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Inside SEB’s winning mentality

Jonas Virtanen

Jonas Virtanen, Spot Trader, entered the finance industry in an unconventional way and believes that building strong relationships with a shared winning mentality is how to become a leader in the field. 

Jonas had a somewhat unusual entry into SEB. He spent six years professionally playing the popular computer game Counter-Strike before being contacted by the bank who felt professional gaming skills might be a strong fit within their trading department. 

“I began my career as a junior trader and spent four years in that role before moving to New York. While there, I worked on SEB's trading desk for six years. I then moved back home in 2019 and after a merger with our trading group and quant team, I took over the role of leading the new team last summer.” 

Winner’s mentality 

Despite having opportunities to work elsewhere, Jonas has never considered leaving SEB.  

“The culture at SEB is something special. Our approach combines a winning mentality with unwavering integrity, while also prioritising the education and development of our employees. Add the long-term sustainable business model, and it turns SEB into a great place to develop and learn, regardless of seniority.” 

“I've enjoyed myself very much at SEB and have always had the opportunity to learn new things. Also, the market and trading has become a hobby that I get to work with.”  

A key success factor 

At SEB, building strong relationships is a key success factor, so Jonas tells everyone who comes into the team to be proactive and reach out to other colleagues within the bank.  

“It is important to remember that you are in charge of your own journey. No one will hold your hand through the entire process, so it is essential that people feel responsible and do their part in building relationships.” 

An unwritten rule among SEB’s long-time employees is to welcome anyone who is curious about their work, whether they’re new to the team or from another department.  

“I have often been contacted by colleagues from other parts of the bank who wanted to see what we do, and sometimes they have ended up working here.” 

And if you're interested in working in trading, Jonas has some advice.  

“Making mistakes is inevitable and will come at a cost, but fortunately, our culture at SEB values strong relationships and encourages a sense of safety to both ask questions and learn from mistakes.”