“Why?” Gráinne Temple (26) has been asking this question ever since she was a child. Analyzing is what she does best, in both her private and professional life. Gráinne: “Now the development program at Aegon is helping me further hone my skill set, especially my soft skills.”
What's your story?
"As my name might give away, I am from Ireland where I lived, studied and developed an undying love for Irish sport. I finally deciding to leave the island to study for my Masters in Germany. I tend to question everything, I always want to know why and how, therefore I really enjoy understanding and learning. That counts for people, objects and everything else. This curiosity brought me to studying Theoretical Physics and Mathematics where I could find the most answers to my questions. Later I moved to Munich to study astrophysics for my master's degree, focusing on Cosmology and Large Scale Structures such as galaxy clusters. Analysing a combination of large data sets from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Dark Energy Survey to 'see' dark matter and further our understanding of the fundamental composition of the universe."
How did you go from dark matter to a development program at Aegon?
"Well, I wanted to move out of academia and use my skills at something a little more 'down to earth'. Both to speed up my career and to expand my skill set. Although I had a clear bias towards quant roles, I really wanted to avoid relying on the skills or information I already had. Most of the training programs I had been looking at were of this type. You would go into one role and receive training in the financial area the role was in. While this is ideal for most people, I wanted to gain knowledge in as many areas as possible and make an informed decision about the area that suits me the best. The development program at Aegon was the only one that offered the opportunity to cover multiple roles and business types during the course of the program."
Which aspect of the development program brings a smile to your face?
"Definitely the soft skill personal trainings. You are taught new skills that first cause a little discomfort, but once you start applying them in your daily work you notice you are actually becoming more efficient and effective at what you do."
You have to be open minded and eager to learn. Instead of hiding your weaker skills, work on developing them.Gráinne Temple
All sounds very good, but what part of the program can be frustrating?
"Actually the program suits me perfectly, but there is something frustrating at Aegon: the speed of change! A huge amount of time is spent on maintaining older systems purely because there are no new alternatives. This is time that could be used to potentially speed up processes and release resources for more ambitious tasks. These new alternatives are hard to create. The time needed to create them often goes into maintaining the old one."
What kind of person would a development program suit well?
"You have to be open minded and eager to learn. Instead of hiding your weaker skills, work on developing them. Definitely get ready to step out of your comfort zone. Lastly, do not forget that the development works two ways: Aegon will help you develop yourself and in return will want you to step up and use your skills to support and develop Aegon."