Just a few months into the Standard Bank Graduate programme, the graduates who enrolled in the programme are excelling in leaps and bounds, promising to be valuable members of the bank upon completion of their training.
The graduates, namely Naky Naris, Naufiku, Hamunime, La’ Renique van der Ross, Ndatota Hangula and Jonas Tomanga, joined the bank for its new graduate training programme in March last year, after they successfully completed their studies at their respective universities. The five graduates were selected out of a total of 517 applicants and are currently undergoing a rotating work experience of between the bank’s various structures.
“I always thought that working in the bank would be laid back but I soon realized that it’s a hectic environment where one will never stop learning. As a graduate there is no day that you won’t learn anything at Standard Bank. For me this brings me joy of ever learning,” Naky Naris, one of the graduates said. Naris who has been with the bank for ten months said she was initially drawn to the bank because of its vision to be the leader in innovative banking technology and providing exceptional customer service.
“I had hopes of becoming part of a company that places its social responsibility to the Namibian population at the forefront. It also provides a platform to make and contribute to wide scale technological development,” Naris noted. Over the course of the ten months, the fundamentals of banking accuracy, team work and ethics, as well as professionalism, are the valuable lessons that Naris said were ingrained in him and have helped him grow as a professional.
“The graduate programme gives you exposure to all areas of the financial institution; it allows you to gain knowledge and experience in all aspects of banking, and the best part of the programme is that you are not limited to one thing/department which will help you in your future endeavours, even if not in a bank. Banks build financial soldiers,” Naris stressed, encouraging other graduates to apply for the programme. Fellow trainee in the graduate programme, La’Renique van der Ross, agreed with Naris, stating “Banking is a profession that offers a huge variety of opportunities as well as the possibility of early responsibility. Standard Bank’s Graduate programme fully encompasses that. Furthermore, as a graduate you will be placed under the mentorship of leaders who are passionate about your development and will push you to reach your highest potential.”
Van der Ross said that working in Standard Bank has allowed her with unique insight into the banking industry, surpassing all her perceptions and allowing her to learn lessons pertinent to her professional growth. “I have learned a number of valuable lessons. I have learned that your attitude is just as important as your output; one should aim for more challenging projects or assignments. Usually, these opportunities don’t just happen. This has forced me to push myself to delve into topics or situations that were scary in the short-term but good for my development; and lastly don't get discouraged when problems arise. Rather than dwelling on the challenges, I’ve learned to stay focused, positive, and offer valuable solutions,” she explained.
Van der Ross joined the graduate program because of Standard Bank’s reputation as an innovative and customer-centric financial derived from a century of banking expertise, a fact she is glad the bank has lived up to. Some lessons have been harder to learn for graduate Ndatota Hangula, albeit necessary for growth.
“One of the biggest challenges I encountered was not immediately being good or able to execute a task. In my academic career I naturally excelled at everything I did, and learning to manage failure and taking lessons from these failures has been challenging, but eye opening. Through these experiences I have concluded that I do not need to be good at everything or even many things as long as I have the competencies and skills to be able to develop in my chosen career path,” she explained.
Fortunately however, Hangula has been able to achieve her goals, regardless of the challenges she faced. Her main goal since joining the program has been to gain a well-rounded and comprehensive understanding of the bank’s operations, and she has been able to achieve because the graduate program requires the trainees to rotate through various departments.
“The programme allows individuals to gain sufficient exposure to the different units within the bank. It is also broad which allows graduates not to be confined to specific areas. This is particularly important for those who have not formed a concrete idea of what career they want to pursue. Overall, graduates will come out with a better understanding of the bank and key skills and knowledge which would allow them excel in whatever work they chose to do beyond the program,” she said, also urging other graduates to participate in the program. For Jonas Tomanga, who thought banks were the most misunderstood institutions and apprehensive about working for one, his outlook has changed immensely.
“The Standard Bank graduate programme offered me the rare opportunity to learn everything about banking, from its frontline services to the backend enabling services. It also offered me the opportunity to develop my skills, acquire knowledge and gain valuable experience in the banking industry,” he beamed. Admittedly, Tomanga also had his own challenges to overcome, however he explained that time and experience helped him overcome them. “My goal when I joined the graduate programme was to learn about the financial world and to help where I can,” he stressed.
Although graduate Naufiku Hamunime only joined the Standard Bank graduate programme four months ago, she too has been doing exceptionally well, crediting it to the supportive Standard Bank team and his determination. “Standard Bank stood out to me as an ideal place to start my career because of its continental significance. As Africa’s largest bank, Standard Bank represents an opportunity to gain access to both national and regional experts who are passionate about harnessing the financial sector to steer development on the continent,” Hamunime said, explaining her reasons for joining the graduate program.
Having studied economics and International Development, working in finance had never crossed Hamunime’s mind, however she said through this programme she has gained a greater understanding and appreciation of the role that private financial institutions play in facilitating major developments, particularly in Namibia.
"I've learnt that at Standard Bank what matters more than what you know is your attitude. Coming in with an attitude of wanting to grow and learning as much as possible from those around me has been a great advantage. I definitely feel that being eager to help those around me and more importantly leverage knowledge has helped me navigate my role with ease,” she said.
Urging other graduates to enrol in the programme, Hamunime concluded: “Having clear goals and expectations is crucial to succeeding in anything. The perfect candidate for the programme and someone that I would encourage to join the programme would be the graduate who feels that their professional interests align with the goals and vision of the bank, is passionate about learning, would like to gain exposure to different business units within the bank and would like on the job experience to inform their future career decisions.”