The Freedom to Solve Problems Your Way
Jesse Bouman, Young Professional Advanced Analytics31 May 2019 | Students and Starters "Apply mathematical models to a fast-paced world: that's what I wanted to do after completing my double major in Economics and Physics. I wasn't looking for a traineeship that would have me division-hopping every few months. I wanted to find a program that would allow me to specialize in analytics. Rabobank's Advanced Analytics Young Professional Program offered me that chance. This enabled me to take the leap from quantitative academic research to a job at Rabobank. I am now halfway through the 18-month program. Looking back at what I've done so far, I've already learned so much. I wouldn't trade the last nine months for all the gold in the world."
Freedom to Develop Your Own Ideas and Make a Difference
“My role gives me a lot of freedom to use my own insights to solve problems and make improvements. More freedom than I ever expected. Anybody with a good idea gets the space to make it happen, regardless of job title or seniority. And you can always count on your teammates to share resources to help put your ideas into practice. That’s how I developed an autoregressive model for macro-economic scenarios. During an intense developmental phase I researched the model, had it tested by experts, and worked it out with my colleagues. My work mattered: we now use it in calculating provisions.”
Data and Calculation Flows
“At the moment, part of my job entails carrying out stress-test calculations for our lending to the SME sector. Some of the questions I have to answer for this process include: what will happen if the economy slows down in the coming few years? Or: how likely is it that our customers will declare bankruptcy? We perform these stress-test calculations for all our loans. Rabobank’s lending portfolio is worth millions. On such a scale, my knowledge of regression models, combined with a lot of data analysis and my programing expertise comes in handy. It’s also equally important to have a good sense of our financial products. As a trained physicist, I didn’t exactly have tons of that in store, but I’m learning fast.”
“I graduated with a head full of knowledge and a passion for complex models. I wanted to use both in my future job. At Rabobank, you’re never working in a vacuum. On this program, everything I’ve learned converges with my colleagues’ knowledge. We get to think up fantastic things together and then develop them. The skills I’ve developed most at Rabobank have to do with cooperation; it’s really a key principle here. We work toward our objectives together in short, two-week cycles. Every morning the whole team gets together to talk about where we are and what we need from each other. I use the rest of the day to write code in Python or SQL. At the end of the cycle we present our models and results to each other and the other teams.”
Time for Personal Development
“Outside my day-to-day work, I spend half a day a week on developing my skills as an analyst. That time could be spent training soft skills, like communication and presentation styles, or we might do some online workshops on field-specific subjects. I had never seen a single line of SQL code before one of these online trainings, and now I work with it all the time.
Thanks to the Advanced Analytics Program, I’m now in touch with a lot of other young staff members who also have a quantitative background. We work in all kinds of different positions within the bank. I meet the other young professionals on a weekly basis. We exchange experiences about the models we’ve built, for instance, for predicting how many customers are likely to pay off their mortgages early. Or for recognizing fraud in the many millions of payment transactions we deal with. This is a great way to share knowledge, but it also gives you a better idea of what you can achieve in the bank with a quantitative profile. There are plenty of opportunities!”
Growing a Better World Together
“Every day, my job lets me make a difference to a rock-solid bank that manages the risks it faces responsibly. The importance of that cannot be underestimated, especially if the economy slows down. I love being able to contribute to Rabobank’s mission this way.”