To think analytically but also pragmatically
Doing a traineeship at the European Central Bank (ECB) has been a wish since I have started studying law and economics and even more so now I work on a research project on the Single Supervisory Mechanism at the European University Institute.
In order to choose where to apply to do a traineeship in an EU institution, the contribution to the institution’s objectives matters significantly in my opinion. In this regard, the ECB is one of the world’s largest banking supervisors. Since 2014, banking supervision in the euro area has been conducted by the ECB and the national competent authorities (NCAs) of the participating Member States within the framework of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), whose aim is to conduct effective, consistent, and tough supervision. The SSM is the first pillar of the Banking Union and directly contributes to the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union and European economic integration. All those objectives are impacting directly the lives of all European citizens: this makes the traineeship position even more attractive!
Within the Decision-making Policy Section in the Directorate Secretariat to the Supervisory Board of the SSM, I have been able to combine substantive law and a practical use of the SSM legislative and institutional framework to support banking supervision decision-making. Such an experience is particularly relevant to better grasp from a practical viewpoint what you have been taught in courses or seminars in your previous educational background. Concretely, you understand what ECB supervisory decisions sent to credit institutions are, their legal bases, the administrative and judicial challenges of supervisory legal acts. More broadly, you are directly involved in insuring the institutional quality of decision-making processes and the practical operations of the SSM supervisory policy. In the end, being a trainee at the Secretariat gives you a very valuable transversal approach to gain a good overview of the legal and policy frameworks of the SSM, and generally within the Banking Union.
The tasks and responsibilities entrusted to a trainee are both challenging and rewarding. It is challenging because as a trainee you need to quickly adapt to new working conditions and to contribute to a range of various issues and policy projects in teamwork, and sometimes more autonomously. It is highly rewarding when you finally accomplish them. Moreover, those tasks and responsibilities help you developing your skills and competencies. For instance, you are able to draft policy notes and briefings, improve your time management and work efficiency, and interact within the whole institution, from your colleagues in the Secretariat to supervisors within the Joint Supervisory Teams and with the NCAs. The traineeship covers therefore a wide scope of different topics to learn on a continuous basis, in close cooperation with very knowledgeable and committed colleagues.
I truly believe that in any academic cursus it is the right choice to have a practical experience in an EU institution such as the ECB for one’s early professional development and to benefit personal reflexion and knowledge. The practical insights obtained in a traineeship encourage you not only to think analytically but also pragmatically, to enhance your problem-solving skills to resolve different issues in a timely manner, including handling sensitive information.
Finally, a traineeship at the ECB puts you into an incredibly enriching international environment, with a wonderful team spirit and multicultural working conditions. The trainees contribute effectively both on the substance-matter level, thanks to their academic background, and on the personal side. I definitely recommend this great experience!
by Agnieszka Góralczyk