2# Women’s Finance Insight Programme – “My dreams and ambitions have grown”

20-04-2022 14:36

At a glance, this blog may seem to be relevant for women only! Actually, it’s relevant for any student interested in finance, looking for insight and eager to learn more about finance – and Nordea Investment Banking & Equities, LC&I (Large Corporates & Institutions).

For new readers, this is the second blog in a series about our cross Nordic Nordea Women’s Finance Insight Programme 2022 for bachelor and master students. During six sessions, the participants get insight to the dynamics of the capital markets, and learn about bonds, equities, IPOs, M&A and much more. We follow four of the 48 participants, and hear their impressions and reflections of the sessions; a mix of theoretical and hands-on experiences, cracking and presenting business cases and analyses. Now, half-way through the programme, we catch up with Julie, Ormia, Elise and Essie.

Julie Rieland Hansen, CBS, Denmark

What have you been doing in the last sessions?

So far, three out of six sessions have been completed, and all of them have been very interesting. I have been introduced to Debt Capital Markets (DCM), Sustainable Finance Advisory, Debt Solutions & Loans (DSL), and Debt Syndicate. And, of course, Nordea's Diversity & Inclusion team. During the sessions, each unit has presented their business area, and what a day in their position looks like. After each presentation, we conclude with case training, making the sessions both theoretical and practical.

Any eye-openers? Impressed with Nordea’s ESG approach

It has been enriching to see how Nordea actively works with the financial and economic concepts, I learn at university. I have learned how Nordea calculates, assesses, and advises within, e.g., bonds, credit ratings, capital structures, and distribution and marketing of debt. In addition, how to advise in relation to present and forecasted market trends.

One eye-opener, which I am very positive about, is how focused and dedicated Nordea is within its ESG implementations. I knew that ESG was an important part of Nordea, but I am impressed with Nordea's approach and their skillset. It goes across all departments, and in everything they do, even though ESG is a relatively new and rapidly changing market area.

Likewise, it has been incredibly insightful to see real-world cases the various units work with. For example, we worked with a case which the Debt Syndicate team had worked on earlier in the week.

I knew Nordea would provide a unique insight into their business, but I am thrilled that it has been so close to reality.

Most interesting - most challenging? Case training

All units have captured my interest in their own way. But if I had to point out something that has been particularly interesting, it is how the ESG across all units plays a role in financing due to its relatively new but important inputs, e.g., the valuation and pricing of bonds. The most challenging has probably been the case training, meant in a positive way. I enjoy putting my knowledge to the test when trying to solve the cases.

Has your view about a career in finance changed? Ambitions have only grown

I have been considering a career in investment banking for a long time, but I have doubted whether I would fit into that world. With this program, my ambitions and dreams have only grown, for which I can thank Nordea. I thus want to improve my skills in the various parts of finance, for which I will now actively seek role models and knowledge outside the university.

With this program, my ambitions and dreams have only grown, for which I can thank Nordea.

What do you look forward to in the next sessions?

I will be introduced to Nordea's Corporate Finance, Equity Capital Market (ECM), and Equity Sales & Equity Research units. I look forward to more challenging and practical case training and more networking with Nordea employees and the other participants.

Ormia Abdullah, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

What have you been doing? Many good discussions

I've met with the teams of Equity Research, Sustainable Finance Advisory, Leveraged Finance and DCM and been introduced to what the teams are working with. We've also done some practical tasks – for instance we’ve done some quick analyses on companies and evaluated different approaches of the tasks, varying from how each unit is working. We have, of course, also had many good discussions and exchanged thoughts and ideas.

Any learnings - eye openers? How to buy and sell bonds, and much more

I've definitely learned a lot in the last few sessions, especially how to approach a task depending on the goal and the outlook of it. I’ve also gained technical learnings e.g. how to buy and sell bonds. Lots of focus have also been on the areas which are important to explore when doing an environmental, social and corporate governance analysis of a company, and much, much more. It has been a real eye opener on how many different units there are, and how differently you can work with finance and banking.

Group presentation of business case.

The most interesting - most challenging? ESG analyses

The most interesting part has been pricing of options and how to issue bonds. I have done some mathematical calculations of these topics in my schoolwork, but how you go about it practically, is quite different to how you approach it in real life. One of the more challenging areas has been ESG analyses. I've not done anything similar before, but it was super interesting to learn about, as well as the growing importance of those analyses in the world today.

What do you look forward to in the next sessions?

