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We are not competing against each other, but working towards our goals

At first, it felt like I didn’t know anything compared with my experienced colleagues. But with strong support from the rest of the team, I quickly settled into my role. The most important insight was that we are not competing against each other, but working together towards our goals and therefore helping each other.” So reflects Fredrik Gerdin Börjesson, who participated in SEB’s 2020/2021 tech programme.

What inspired you to apply for SEB’s programme?

“I got a good impression from SEB at various career fairs during my time at university, plus a friend who had previously participated in the international trainee programme gave me a positive impression. But most of all it was the role description itself. The role that I subsequently ended up in was closely tied to my master’s studies and thesis. In some respects, the job duties in programming also overlapped with things I had planned on working within my free time.

“I was also enticed by the prospect of getting a soft start to work-life together with other trainees – of attending numerous valuable courses and learning about SEB’s organisation. The best thing about the sense of community within the programme is that you’re not on your own during the ‘newbie’ phase – there is always someone to discuss lines of code you’re not sure about when the bell rings for a coffee break.”

How did the programme work?

“As techies, we learned about many of the soft skills that the bank has identified as being especially important. We did this by participating in both internal and external lectures and workshops with a strong emphasis on discussions and knowledge-sharing.

“SEB’s hackathon was also a rewarding part of the programme. At hackathons, participants from different areas are brought together in a competition to jointly develop prototypes for new products, which are then actually implemented. To build up interaction between the participants in the tech and trainee programmes, we also participated in a business challenge, where we had the opportunity to work on solving real-life challenges in selected areas.

“All this took place in combination with us being given time to learn under our own responsibility. I really appreciated this time, where I was able to develop my own knowledge in C++ along with other techniques used in the department.”

Is there anything you were surprised by?

“Yes, that we were given such great responsibility already during the first weeks. When I arrived straight from university, my immediate thought was that I didn’t know anything about what I was to be working with. Especially in comparison with the senior team members. But with strong support from my teammates, I quickly realised that I was not a lost cause – at least not permanently!

“I also realised at an early stage how much importance the bank attaches to continuous learning, such as with SEB’s School Start, which takes place in August and September. Here you get access to great resources both internally and externally and a chance to learn about new technologies and soft skills ahead of future challenges. Personally, right after the programme’s conclusion, I attended an external course in preparation for new projects – something that would not have been possible were it not for the investments that SEB makes in its employees.”

What advice do you have for others who are considering applying for a place in the tech or trainee programmes?

“Apply even if you don’t think you have all the qualifications, such as in a certain programming language. You may be knowledgeable in other languages, which could be very beneficial and important for your unit.

“And don’t give up even if the process may seem very long and exhausting. Take one step at a time and make sure you take advantage of the support and help on questions you may have from the people in charge and your prospective manager. You can even for advice from friends and acquaintances who are participating or have participated in earlier programmes.”