its traineeships? Young Professionals and trainees at Rabobank can choose which programs they wish to follow to better get to know themselves and the bank. Check out the Young Professional Programs we have to offer.

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