By Niels Joachim Stang and Henrik Hvesser
After wrapping up three different projects in week 3, the intern pairs were split up to form new groups in week 4. Anna Emilie teamed up with Andreas to work on macro and renewable energy, Magne got together with Mina to evaluate municipalities’ portfolios, while we, Henrik and Joachim, were shuffled over to the trading desk in Markets.
The project kicked off on Monday with a quick introduction to both the trading desk and the issues they wanted to deal with, orchestrated by the Head of Global Trading Norway, Pål Martinsen, and Chief Dealer, Rates, Lars Even Klepsland. After leaving the meeting Monday morning, our initial thoughts were:
“It is going to be one hell of a week; we barely know what an Interest Rate Swap is.”
It did turn out to be one hell of a week – but in the best way possible.
Pål and Lars had noticed a surging interest from customers in trading swaps in relatively unconventional currencies, and wanted us to dive deeper into it to see if we could find out any reasons for the interest. We decided to create an Excel model, not only to compute the output we wanted but also to visualize it, so the traders could use the information in real time. The main issue when making such a model is to keep it dynamic without crashing Excel or busting the processors due to the large sample size and the long formulas. The model required data on interest rate swaps for a basket of currencies and their respective correlation and spreads. We also computed a butterfly strategy for swaps in three different currencies. At this point, we basically feel like financial engineers.
We were also fortunate enough to borrow the desks from a couple of sun seeking traders, which gave us the opportunity to continuously leech knowledge and feedback throughout the week.
Despite only working on this project for five days, we managed to create a model which Lars described as:
“Definitely something that I can use”.
And that is probably the best feedback you can get as an intern.
Are you up for a challenge?
On Monday we received an e-mail including a meeting invite and the mysterious text: “I hope you are up for a challenge!” We were intrigued, and to be honest, a bit scared as we understood that we were going to be tested in some way. We were invited in pairs, and 15 minutes prior to our meeting, we got to know that our argumentation skills were going to be tested.
We were informed that 15 minutes later, we would have to argue against each other regarding the development of the Oslo housing market. Additionally, we were informed that Jan Erik Nilsen, Head of Fixed Income Sales – also known in-house as some kind of Yoda of argumentation techniques – was attending the meeting. We immediately identified the challenge as a standard prisoner’s dilemma case, where cooperation in the preparation phase would yield better results than safeguarding our prior knowledge.
The real challenge arose half-way during our meeting, where we were asked to switch stances, and we had to argue against many of the same arguments we came up with during the first part. All in all, it was a fun and educational experience, and it taught us to take ownership of our own arguments.
Challenged – and unbeatable
Every Tuesday we gather for floorball to clear our minds and cultivate the competitive spirit. Once again, the interns proved victorious – but it came at a cost.
Summer Academy with SP & pizza
On Thursday we attended the fourth Summer Academy session, where Sales Manager Jakob Råum and Senior Analyst Lasse G. Sabel gave us a brief introduction to structured products (SP) as well as insight into how the investment advisors work here at Nordea Markets. After the lectures we had pizza and got to challenge our vocabulary by playing a few games of Alias. Once again, we had great fun during the summer academy, and we are very much looking forward to the next session. Let alone, we are eager to see what next week brings of challenges and fun!
Joachim & Henrik
If you’d like to read the previous blog posts from our six summer interns 2017 in Norway, click below:
Week 1: “We’ve met some challenges” by Anna and Niels ”
Week 2: “Some of us left with bruises …” by Mina and Magne
Week 3: “We hit back – the honor was restored …” by Henrik & Andreas