Intern at the 2020 Women's Insight Programme at Nomura
I really enjoyed the insight, despite the fact that we couldn't do it in London as had been planned. The team worked really hard to prepare online interactive courses, panels and group activities. I left knowing a lot more about finance and what working in financial services would be like, as well as improving my communication and group work skills.
I definitely liked the firm's culture! The fact that the team worked so hard to produce a virtual programme meant a lot to me: other firms just offered interviews for internships and cancelled programmes all together. I got so much out of the three days, and coming from a non-finance degree background this will set me up much better for future applications. I really appreciated the thought and effort that went into it.
We had a very experienced session leader who let us ask questions at any point during the virtual sessions. It was a very friendly and non-judgmental environment. In addition to this, we had a "buddy" who worked at the firm and who we could call to ask questions and chat to. They in turn could refer us to other employees, who could give us further insight into the industry and their job.
As mentioned, I feel that I learned a lot about finance over the three days, so whether I go into a career in this industry or not I now have a much better understanding of current affairs. Aside from this, the programme was structured so that we could also work on our soft skills, with a particularly useful workshop on public speaking and communication. The advice I was given here is something that I will definitely take forward and use in the future, no matter what career I end up going into.
It was well structured overall: we had to complete online courses beforehand, and then each virtual session had a clear focus and goal. This was useful because I could let my buddy know what we were planning on covering on a given day, and then ask for help as to how to get the most out of the session.
The atmosphere has to be one of the best things! I was really worried it would be quite formal and corporate, but everyone I met at the firm was so friendly and welcoming, and really willing to go that extra mile to give advice and help. It was a cooperative, non-judgmental environment in which everyone helped each other and there was no sense at all that anyone was trying to one-up each other.
We received a series of five online courses on various aspects of finance to complete beforehand, which were accessible to people who were very beginners. The buddy system was also a great idea - I felt that I could use mine to ask all sorts of questions, from terms that I was unsure of to the different roles in finance. The beauty of this system was that each person could use it differently, depending on what they wanted to get out of it.
As we couldn't shadow anyone in person or see the offices in London, of course there were limits. However, the team organised panel interviews with employees from different divisions and presentations on how the bank was structured, which gave us insight into how the bank differed from others and what each role entailed. We also could discuss what a typical day looks like with our buddies, and they could refer us to their colleagues who could tell us about their roles.
It helped a lot! From the very fact that the insight went ahead, I got a feel for how invested the company is in each individual employee. Talking to the employees was also very useful, as they could provide valuable insight on what makes Nomura special and why they like to work there.
It helped me a lot, as I don't study finance and I had no idea what working in financial services would entail. Through the insight, not only did I learn the basics of finance, but I learned a lot more about the industry, its culture and what sort of people work in finance.
We were paid very generously for the insight. I was also very grateful that Nomura paid us the full amount, even though we didn't end up doing the full length programme, as many people had booked accommodation or flights that couldn't be cancelled. This was definitely very considerate of the firm and much appreciated by all of us.
We were put in contact with at least one employee, our buddy, but they often arranged for us to chat with another employee so we could learn about a different division. In addition to this, panel events were held where we could chat to employees about their role, their career paths and their opinion on current financial affairs
It was obviously harder to do this online, but we organised coffee mornings and groupchats via whatsapp and zoom. All the other girls on the programme were very friendly and I'd love to keep connected with them. Because it was online, this will require more effort on our part, however.
There wasn't much on this, but I think this was probably due to time constraints and to the fact that as we were online it was harder to go into every aspect of the firm culture. I'm sure that this might have been discussed, or we would have had the possibility to ask if we'd been there in person.
Absolutely - it's an incredibly positive environment to work in, the team were so friendly and helpful and the firm's culture is very welcoming. I learned a lot during my three days and made a lot of friends and connections. I'd recommend this especially to those who come from a non-finance degree background and are perhaps nervous about doing an insight programme, as Nomura did their very best to make everyone feel positive and confident and come away having learned something.