"Brian Oyamo talks about why he decided to pursue a career with SEB in Sweden"
Brian Oyamo works as an Analyst in Corporate Loan Origination as part of SEB’s Investment Banking area. He took the time to share about why he decided to pursue a career with SEB in Sweden.
You’re not from Sweden originally right? Can you tell me a little bit about your background?
Sure, I was born and raised in Kenya. I moved to Sweden with my girlfriend, who I met there. I was very much in love, and I felt I could take the risk of leaving home at that point. Why not try it out? I would rather fail than not have tried at all. I guess that makes me what they call a love refugee.
What about yourself or your skills do you think has made you successful?
It hasn’t been all easy of course. I had to adjust to the food, and most of all the darkness and cold. In Kenya, we have 12 hours of daylight every day, so that’s been a change. My mother raised me to put a lot of effort into what I want to do. I’m very determined, so I can’t be disappointed in myself if I put in 100 %.
When I came here, I promised myself I would do everything I could to integrate, to learn the language. Having language flexibility growing up with English and Swahili probably helped, but I studied Swedish close to 4 hours each day before I had a job.
Why did you choose a career in banking?
After high school in Kenya, I started a small business by myself, buying and selling electronics. It was fun and I made some money, but I realized I wanted to go to university and study business. My little business, despite being rudimentary, helped start my curiosity about running businesses. I wanted to understand how big companies work.
How did you end up at SEB?
I was planning to do a Master’s, but then I got an internship with SEB. In 2017, I got permanent employment working as a Business Analyst for 2.5 years, and then in April 2020, I joined Corporate Loan Origination. For me that was a dream come true. I always wanted to be in investment banking because you hear about it a lot in university, and you want to work with and advise the biggest companies.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I’m learning something new every day. It’s important to be able to learn new things and develop in my career. That’s been the most fun part. There are so many things you could do within a bank, so many interesting departments or groups that you don’t hear about at university. You do have to work hard, but SEB is a really good bank to work for. There’s really something here for everyone and a lot to exercise your brain, which I see as real drivers for a long-term career here. SEB is also very much a family. Being an ex-pat, it’s really nice for me to be at a company where I feel welcomed and taken care of.
What advice would you give to those people in terms of considering banking?
Always try things. It’s good to have a finance background or an interest in it, but often it’s the case that learning in the real world is quite different from school. More importantly, work on communication and research skills, have a good attitude, and do not give up! I probably sent a couple hundred applications when I was first trying to get a job. Speak to someone who works in a bank. There’s no one way in.