In general, the demand for accounting and FP&A (controlling) is greatest and usually entry level is most popular with employers.However, other areas of work require certain expertise and work experience.
Is certificate required for accounting positions?
For students majoring in accounting, certificates such as ACCA, CFA and CPA etc are quite common to obtain. However, most junior positions in accounting in big firms do not make it mandatory to be certified with above-mentioned certificates. As long as you have a background in accounting with a great logic thinking and communication. Usually firms would support you with further trainings and allowances to get the certificates.
What backgrounds of study does FP&A positions require?
First, it is not only needed to have a comprehensive grasp of the subject, but also “people skill”,as this position demands a lot communication and negotiation with other departments. For students who desire to be in FP&A department, especially those who have business and economics background and a good understanding of accounting, this position is a perfect match. For those have a background in accounting, you have to prove that you can get a hang of communication and advisory.
Is background in economics(econometrics) or finance popular with big firms?
There are many Chinese students majoring in economics(econometrics) or finance in the Netherlands, however, the demand for those students is not that high for Dutch companies. Those students can consider the career in risk control as the risk track in the back offices of banks are quite popular. Furthermore, risk control could expose you to different disciplines of business, such as risk, finance, HR, reporting and auditing.
How are the overtime work and salary of banks?
It depends on the position. The salaries of working in banks can be higher as a big port of them is bonus. Generally the average salaries of ING are higher than other banks. The salary of trainees are the highest top 10% compared to other trainees in the Netherlands, nearly catching up with Shell or Unilever etc. There are more things to consider than just salaries, for instance, ING has been awarded the best employer in Europe several times. Usually, the total work time including overtime is about 60 hours per week, up to 80 to 100 hours per week. But in general, Dutch people really attach importance to work & life balance.
How are the interviews in economic and finance positions in banks?
Interviews for banks are like any other. You’d have to start with online application, where your resume and motivation count the most.
After you have passed the online selection, there would be a telephonic interview where you are interviewed by a junior analyst to examine your English proficiency and motivation.
Next comes two to three rounds of face-to-face interviews, where there are two people per rounds. The interviewers are usually Vice Presidents to see your technical skills, modelling skills etc.
There could also be case-study tests, where they show you the balance sheet of the firm for the past two years then you’d be asked to set up a valuation model within 3 hours. It is up to the result of your model to determine whether you are eligible for the next round.
If you pass the past few rounds, then you’d be invited to the last round of interview with a managing director. If you make it here, congratulations! you have got your offer in the pocket.