In groups of three, we were assigned a task to perform an analysis on a newly listed company and evaluate it We'll present the case provided at session two, Equity Research and ESG. It will be very interesting to see what the professionals think of our conclusion, and how they would perform their evaluation of the given company.

Elise Naalsund, NHH, Norway

Which units have you met?

We had sessions with Equity Sales & Research, Sustainable Finance Advisory, and Corporate Finance and ECM. The different units have presented their workday, what they do in their position, and we have had walkthrough from real cases.

The most interesting - most challenging? Keeping track

I think it’s been interesting to see how engaged the participants, and the representatives from Nordea are. The most challenging part is keeping track of all the different units, and what they do, and there are many new terminologies which I haven’t heard off before. 

Have your view about a career in finance changed? Yes

Yes, finance has exceeded my expectations. The sessions have given me a great insight into the many different career opportunities there are here.

Previously, I have always thought of finance as just a one-sided job that is quite demanding. However, through this program, I have learned that finance is more than that, and the representatives from Nordea are doing a great job of making finance attractive.

What do you look forward to in the next sessions?

In the next session, among other things, we will learn more about the Debt-side of Finance. This is an area where I do not know much. So, it will be interesting to see how this unit work with trading debt securities.

Essi Helminen, Aalto University, Finland

What have you been doing?

We’ve met Corporate Finance and ECM, Debt-side and Leveraged Finance, as well as Equity Sales & Equity Research. We have learned the key functions of these units, and got to hear what analysts really do, and looked at various real-life cases. The sessions have also provided a relaxed environment to ask anything from Nordea’s professionals.

Any learnings - eye openers? The true scope of investment banking activities

It has been eye-opening to discover the true scope of investment banking activities. I find that students are most familiar with corporate finance and ECM since those kinds of transactions get a lot of media coverage. Therefore, many might mistakenly assume that investment banks only advise companies on e.g. M&A and IPOs. In fact, I have enjoyed hearing about other career paths that investment banking offers. I have especially gained new insights into leveraged finance. 

The most interesting - most challenging? Taking on practitioner’s perspective

It has been super interesting to see how concepts and methods, I have studied in theory at university, are used in practice. For example, since I am currently taking a course in valuation, it was cool to hear how Nordea assesses the value of a firm. The programme has functioned as a great starting point to shift my thinking and view on finance from a practitioner’s perspective rather than an academic perspective. This has maybe been the most challenging part as well. 

The programme has functioned as a great starting point to shift my thinking and view of finance, from a practitioner’s perspective rather than an academic perspective.

Has your view changed? Not all about numbers – it’s also a people business

My view about a career in finance has become more multifaceted. Even within a single company, such as Nordea, one does not have to commit to a specific career path. It is possible to gain expertise in different functions of the bank as the range of services offered is extremely broad. The programme has highlighted that banking is not all about analytical skills and crunching numbers, it is also a people business and helps one develop strong business acumen.  

What do you look forward to in the next sessions? Transition to green banking

I look forward to expanding my knowledge of sustainable finance. We already touched upon this during the debt-side session and discussed how the issuance of green bonds has increased dramatically in recent years. It will be fascinating to hear how the transition to green banking has affected the industry, and Nordea’s business practices in detail.  

This is the second blog in the Nordea Women’s Finance Insight 2022 series – read the first blog here. Keep an eye out for the upcoming and final blog from Julie, Ormia, Elise and Essie, reflecting on the six week long crash course. Meanwhile, have a look at our series, "Women in Finance".

Nordea Women’s Finance Insight Programme

The aim with the programme is to offer a platform for education, mentoring and networking among female students to increase awareness of career opportunities and the working environment in finance, and thereby attract more female candidates to the banking and finance industry.

The tailored programme set-up is quite similar in all four countries, there are however some local variations in terms of which units within Investment Banking & Equities (IB&E) the students meet and what types of cases they get to work with. Also, the participants come from different backgrounds, education and experiences, which is why we think it’s extra interesting to get their individual perspective.

Participants of the programme will be offered a fast-track interview process to 2022 internships within Nordea Equity Research (summer) and Nordea Investment Banking (fall 2022 or spring/summer 2023)


Nordea has integrated gender balance into its sustainability targets and as a factor for executive remuneration. One of the targets is to ensure that both men and women have at least 40% representation at the top three leadership levels combined by 2025.

At Nordea, we currently have a 50/50 female-male split of the board; a one-third/two-thirds split of its top management, and a 45/55 split among people leaders.

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