I believe the easiest way to describe the rest of my day is by answering a couple of questions regarding my work that I tend to get when meeting students:
How much time do you spend behind your computer screens? I often get this question when meeting students and the answer is simple; a lot. IT infrastructure is the rock upon which any investment bank stands. We follow market movements, quote prices on derivatives, conduct excel modelling, communicate with customers and colleagues and search for information behind our screens. In my work, excel modelling takes a lot of time and therefore I spend a lot of time in excel. By the way, a great advice for all you students out there is to take the chance to practice excel as much as you can. It is such an essential tool in our work and the better you are the more effective you will be at work.
How much time do you spend with your customers? Typically I have a number of customer meetings every week. I either invite my customers to our office in Gothenburg, or I spend some time on the roads to visit them. Personally I love to visit my customers. For instance; to see the actual buildings that my real estate customers own gives me a feeling for their whole business. I prefer to meet my customers face-to-face but thanks to the technology of today we also sometimes meet online or by phone.
Do you have to be at the office at all times? Of course not. As I just mentioned I leave the office a couple of times a week to meet with my clients. Depending on the occasion we speak about informal topics or interest rate movements and market events over a PowerPoint presentation in a more formal setting. On the other hand, since we are a sales desk where we trade derivatives, there always has to be someone at the office to serve our clients. Do I eat lunch in front of my computer? (Another popular question) Yes, sometimes I have to be in front of my phone and computer, even during lunch hours.
We are the largest bank in the Nordics and that means that many of us work in a global environment. Travelling between the largest Nordic cities is the daily life for a lot of people and I personally see this as a great advantage. A couple of months ago I guest-played at our Malmö office and right after the holidays I spent two weeks at our trading floor in Stockholm. It’s always a great experience to meet new people and to grow your network, both within the bank and with new customers all over Scandinavia.
Do you have fun at work? I don’t even know where to begin on this question. Yes, we have a lot of fun. A typical Markets division is occupied by people with great social skills, humor, knowledge and enthusiasm and when you put a lot of these in the same room it results in a very fun and high performing environment. Also, since I work in Gothenburg (the humor capital of Sweden?) there is always a laugh just around the corner.
Do you work long hours? It depends on what each individual mean by long hours. Yes, I work more than forty hours a week. No, I do not work more than seventy hours a week. The actual outcome is somewhere in between, sometimes when there is a lot of work to be done one has to be prepared to work late a couple of nights or visit the office on the weekends. A lot of my colleagues leave the office at normal working hours and if needed, finishes up some of their work from home. Personally, I prefer to push some work ahead in order to be able to go to the gym or meet my friends on a weekday and then I visit the office for a couple of hours during the weekend.
I knew what I signed up for and I want to give that advice to other students; when aiming at a career in the leading Nordic Markets division you have to be prepared to work a little extra and to push yourself harder in order to deliver a great work. The upside is that you manage your own time and as long as the job gets done you can do most of it whenever and wherever you want.
To sum it all up I have to say that my days are extremely varying, a fact that makes this job so much fun. Meeting clients, analyzing portfolios and derivatives, staying alert on market happenings, travelling the Nordics and have fun with the rest of the team here in Gothenburg is pretty much what I do during my days.