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An entrepreneurial mindset helps within SEB

Career opportunities and innovative start-ups made German student Alexander Leucht choose Sweden. Sustainability and a focus on innovation narrowed it down to SEB, and in June 2021 Alexander graduated from SEB's international trainee program.

After studying industrial engineering with a focus on finance in Munich, Alexander Leucht moved to Uppsala in Sweden to continue his studies in business and economics.

“There are so many interesting start-ups and tech companies that come from Sweden. Stockholm in particular is an innovative city and a European hub for start-ups.

I really enjoy living in Sweden – people are open and friendly, and the nature is beautiful – and since there are many interesting career opportunities here, I decided to stay.”

What made you apply to SEB's program?

“After university studies, a trainee program is a great way to learn more and develop further. It's also an opportunity to get a holistic view of a company while building a network with trainees and other colleagues.

The reason why I chose SEB is the bank's focus on sustainability and the fact that SEB is an innovative and global company. Before I moved to Sweden, I did not have much experience with sustainable finance. But the more I learn about it and work with it, the more I'm sure that it's currently one of the most important topics in our industry and that it will shape our future.”

What did you do during your year as a trainee?

“I worked as an analyst at Financial Strategy within Large Companies Financial Institutions. I spent 50 per cent of my time with my home team, mainly focusing on advising SEB's large corporate clients on topics like credit rating, working capital management and ESG (Environment, Social and Governance). As a trainee, I got a lot of responsibility early on and could participate in various advisory projects. I really appreciated the time with my team and that I learned a lot during our projects.

The other 50 per cent gave me the opportunity to do rotations, learn new things and visit other parts of the bank. It was a great combination of assisting and running my own projects. One of my rotations was with the Climate & Sustainable Finance team, where I could support on advise clients on their transformation journey towards a more sustainable future, getting valuable insights into new innovative financial products.

Another rotation was with the Singular team. I had the opportunity to support emerging technology companies and get more experience within the Swedish tech industry. The best part of the rotations is that you can gather experiences and skills from different fields within finance. After this rotation, I knew that I wanted to work more towards advising emerging technology companies. So, after completing the trainee program I joined the Corporate Finance Growth team.”

SEB Singular was established as a semi-independent corporate finance boutique exclusively focusing on tech-driven growth companies, supporting start-ups and growth companies with M A advisory and capital raisings, as well as corporates and financial investors with investments in or acquisitions of tech-driven growth companies. It is now part of Corporate Finance Growth, expanding the Singular team into a broader corporate finance advisor for growth companies.

Was there anything that surprised you? 

“Before I applied to the program, I was expecting the trainee period to provide me with some support and opportunities to develop. But still, I was surprised to see how well trainees are perceived within the bank and how much our managers and colleagues care about our development. They were all welcoming and supported us throughout the trainee journey. Also, I had the opportunity to take on a lot of responsibilities from day one.”  

What is your advice to others who are considering applying for a trainee position?

“The application and selection processes are very competitive, so I think that it helps if you are familiar with SEB operations and have an understanding of the bank's products and services and other innovations in the banking industry.

And since entrepreneurship has a strong influence on everything that is done within SEB, it helps if you have an entrepreneurial mindset.”

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