I like to be involved and have an impact
After working at SEB for 15 years, Jenny Åkvist has tried out several different roles and areas within the bank. Today, she works as a Product Specialist in Factoring, as part of SEB’s Corporate Banking area. She explains the most important parts of her role and tells us about the many opportunities to grow within the bank.
– I have the role of Product Specialist for a smaller community within Factoring called Receivables, which deals with lending and buying invoices in various ways. The community has a Product Management group, which includes myself, and a Product Manager. Together, we support the rest of the community by listening and making sure that everyone is involved in making an impact. As a Product Specialist, I am more focused on how we currently produce and offer our product, where my most important task is to ensure that the deals that we make are done in the correct way. The Product Manager looks instead at where the product might be in the future.
– In order for the bank to continue to take market shares within relevant customer segments, it is crucial that the products we offer are of the highest quality. Of course, this includes our community, even though our product is relatively small. Therefore, it’s important that we continue with the growth and transformation that we are currently undergoing.
What does a normal workday look like?
– Since I work with a market product, my work tasks vary a lot from day to day, week to week, or even year to year. Some days I sit and work with the same excel sheet, and other days I might attend a sales pitch together with potential customers. My role is extensive and entails a lot, so I’m constantly learning something new. There are a lot of different areas within Product Management that one could tackle, which means that it’s easy to broaden your work. That is definitely one of the things that make my role so enjoyable.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to work in Product Management?
– Previously, there has been a clear division between technical and business aspects. Today, those two areas are intertwined, and it’s important that we learn to understand each other in order to ensure that our developments are quick and smooth. However, I believe that anything regarding IT or a specific product can be learned over time. The most important part is that you have the right drive, the desire to learn new things, and a willingness to take initiative. It’s also very important that you know how to work with different groups, both internally but also within the entire community. In those situations, you have to be able to stand up for your view on a certain topic but also always be ready to listen to others - as obvious as it may seem, it makes a big difference. Personally, I like to be involved and have an impact. And if you’re such a person, I think the Product Management area is a fantastic place to be.
After 15 years at the bank, what has made you stay?
– I was first drawn to the bank because I had heard that SEB was a good employer, which is something I still believe today. We provide security, opportunities and benefits. Most important, however, is having good managers and co-workers, since these are the people that you will be spending your days with. When I first began working within Factoring, I had a manager who saw me as a person, recognised my potential and was very perceptive. She encouraged me to try new things and to grow within the area. When I later began working in Product Management, I also had a manager who pushed me forward, so that I wasn’t just standing still. Having supportive managers has made a big difference in my career and is also a major reason why I have chosen to stay within the bank.