Career Tips for Newcomers to Banking and Financial Institutions

by Martina Lohmüller, head of HR, comdirect bank AG

Banking is a people business

One rumor stubbornly persists, which is: to work at a bank, you have to be good at math. That’s nonsense, of course – there are so many different jobs with us! What you need is a basic interest in finance and economics in order to understand the correlations between things. That’s our daily business. In addition, social skills – the desire to work with people, to cooperate with colleagues – are becoming all the more important due to the increasing importance of collaboration. This does not only apply internally; one also has to be able to understand the customer and his/her life cycles.

Only those who change remain true to themselves

Today’s world of work is changing rapidly, that’s no secret. How do you deal with it? Of course, you have to be flexible and possess a so-called change orientation. At the same time, the transformation of the world of work requires inner strength and poise. It is important to be authentic. You spend a lot of time on the job; pretending to be someone else the whole time would be insane. This is all the more true in crisis situations. Openness and honesty are essential, also for superiors. Fortunately, leadership is changing. It’s about holding yourself back and working towards the common good. Of course, in certain functions you need people who are more power-oriented and push forward, for example in sales. But within the team, balance is important. Here the credo applies: everyone has his or her skills, which are equally valuable.

A playing field next to the job

One needs a hobby, a passion, a theme you’re passionate about in order to expand your mindset, no matter what it is. Maybe it’s running, a team sport, going to museums, or sitting on the balcony and looking into the distance to switch off. What I don’t like are phoneys who only run to the opera and galleries to shine. Nobody needs that.

Maximum multitasking

It is often claimed that the young generation cannot concentrate and is not focused. This does not correspond to my experiences at all. On the contrary, I think they are extremely focused. I find the speed with which they take up and process information really remarkable. That’s why I would say: don’t let yourself be convinced otherwise. Speed and multitasking ability are assets we need. In combination with older colleagues who have a lot of experience to fall back on, this results in a tremendous dynamic.

The doer gene

The recipe for success? For me a word with two letters: D O. Do it, take off, trust yourself. This tackling and getting down to it, the trying and readjusting is completely underestimated. I would wish for more of this spirit. Not always to see the problems and hurdles first, but to approach projects courageously and self-confidently. Sometimes the big things come into being that you never would have thought possible.

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