Rowing and drinking at Skadi, committees, barista and a nice study at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Before she knew it, Suzanne van den Brink (22) was suddenly looking for internships. She now deals with portfolio managers and bonds on a daily basis. Is finance something for men? Certainly not. Suzanne sees the Financial Development Program (FDP) at Aegon more as something for people who want it than as something for people who fit into a picture.
How did you end up at Aegon?
"Out of curiosity, I sent the campus recruiter, Emily, an open application during my study Financial Economics . I knew about the existence of Aegon, but really only through commercials and as a former main sponsor of rowing. There were unfortunately no thesis internships, but a speed date event was planned, where participants learn more about regular internships at Aegon Asset Management during a think tank. After successful introductions to colleagues and the working environment, I was able to work as an intern Sustainable Sovereign Analyst ."
What did you do during your thesis at Aegon Asset Management?
"Sustainability will play an increasingly important role in society, and the market is also turning greener by the day. Trading in bonds is something I have always been fascinated, but the trade in green bonds ( green bonds ) made me even more excited. Investors are constantly looking for glorious opportunities, but would they be willing to pay more for bonds that add value to our society?
I researched this so-called Greenium concept (Green Premium). I learned during the internship that the financial world is not limited to just pennies and numbers. For example, I was curious whether the economies of countries near the equator are suffering from climate change. I could just investigate that. And I wrote a script in Python to analyze the sentiment in the speeches of the European Central Bank. So very different things."
What do those projects mean to you?
"It's part of Aegon Asset Management's corporate culture that I appreciate so much. The freedom for personal input, discovering the possibilities and the wealth of knowledge are aspects that attract me enormously. The focus is on your needs; develop yourself and learn a lot. I never expected at the start that I eventually ended up at Aegon for the Financial Development Program after the internship."
'You will get there if you work hard. If you get somewhere without working for it, you might not be in the right place.'
You are following the Financial Development Program?
“Yes, I am currently a Junior Money Manager and FX Dealer. That is part of this Development Program. I was assigned to the company, but I had no idea what exactly I wanted. And the Financial Development Program is really perfect for that. It takes six years and every two years you rotate to new positions in different departments. This way you can learn a lot and discover what you like. I learn a lot in a short time. There is so much knowledge at a corporate.'
Isn't it hard to be a woman in a man's world?
"We really look at the individual. In addition, I believe that all-male or all-female teams are not particularly efficient. Teams with different perspectives and insights provide true for both the best ideas and the best working relationships and thereby result in a high efficiency. The problem is not that women are deterred, but that they feel less inclined to apply. It therefore does not help that the image of working in the financial world does not correspond at all with reality. For example, it is very social, I spend all day working with people. Calling, e-mailing, networking; it's a significant part of my job. That's not what most people expect from Aegon Asset Management."
What would you like to pass on to students?
"Don't be put off by what you think is unattainable. Even if you are not following a Finance-related study, I recommend that you take a look at Aegon. The think tank is an ideal way to get acquainted. Perhaps with a different subject than sustainability. Leadership, for example."
Curious about the programs? Read more about the Technical Development Program and the Financial Development Program.