Innovation is a driving force in this large company

David Ingelman works with product and business development at SEB Kort in Sweden. “I was attracted by the challenge of being able to work with innovation in a large company,” he says.

David Ingelman has a Master’s degree from Lund University. He completed SEB’s international trainee programme this past summer.

What attracted you to SEB?

I decided to apply for a trainee position instead of starting out as a management consultant, since I am a team player and want to work a bit more long-term than just coming in and working on time-limited projects.

What got me to accept the offer from SEB was that it felt like an exciting challenge to be able to work with innovation in a large company. I saw that SEB is in the midst of a major change and I wanted to be a part of it.

What do you do in your role?

I participate in development projects that involve everything from automating and streamlining processes to developing new products that customers want.

How was your trainee period?

It was exciting, enlightening and freer than I thought it would be. It was good for someone like me, who likes to make their own decisions. During the initial period, before corona, I roamed around the bank to meet as many people as possible. We trainees also met frequently and became close colleagues. After the corona pandemic hit, my work instead came to involve dealing with the situation here and now. It was enlightening to work in a situation where everything was uncertain and plans changed daily. It was a rewarding experience to learn to deal with your own as well as others’ stress.

Was there anything that was particularly challenging, and how did you solve it?

Yes, initially it felt hard for me as a trainee to take up others’ time. But this passed. People are very willing to give their time, and it has gone well to book meetings with people at all levels of the organisation. For me who comes from an innovative and creative background, it was also a bit of challenge to adjust to the set structures that exist in a large organisation.

What is your advice to others who are thinking about applying for a trainee position at SEB?

Be yourself from the start, be honest so that you don’t have to live up to some overexaggerated picture of yourself. Also remember that SEB value the trainees very high, nice, SEB likes new competence, new perspectives, and people who think differently. Be prepared that you will have to be the driver for much of what you want to do. If you want something to happen, you can make it happen.

Is there anything that has surprised you at SEB?

Yes, I was surprised by how many competent people there are at the bank with a strong change agenda. It gave me the insight that working with innovation takes time. There is no shortage of ideas, but the work on changing systems, processes and governance takes time.