Aegon offers various development programs to help young, ambitious professionals identify and develop their potential. These training programs include on-the-job coaching, mentoring, networking with peers and interacting with senior management. Derk van den Bosch (26) and Ryan Wilson (23) both studied at Tilburg University and are now part of the Financial & Technical Development Program at Aegon.
Derk, how did you get to know about the program?
“Well, I started at Aegon Asset Management as an intern in May 2019. I completed my thesis while working there. Once I graduated, they asked me if I would like to stay on and follow the Technical Development Program. Obviously that was a great opportunity for me, and I did not want to miss it!”
And you, Ryan?
“I was actually finishing up my internship at the competitor, NN, when I applied for the Financial Development Program at Aegon. I read about the program on Aegon’s website.
Ryan: I think that every unit has a different culture and way of working, and that’s what makes it so exciting.
You both just started the program. Can you tell me about your experiences so far?
Derk: “We’ve had the opportunity to regularly attend various events. At one of these events, we were able to meet senior managers who gave us an insight into their work and the projects they are involved in. We’ve also had some social events, where the main goal is to interact with, and get to know the other participants better.”
Ryan: “We actually had a cooking class, where participants from the previous years also joined in. It was definitely a fun teambuilding activity. I also really enjoy working in such a diverse group with participants from so many different cultures. This makes it easier for me to get to know more people in the Netherlands and also within the company.”
What does the curriculum look like? Is it the same for you both?
Derk: ”Yes, the curriculum is the same for the both of us, but the jobs we can choose from differ. We rotate every 2 years. And it’s three rotations in total. That’s exciting because you get to work at different units of the company, and receive invaluable on-the-job training.”
Ryan: “In addition there are several soft skill training sessions. The first training we’ve had focused on developing our soft skills. First we each had an interview with the trainer, and then we had to fill out a very detailed questionnaire. On the basis of this, we receive a report that gives us valuable insight about how we can develop ourselves further. This really helps you discover what your strengths and weaknesses are.”
You’re both millennials who are known for their restlessness. The program lasts for six years, that is quite a commitment. Can you tell me why you chose to join?
Derk: ”I don’t really see it as working for six years at the same company. Aegon has different business units and they operate autonomously. If you’re not decided about the direction you want to take, this is an ideal way to explore different units, departments and functions.”
Ryan: “Aegon is an international company. There are many opportunities to work abroad, if that’s something that interests you. And like Derk said, there are so many different units and positions. And, I think that every unit has a different culture and way of working, and that’s what makes it so exciting...”
So, are you planning to go abroad?
Derk: “If you go abroad within the program, you will be assigned to a single project. I am not sure about the type of project I want to take up yet. I’ve only just started the program, so I still have enough time to think about it. But if there is an interesting project available abroad, I surely would like to go.”
Ryan: “I would really like to have the opportunity to work abroad. That depends on what positions are available, but I hope to be able to explore the Aegon life in a different country.”
Would you recommend the program?
Ryan: “Yes, definitely! Mostly because the program is really about you! From the beginning the emphasis is on finding the position that suits you best. Also the fact that the program lasts for six years has added value: A lot of the other traineeships are often for a period of six months, and you can’t grasp a role in just a few months. And it’s fun because there’s so much focus on the social aspect as well – I’ve already made some great friends!”