Intern in the compliance and operations division supporting the work of the Global Markets division
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed the internship. HR team were very supportive. Lots of opportunities to shadow and meet colleagues across the business. Nomura's culture was very open and flat which ensured interns would feel comfortable. Nomura's facilities are also very good, with their new offices and canteen in particular standing out.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Colleagues on my desk valued me highly. They integrated me into the team in the workplace, as well as socially. They invested time to train me in their work, despite only being here 10 weeks. They gave me appropriate access to systems, client contacts and meetings they attended. I regularly shadowed their work.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager was very supportive on a daily basis. He gave me appropriate responsibility, but always willing to answer questions. He also checked up on me regularly. Finally, he wrote a detailed performance review at weeks 5 and 10 of the internship which was helpful and transparent; it allowed me to know how I could improve my performance. Moreover, I recognised that my manager invested in me to support my career, his team's performance, as well as his advancement.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was very busy on a daily basis since I was in essence performing the function of a graduate analyst. My working hours were usually 8am to 6pm. Most of the day was quite intensive, but able to take appropriate breaks. I had my own daily tasks; start and end-of-day processes; as well as attending formal lectures/talks; shadowing other colleagues and completing internship projects.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a lot of responsibility, especailly since many collegues were taking leave during the summer. I was doing Analyst work. I was given set work that I was responsible for every day, which took most of the day. If I was not able to complete it fully I was require to escalate it to middle management, but whilst still keeping ownership of the output. I was also encouraged to help out with the work of other team members when I was free, and to suggest improvements to workflow processes. I was able to contact clients independently
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I read a humanities/social sciences degree, so my work tasks at Nomura had no direct relevance to my studies. However, this was expected, and the reason I saw the need to do an internship during the summer. However, in the domain of soft skills etc, I believe that my internship will aid my studies. The particular skills I learnt were the ability to deal with uncertainty; to manage a heavy workload and especially multiple tasks and clients/colleagues trying to reach you at once; and more generally confidence to deal with more knowledgeable and senior people.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in the office I would define as serious but all colleagues were approachable. There was a lot of work to be done. However, one could request to shadow virtually any colleagues in any function, as well as attend team meetings or receive previous PowerPoint briefs. The office was well-integrated with lots of IT systems to communicate across teams, divisions and regions. Social activities and charitable events held regularly.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was well-organised up to an extent. The bank's outsourced on-boarding provider could have been more organised. The bank's HR team were incredible friendly and supportive. They organised regular social events. They also oversaw performance reviews and had catch-ups with every intern to ensure that concerns were addressed and that all interns could improve their performance.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Nomura did invest it me, but they could have done to a greater extent. Firstly, they sufficiently remunerated us. Secondly, they organised talks or lectures from people across the business to explain their work. These were very useful. Thirdly, my desk team were very open to invest in me so that I could perform a high amount of work, despite only being at the firm for 10 weeks. On the other hand, firstly, the bank should have invested more time in formal learning experiences about product knowledge as well as excel skills. Secondly, the training at the beginning of the internship with an outside provider was not at all useful, since the trainers had no expertise in the City.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Employment prospects at Nomura are generally good. The firm is successful and recruits a large graduate class every year. Interns who sufficiently perform are prioritised in this. Work/life balance may be better than at comparable firms. Facilities are good. However, I do not think the company invests enough time in product knowledge and IT skills for interns or graduates, which may be a reason I would decline a job.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Not much to say since there was not much social scene outside of work. Fellow interns got on well; met up at lunch etc. We had regular social events for interns. More importantly, interns helped each other with each others work, which was an important support mechanism. I think the interns valued each other by the end of the internship.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cost of living and socialising is very high in central London. Socialising does not need to be luxurious so the cost of that was not great. Travel costs within London or coming from outside London are high, but interns were remunerated to afford that. Housing costs for summer rental were also very high, but many interns rented in university accommodation etc or with other interns
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Nightlife is huge and varied in central London, however, there was not much time for this during the internship!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Opportunities were fairly limited since work demands were high, but the opportunities that existed were structured around the company's charity partner which was good for 2 reasons. Firstly, it provided variety: e.g. sport events to raise money, or helping the charity's client with CV or university advice etc. Secondly, it was a good cause and manifest that the bank genuinely believed it doing, rather than just for its image. In particular, all interns had one paid day-off from their desks to participate in a fundraising challenge with the others interns. We managed to raise 10k among us.