After graduating with a law degree, Sean Sales, a technology recruiter at Deutsche Bank, decided to pursue a different type of career. He started at Deutsche Bank in Birmingham, England and recently relocated to Jacksonville, Florida where he’s currently guiding students on their paths to a successful career, and chasing storms in his spare time.
We spoke with Sean to learn more about what life is like at Deutsche Bank, why technology students should consider a career in banking and how interns and entry-level candidates can prepare for the next step in their journey.
Life at Deutsche Bank
What is your favorite part about working at Deutsche Bank?
Definitely the people. Everyone has their own story and brings a different perspective to the table. I’m constantly learning something new. I joined the Bank in 2011 and I can honestly say I have never felt like it’s ‘just another day in the office.’ The people and pace of change keeps life very interesting!
Tell us more about your storm chasing hobby.
I know, it’s an unusual hobby. For the last four years, I’ve been chasing storms across the Midwest. I take a few weeks off every summer and fortunately, have been able to balance this with my career. It’s a big part of who I am. I feel like the Bank respects that its people have hobbies outside of work that contribute to who they are when they walk through the doors.
How did the opportunity to move from Birmingham to Florida come about?
I wanted to work in another location and the U.S. was my first choice. I built up my professional network across the Bank and volunteered for any project I felt I could add value to. Eventually the right opportunity came up in Florida. Over time, I had developed my personal brand and showcased that I was the best candidate for the role. Deutsche Bank made it very easy for me to make the transition to the States and the international structure of the Bank really lends itself to these kinds of opportunities.
Students are used to having a flexible schedule. What’s the school-to-work transition like for students?
This varies depending on the role you take after college. If you work in a revenue-generating team, you will essentially need to follow the schedule dictated by the markets and your clients. Project-based roles offer more flexibility. Regardless of the team you work in, what you deliver is what you’ll be measured on, not how many hours you spend at your desk.
How Students Can Stand Out
When you do on-campus recruiting, what do you look for in a student?
I meet hundreds of candidates every year and my number one piece of advice is to take an information session or career fair as seriously as an interview, which means do your research. We are happy to talk to everyone, but the students who come prepared and ask insightful, well-researched questions are the ones who leave a lasting impression. We take our culture very seriously and I’m always impressed with students who are able to link their personal values to the Deutsche Bank values.
What makes interns and entry-level hires succeed in their first few months on the job?
Successful students will be naturally curious, have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to challenge the conventional way of thinking about things. We want graduates and interns who are not afraid to ask “why?” We understand that there is no right way to solve a problem, and the ability to approach a problem differently is something our graduates are often best at.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced when recruiting for internship and entry-level candidates?
These groups of students usually want to try lots of different roles and challenges over the course of a career. Banking is often misunderstood, so I find my greatest challenge is educating students on the various opportunities for someone starting a career in banking. College graduates are likely to have around fifteen roles over the course of their career. The great thing about working at Deutsche Bank is that you could have all fifteen roles without ever leaving.
STEM Students and Banks. What’s the Connection?
Why might a STEM major want to work for a bank versus working in the more traditional tech industry or a start-up?
There’s a characteristic that unites STEM graduates across industries, which is the desire to problem solve. The natural complexity of what we do at Deutsche Bank combined with a regulatory and economic landscape that’s constantly changing means a STEM graduate will find that their passion for problem-solving and innovation is never left untapped. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in your field while having the backing and security of working in a large organization.
What types of innovative projects will tech graduates get the chance to work on in the banking industry?
You’ll build applications designed to handle large amounts of data, high-frequency trading applications that are key to serving our clients, and all the systems required to allow a business with close to a 100,000 employees to operate. You’ll work on real-world technical projects and get to make a difference from day one.
What can students do to make their college applications stand out?
We want your personality to come through as much as possible, so be passionate about what you do. We want to see more than just great grades (although those are important, too!). Have you worked to fund your education? That tells us you are a self-starter. Have you participated in hackathons and tech conferences? That tells us you see your career in tech as more than a 9-5 job. We’re curious about who you are outside of school too, so don’t be afraid to share those stories!
What can freshmen and sophomore students start doing now to get a head start on junior recruiting season?
Come and meet us at our career events during the fall. The best way to find out if a career in banking is for you is to hear from the representatives who work in banking every day. Our information sessions, Tech Talks, and career fairs are all designed to give you insight that you won’t get from our website. Also, build your network. The connections you make in college will stay with you throughout your professional career and a friend who interns in a bank is going to be your best source of information when deciding if it’s right for you.
How can a student with no work experience break into the industry?
A few things. If it’s a career in technology, you don’t need internships to be able to demonstrate your knowledge and passion. Being an active contributor to sites like GitHub and Stack Exchange are ways to get noticed and also showcase your work. Take part in extracurricular events like hackathons and attend industry conferences. Also, dig a little deeper in your career search, and you’ll find an entry-level role that makes you happy to go into work. Most importantly: don’t judge an industry based on stereotypes. Talk to a recruiter or hiring manager to learn what options their industry really offers – it might be just what you’re looking for.
About Deutsche Bank
If you’re full of ideas, love solving problems and are keen to grow a long-term career, a fulfilling, fast-paced future could be yours at Deutsche Bank. The leading global bank with roots in Germany, we’re driving change and innovation in our industry. And we’ll give you everything you need to succeed in an international environment. Whether you join us in a finance, technology or business operations role, our structured, ongoing training will support your continuous development. At the same time you’ll learn from talented colleagues while being encouraged to think for yourself, ask questions and share your ideas. You’ll start shaping your future straight away, take on increasing responsibility and deliver work that’s of real value to our business. Make your mark in a business that never stands still. Start a career with a difference at db.com/careers