By Jakob Malm
Second time the charme
After having missed out on the last step in 2017, 2018 was my year! I had carefully rewritten and updated my resume, and was now more than ever ready to apply for the summer back-up coverage position in New York. But let’s back up a little and take it from the start. Who am I and what is a summer back-up position?
The opportunity abroad explained
My name is Jakob Malm, and as I am writing this I have been working at the FXMM desk at Nordea Markets for three years. Currently in Stockholm but originally in Gothenburg. Anyhow, the internship for the international units are offered by New York and Singapore.
You get six weeks of backing up the international operations which is a mutually beneficial. The colleagues at the International Units can get some well-deserved vacation and you get to experience and learn how the international Nordea Markets operations work. This was what appealed to me. Getting to know new challenges, new colleagues and of course a new city. And what an experience.
Let me take you through a typical day
The Nordea Markets operation in New York is fairly small compared to the other Scandinavian branches. 4 Sales, 4 Trades and 3 Treasury constitutes what today is Nordea Markets New York. The operation takes over from Scandinavia at around 5 pm CPH time where it covers both local clients in America but also overnight clients (Scandinavian clients who are being served after European closing hours).
The day starts around 7 am and like most days in Scandinavia, these first morning hours is when you update yourself of what has happened in the other time zones. In New York, these are also the most hectic hours. The day continues with grabbing a lunch to go at some of the great places (usually crowded with other banking people recognized by their trading vests) around mid-town where the office is located. Europe is closed during the afternoon so now you focus more on the US data and the local clients are more active at these hours. The day ends at 6 pm when the books and positions are left to Asian trading hours in Singapore.
Smaller team, bigger challenges
During the summer months the tempo, just like in Scandinavia, goes down. But make no mistake – you need to be on your toes all the time. Just after having arrived 6 days earlier, I traded by far the largest transaction I have been part of, a risk price in an FX forward for the equivalent of around 500MEUR. This is just one example of the variations of transactions you encounter. One day there is not too much going on and the other you handle massive M&A related deals.
During the days where there is less going on it is highly appreciated if you can attribute with inputs, thoughts and ideas on what could be done to enhance the operation even more. I spend quite a lot of time in overlooking follow-up tools and other technical issues (at least for as far as my knowledge goes) and also worked quite a bit on Risk Advisory related tools and presentations.
The greatest development for me
As said, the operation is smaller than the ones in Scandinavia. And given that, there are fewer support functions compared to back home where you need to be involved in more steps in the process. This means that you get a way better overall understanding. You are on a completely different level involved with CRUs (Client Relationship Units) in discussing specific client cases, with back office in solving settlement issues, and learn what and how and when we can pay certain things to certain countries and counter parties.
Finally, and maybe the greatest development for me was that you sit in a quite small dealing room together with both trading and treasury which makes you a part of the everyday dialogue of those areas. This gave me knowledge that I’m sure I would otherwise not have obtained.
Last thing, how is New York?
Outside of work deserves its own blog post but I try to fit it in. 6 weeks is in many ways a perfect amount of time to spend in New York. Both because it is a short enough period for you to have a lot of energy to do things and explore the city whilst it is a long enough period for you to feel like living in the city. Some nights after work you take the subway 1.5 hours out in Brooklyn to eat a well renowned pizza at some hipster place while other nights you are satisfied with eating a burger at home watching Netflix.
Looking back, I’m amazed of what we had time to do: Road trips to Washington and Annapolis, boat rides and crab eating in Maryland, concerts, runs in Central Park, countless after works and club nights, museums both conventional and unconventional New York brunches, city escapes to beaches and islands and massive amounts of superb foods in all parts of New York. All this and much more in combination with a very stimulating work place and some of the kindest most competent colleagues I have had the pleasure to work with.
I encourage EVERYONE who has some experience from working with FXMM to apply for the internship, no matter if your experience is long or short. I’m sure there is a lot to learn for anyone interested in expanding their knowledge and understanding.
Last but not least I would like to thank Anders, Jon, Rune, Carl-Axel, Stefan, Peter, John, Marcus, Owen, Jim and Collin for welcoming me as the summer intern in New York 2018. It was truly a blast.
All the best
As Jakob describes, a summer intern position opens every year in New York and Singapore. If you cannot wait for the next opening to work with tasks similar to Jakob’s then look for vacant positions on nordea.com.
And stay updated on the career prospects at Nordea Markets by tuning in to the regular career blogs.