How to break into investment banking at Nordea

Nine weeks ago we started the off-cycle internship here at Nordea Markets Investment Banking Advisory in Stockholm. Time flies! We are Caroline Mellquist Lindwall with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics with a specialisation in Corporate Finance from Lund University, Emelie Jonsson with a Master in Finance with a specialisation in Corporate Finance from Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) and Jasmina Fredelind currently studying a Master in Accounting & Financial Management at SSE.

With this post we want to share our collective experience of the interview process and what working at Nordea is like in a question- and answer format. To start off, we interview each other and in the end we try to answer some typical “true or false” conceptions (or misconceptions) of working at an investment bank.

Why did you choose to apply to Nordea?

Our previous impression of Nordea is an ambitious bank with new and innovative ways of working, and where key criteria for applying are to be alert and hungry for new and challenging experiences. Before applying, we thought of Nordea as a dynamic organization where people are hard-working, but also open minded and welcoming. We encountered Nordea at several occasions, for example company fairs and dinners, Nordea Spring Internship and by talking to friends who have previously worked here.

Then why investment banking and Advisory?

There were mainly two reasons for IB – the high tempo and the steep learning curve.

First of all we wanted to apply our theoretical knowledge from school in practice and to really get to know the industry. Our perception of IB was a sector with a high working-pace and a young and dynamic team where both individual- and team work is needed. We have experienced all of this at Nordea and would describe the company culture as hard-working but relaxed and where everyone is very caring and cooperative. The diversity of projects and sectors is also very motivating. As interns we have had very different experiences both in terms of who we have worked with and what projects we have been involved in. We think this is very typical for the industry.

As for Advisory, we felt that it was exciting to learn more about the part of investment banking that deals with advising large corporate clients and financial players in equity decisions, the “up side” of markets so to speak. It is also a place where you combine strategic thinking with deep industrial analysis. In the long run, it is all about a balance between financial modelling, company valuation and relationship building.

When did you apply and when did you hear from Nordea?

We sent in the application in the end of September, including our CV, a cover letter and university grades. Nordea called back in the middle of October and invited us to a first interview round.

What did the process look like?

The first interview was held by two people from the IB department and lasted about an hour. During the interview Nordea got to know us by asking questions about our personal experiences and our expectations, but the major part of the interview was focused on market-related and technical questions.

Within a week, Nordea called to invite us for a second interview. The second round was more focused on personal experiences but some technical questions were also asked.

What is your impression of the interview process?

The general impression was that the interview was relaxed. You got the feeling that they wanted you to feel comfortable. If you got stuck on a specific question or couldn’t fully develop your ideas, you didn’t feel completely left out. At the same time, the interview really tested your knowledge in a challenging way. We also felt that Nordea wanted to get to know us and put effort into explaining their ways of working and who they were. The knowledge tested was broad and we felt that the interview process was fun and inspiring.IMG_4108

Has your impression lasted during these 9 weeks?

Yes, very much so. We have all worked on different projects and have had the chance to get to know different people. We go out to eat lunch and dinner together which also is a great way of socialising. Overall people work hard but always take the time to teach you something new. Like the interview process, the overall impression is that Nordea challenges us and wants us to develop while everyone is very welcoming and understanding.

When you are in the need of a break you can always go down to the in-house gym, or even better – challenge a colleague in IB’s official table tennis competition.

To round off, three true or false statements about investment banking at Nordea:

You work long hourstrue
However, if you are done for the day and don’t have a project deadline coming up you can go home. It is all about working hard when you are needed, and in those periods it is really fun and rewarding to go in for it together with your team.

You don’t get involved in the “real work” as an internfalse
We have all gotten involved in on-going projects of diverse characteristics. The work ranges from preparing documents for different kinds of presentations, to working with financial models or participating in client meetings and calls. We feel that people value the work we do. Junior analysts as well as senior managers are all very friendly and you get positive as well as constructive feedback on the material you deliver.

The learning curve is steeptrue
The learning curve is very steep and you are constantly exposed to new challenges and projects. However, you always have people around you that you can ask for help and advice, and most important of all; it never gets boring!

– Caroline, Emelie and Jasmina

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