1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Nomura was a lovely company to work for - everyone I encountered was very supportive. The work I was given was interesting and varied. I was not excessively micromanaged and was gradually given increasing responsibility, which I appreciated. There was also lots of additional opportunities to get involved with for charity and sustainability.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Pretty much from the start, I felt valued by my colleagues like any other employee. Although people were aware that I was an intern, I never felt patronized. People used and relied on the work I produced and I felt like I built good relationships with the teams I worked with regularly.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I got on really well with my manager and the rest of my team. He was always very generous with his support and guidance. I also had a really good relationship with my mentor (who used to be in my team) who also gave brilliant support. They have both taught me a lot.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I worked in a team where workflow is not constant so whilst some days were manic, other days were quieter. However by balancing longer term projects with ad hoc work, I was never bored and could always think of more tasks to do.
If ever I did feel my workload was too low, I could always ask my manager for more work. (I only really did this in the first couple of months)
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a lot of responsibility during my placement both in terms of the work I was given and in determining how I structure it. Overall, Nomura isn't super hierarchical so I often came in to contact with and worked with people several levels senior to me which was always a really valuable experience.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I am an economics student and for my final year studies, have chosen several finance/banking related modules. Hopefully my experience and understanding of how financial institutions work will be an asset in these studies. On a broader note, I think I have developed my transferrable skills regarding communication and time management a lot.
I have also had to learn a whole new technical skillset during my internship and this has given me confidence in my ability to learn and adapt. Going forwards, I won't be afraid of a challenge.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office always had a good atmosphere. I found in very conducive to being productive - the right level of background noise and everyone got on really well in the area I sat.
Unfortunately since Covid-19 happened, we have all been working from home and it really made me realize how much I liked going into the office each day.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement was well organized overall. The first 10 weeks overlapped with the summer internship and HR were very active in organizing socials, training and events. After this there wasn't really any structure but by this time we were all comfortably set up in our roles so just getting on with it was absolutely fine.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Across the course of my placement I received several different types of training. In my first week I had a 2-day crash course in financial services (this was to bring everyone up to speed. As an economics student it wasn't all new information but it was reassuring and still interesting). During the first 10 weeks, sessions had been set where people from different teams talked through their work. These were very useful at helping us understand the company quickly.
There was also lots of mandatory training for financial crime etc. and over the year I also attended several different professional development focused sessions. All the training I received was high quality and I helpful.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Employment prospects for graduates are a bit tricky right now. Historically, Nomura has always been able to provide good graduate prospects to its interns (in fact, several of my colleagues had begun as industrial placement interns) but given the current market, it is unclear what graduate recruitment will look like in the future.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
All the interns got on really well and supported each both in and out of work. Socially, we met up quite a bit outside of work at the weekends and evenings but again, this unfortunately got cut short by coronavirus. Although we have had some virtual meet ups and quiz nights since.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I was located in London so it's not really surprising that both rent and living costs are quite high. But while clubs and bars are expensive, there are loads of ways to socialize in London more cheaply too. Something to keep in mind when choosing where to rent is travel costs. Sometimes living further out looks cheaper until you factor in the cost of travel to and from work each day.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Nightlife in the City is great but expensive.
Nomura has a roof terrace with great views over the river Thames. During the warmer months they host drinks on the terrace every Thursday (you purchase alcohol at a significantly cheaper price than surrounding bars) and these always have a great atmosphere and is a great way to build relationships with colleagues.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes, Nomura has lots of Sports, Arts and Social groups that you could get involved with. They also provide lots of opportunities to help with charity work - I was given a day off work to volunteer at a homeless shelter. Finally, there are several diversity networks and they all run events throughout the year.