We’ve been facing uncertain times due to the coronavirus pandemic, and many of us are working from home, adapting to a new reality, forming new daily routines. Three months into the lock-down, we believe its time to revisit our graduate profile series to catch up with some of the graduates and see how they are handling the extraordinary situation. In this article you get to meet Viktoria Voskressenskaia (23), who joined us in the summer 2019 and works as a graduate in ESG research in Stockholm. Tag along to read her inspirational story and hear about her experiences and aspirations.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – background, hobbies …
I have a Master’s degree in Business and Economics, from Linköping University and graduated in June 2019. I have previous experience in the insurance sector, where I worked part time, with customer service and insurance advisory. This is an experience I know Nordea values, since the customer is always our priority.
I was head of Corporate Relations in a student committee at Linköping University, organising student/job fairs. Here I experienced good relationships and teamwork, which we also value at Nordea, as Collaboration is one of our four values.
When not working – and in the pre-corona time before the social distancing – you will probably find me in a track and field stadium, or in a nice bar with great friends or colleagues. I used to be a track and field athlete before I started working full time, and I’m trying to keep up with the running as much as I can. Other than that, I try to get together with friends as much as possible – and I look forward to get back to ‘normal’ and see them all again.
What were your expectations of the graduate program?
I was really nervous at my first day at work, because of my expectations of how I thought it would be to work in a bank and in a position like mine. I expected difficult tasks that would require me to stay late nights to finish. But for me, it wasn’t like that at all. I had a smooth start with tasks that I could handle, and the best of all was my supporting colleagues. I was hoping that I would enjoy each day at work when I searched for my first job and I really do.
I’m not lying or exaggerating when I say that I missed my job during the Christmas holidays.
One important aspect – and one of the reasons why I enjoy my work so much – is my manager, who has been supportive and welcoming from day one, and helped me with my well-being at work and also with my job rotations. My manager’s great support makes a huge difference.
Speaking of rotations, what have you been working with so far?
I started to work with a team in Markets called Strategy & Implementation. The team is a supportive function to Markets when it comes to change management and implementation of new strategies, regulatory frameworks or other directions that comes from the top management.
The team consists of project managers and I started as support, assisting them, to learn. I worked with different projects such as regulatory implementation, making Powerpoint presentations for top managers but also implementation of sustainability at Markets. It was when I started to work with sustainability, I realised that I wanted to dive deeper into that subject, and I therefore contacted my manager to ask for opportunities for me as a Graduate to work with the sustainability subject.
It took less than one week, and then I started to work 50% with ESG Research. I enjoyed it very much, and I therefore decided to work with it full time this year. In the beginning I also got the opportunity to work at various desks at the trading floor to see if there was anything I wanted to try later. Another great thing is that the graduate year hasn’t ended yet, which means I still have time to try something else, if I wish to.
I’m really happy to have found my place in Nordea so quickly – and got the opportunity to choose the area that interests me the most.
How is the collaboration and support in your unit?
I work closely with one senior ESG analyst, and in my unit we try to collaborate with the equity and strategy/quant analysts as well, which is Equity Research. My senior colleague supports me a lot and I get to learn new things every day. He is also the one that delegates my projects and various tasks. I would say that I get very good support. I’m never afraid of asking questions when something is unclear or if there is something I don’t understand. ‘
Another exciting part of my work, is that the area is still quite new. Our team has only existed for one year and a half and I can see how the interest from our customers is growing which makes me very excited for the future!
In which way has the coronavirus outbreak affected your daily work?
Since the coronavirus outbreak, I have been working from home. In the beginning I struggled much with keeping routines and getting things done. When I’m at the office it’s easier to keep a more focused productivity as I keep in mind I want to get home at a decent time. After some time though, and with tips from colleagues, I changed strategies. I started to wake up at the same time as I used to when I had to meet up at the office, and I started the day by taking a 30 minutes walk while listening to the news. This worked really well for me and increased my productivity.
Otherwise, I have been positively surprised of how well the online communication and meetings have worked. I know now that it’s possible to work from home, but I miss my colleagues. The worst part of the pandemic has definitely been the social part, not meeting people, colleageus and clients.
I really hope this will be over soon, so I can return to having lunches with my colleagues, and meet clients in real life again.
Before the outbreak, what’s a normal day at the office for you – any work-life balance?
My day starts at 7.30 am with a morning meeting together with Equity Research and Equity Sales. During these meetings we get updated on the latest equity happenings, which can be used in our analysis. When we have published a report, we do an update on our findings. Then, we start to work. What we do variates quite a lot. At the moment, I am building an Excel model that is comparing properties’ different physical risks and I do stress tests of the companies with scenarios that can affect them negatively, such as an increased carbon price for instance.
We also hold presentations to investors or companies and participate on sustainable finance events. Which is really fun!
Do you join the Nordea graduate events?
I have attended nearly all of the graduate events. At the first boot camp in Helsinki, we got acquainted with the graduate group, and got to know each other pretty well with a lot of fun activities and workshops. I have participated in various workshops – the most recent one was about facilitation skills, which was very interesting and useful. We usually arrange an after-work-get-together after these workshops which is very nice. Before the coronavirus outbreak, I attended the latest Graduate Boot camp in Copenhagen as well, which was great fun!
What’s your professional goal and what are you looking forward to in 2020?
I’m sure my goals will change over time, but my 2020 goal is to grow as an ESG analyst. I’m still very new in my role, hence there is room for development and improvement in what I have delivered so far. So, my goal can only be achieved through hands-on experience. I’m looking forward to growing as an ESG analyst, but also in my way of thinking and solving problems – to become more confident in my role, to better deliver our investment recommendations to customers.
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