Company of the Week: SEB – Monday

Monday – Around the world in one day

Companies as well as individuals can consider themselves today as global citizens. We are no longer restricted to our roots – an open mind will find an open road to any destination. In turn we can get overwhelmed by the numerous job opportunities that companies present all over the world. Going global? Sure! How? Let me give you some practical sense on how to tap into global job opportunities, and what it means in my work to be part of a global network.

I work at the SEB branch office in Helsinki together with some 300 colleagues. But in fact, I work mostly with colleagues outside our Helsinki office. SEB may often be considered a Swedish bank, yet the truth is it is very much a Chinese, German, Polish and even an American bank, to mention a few. Why? Because, that is where our Nordic clients have also expanded and we have helped them getting there. It is a mutual benefit to support the clients’ business where they need it the most, and with a bank they already know locally.

My job is to make sure that large corporate clients have credit lines in place, including the local Finnish parent company and all their international subsidiaries. I liaise with our bank’s international network to find out what is needed to arrange a loan in China, a bank guarantee in Singapore, a cash pool in Germany, or a foreign exchange trading facility in the US – whatever is needed.

Waking up at 7am, I browse the emails from Asia over breakfast to see what’s cooking over there. Then I will know to address those matters first thing at the office, while Asia is still open. A quick call to Singapore, jokes over the weather as always – I lose every time. The day continues with Russia, Poland, Baltics and Germany waking up. On these markets issues are often urgent, especially the small ones. It’s common to wrap the day with a call to our New York office on my way home, as it’s often easier to talk through any issues right away than sending several emails that only get run over during a busy day. And it’s a very low threshold to grab the phone, as we already know our foreign colleagues in person. The atmosphere overall is very relaxed and helpful, colleagues are always smiling and happy to help.

Having offices from Asia all the way to Brazil has other advantages too – real job opportunities. I have two Finnish colleagues in our New York office. Two of my current colleagues have both been on one year assignments in Shanghai before returning here, and a Finnish banker is now heading the Shanghai office. Another Finnish colleague first took a job rotation in my team, then found herself taking a new rotation in Germany, next going to Sweden to support our UK office. Next week we will be having colleagues from Poland and the UK visiting us, another great chance to make new connections and expand the network.

If I could state the single most important thing I learned at school, it would be to network. Find people, introduce yourself, break conversation – be open. Banking is a relationship business, where people are the asset on the balance sheet.

Tomi Tuominen

Tomi Tuominen is an Account Manager at SEB Finland, responsible for controlling a portfolio of large corporate credit limits and client documentation. Over 13 years of experience in banking and 2 years in the automotive industry. Off duty a father, husband and a blogger.