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The focus on wanting to develop and engage employees for the long-term really stood out to me.

Lisanne Smink | Product Owner

The banking industry may not be the most obvious choice within your work field, how did you end up at Van Lanschot Kempen?  
Wanting to make a bit of a career switch I decided to explore various options, including an internship. My objective was to find a company and role that would fit my ambitions and professional goals. While opening LinkedIn I saw an internship vacancy at Van Lanschot Kempen in the Digital & Innovation department. Reading the job description I noticed it wasn’t as formal as I feared it to be, so I decided to apply and see if it would be a good fit. After meeting the hiring manager and understanding how the department is being managed it was an easy yes when I was offered the position. An extra plus for me: the internship allowed me to apply the theory taught at Uni in practice.

You started as an intern, what made you join us after your internship? 
Van Lanschot Kempen offered me a lot of opportunities to develop myself professionally right of the bat. Besides that, the overall atmosphere within the company is very supportive and trusting. They want you to develop professionally without you burning the candle at both ends. That focus on wanting to develop and engage employees for the long-term really stood out to me. 

Could you elaborate on a specific project that you worked on and tell us more about the entire process? 
Together with our credit specialists and co-workers of the Marketing team we developed a smart mortgage refinancing tool for vanlanschot.nl. The tool allows our website visitors to easily access whether it is interesting for them to refinance their mortgage. 

The process in short:

  • A Product Backlog Item (PBI) is created and continuously updated with relevant information.
  • Together with all the specialists we created a wireframe for the tool to decide on the flow and possibilities of the tool.
  • Our teams UX-designer improves the user experience and creates a fitting design.
  • I bring the PBI into the refinement with the DevOps team to discuss the requirements, design, and overall value to the business. This can be quite the discussion.
  • The DevOps team the estimated number of points needed to develop the tool as described in the PBI.
  • The PBI is put into our roadmap and scheduled for an upcoming
  • The DevOps team picks up the PBI and deploys the tool to our internal Acceptance Environment when ready. Now the stakeholders and I test the tool to get out any bugs before going live. 
  • Next the DevOps team gives a demo of the finished PBI in our sprint review to all stakeholders in our organization. This allows multiple stakeholders to respond to the work done.
  • Before the tool is ready to be deployed to our live Production environment the Marketing team reviews the content one last time with a Compliance Officer.
  • After deployment we do data-analysis with our colleagues of Marketing to understand what we can do to optimize the mortgage refinancing further. 

How do you combine your studies at the UvA with working fulltime? Seems like quite a challenge. 
To be honest, my grade point went up from 7 to 8 after starting my internship. Being able to apply and see happening what you are learning at  your University is a huge advantage. There were some early mornings, late nights and busy weekends to meet deadlines, but overall Van Lanschot Kempen offered me plenty of flexibility to be able to manage it all. Time spent on binge-watching tv-series did suffer a bit.  

Do you have any advice for our female readers who want to work within the IT/Digital world, a world mostly dominated by men? 
If you want to work in IT/Digital, just jump in. You don’t need to wait to acquire a certain knowledge set before being able to work in this field. I’ve learned many things ‘on the job’ by being curious, asking questions, making suggestions, and failing at what I was doing. Especially in agile working environments such as IT/Digital failure is broadly accepted. Learning and adapting is vital to being agile. Besides, even the most knowledgeable and senior professionals do not know everything. Developments simply go to fast.