Marja Junell, Veera Valkeinen and Jasmin Majander

Fast track your career as FFP intern – Veera, Jasmin and Marja did, this is how!

03-11-2021 09:00

Meet Veera, Jasmin and Marja and hear how the FFP internship programme has been a springboard for their careers, as senior sales managers and developers within Fixed Income Sales, Scalable Sales & Concepts and Business Risk control, respectively. Learn about their career advancements and get valuable tips to succeed.

If you’re considering applying for a position as Future Finance Professional (FFP), (application periode for the FFP programme 2022 ends 10th Nov.), this blog might come in handy. Although it’s also relevant for non-applicants, juniors and seniors, as the three former FFPs share insights to work life, the culture and the vast career opportunities at Nordea Markets, LC&I.

They also tell about requirements, profile attributes and give advice on what to focus on in an application and interview process for a FFP position – while encouraging more females to apply for a FFP position or any job at Nordea.

Now, let’s meet Marja, Veera and Jasmin.

Marja Junell (31) – M.Sc. (Finance), Senior Sales Manager in Fixed Income Sales, Finland, Nordea Markets – in charge of fixed income business towards Asian clientele, and also covers some UK/US real money and hedge fund clients.

I started as FFP intern in 2016, working in the international fixed income sales team. After the summer, I worked half a year in the economic research team before returning to fixed income sales. Since then, I have mainly focused on building Nordea’s fixed income business in Japan. I did an exchange in Japan during high school and speak Japanese, so it’s been great to be able to use that skill in my work.

Heading onwards, as of 2022, I will move to Copenhagen to work at the office there. I look forward to sitting closer to trading – seated on the biggest trading floor in the Nordics – and to working together with many other colleagues.

I feel comfortable that Nordea will support me

During the four years I’ve worked here now, I’ve learned so much, and developed both professionally and personally. At Markets, if one is willing to take on responsibility, the managers support that, in my experience. When working with Asian customer, I mainly traded bonds, but when I asked to get more experience on derivatives, I was given the opportunity to also cover clients from the UK/US region. My move to Copenhagen is yet another opportunity for me to learn more and develop. In general, I think moving between different teams and business areas is supported by the managers, so if I want to try something new, I ask for it. I feel comfortable that Nordea will support me.

Valued features

To make the most out of your job, and the many career opportunities here, being pro-active and having the courage to take on the responsibility to keep the business running is important. During summer there can be some quieter times, and those are good opportunities for you to learn from people in different teams, and expand your understanding of the financial markets. Being pro-active, curious and willing to learn are key features to succeed. Go for it!

Interested in a career at Nordea Markets LC&I?

Nordea Markets LC&I (Large Corporates & Institutions) is the leading international capital operator and investment banking partner in the Nordic region. Let some of our student interns, graduates as well as experienced professionals explain it to you; how it works, what we do, and about the many career opportunities we can offer you.

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Veera Valkeinen (27) – M.Sc.  (Accounting), Sales Manager at Scalable Sales & Concepts, Nordea Markets.

I started my journey at Nordea Markets in 2018, when I joined the FFP program. My team at the time focused on product, tool and process development. It was a great team since I immediately got pulled into several projects. I then moved more towards a sales role and learned valuable lessons about sales management. Today my role as sales manager at Scalable Sales & Concepts is a bit of a hybrid between sales manager and a business developer. Our team drives one-to-many sales and development of standard embedded interest rate hedging products to the wide range of retail customers from households to SMEs.

The key to career advancement

My role has changed from the early days as assistant analyst moving on to leading my own development projects, while maintaining my sales manager responsibilities. I think in general, in Markets, if you express willingness to go for a job rotation or change units, managers are very supportive. Especially if you are in a more junior role, it is definitely encouraged. I feel that my leader has been very receptive to my ideas and suggestions on how to develop my areas of expertise, as well as further educating our team as a whole. I think the key to growing and developing your career is to be proactive and keep an open mind for new possibilities.

Having fun with top players – attracting people with diverse backgrounds

I love creating new things; seeing the impact of my work, whether it is fixing a minor bug or developing a whole new product offering – creating value for our end-users is key. Interacting with our advisors and bringing them along to the development process by collecting feedback and ideas is a vital part of my work. I also really like the people working in Nordea Markets. We have our fun and don’t take ourselves too seriously – still, everyone is a top player in their field and such professionals.

Diverse profiles and skills

In terms of diversity, I think, historically Markets (and finance in general), have been seen as a stereotypically more masculine working environment –  but it’s getting better. Today, there are more and more females, also in senior and management positions, which I think is very important for newcomers to find more versatile role models – and it’s also good for business. In my opinion, diversity is more than gender, and I would recommend students from all different majors (not just finance) and backgrounds to apply for an internship or job at Nordea Markets.

Be true to yourself

As for applying, I advise students to play for their strengths and emphasize the things you’re interested in, be it analytical problem solving, coding, trading or customer relations. When you are being true to yourself, we can find the best team for you – it’s a win for everyone.

Jasmin Majander (26) – M.Sc. (Strategic Finance), Business Risk Manager in Business Risk Control, LC&I

I started at Nordea in 2017 as intern in Daily Banking. Since then I have worked at Nordea’s Deposits Operations doing implementation, migration and testing tasks and in Factoring Customer Services at Nordea Finance handling factoring services, ledgers and limits.

In 2020, I got into the Future Finance Professional (FFP) trainee programme and started in Business Risk Control (BRC) team. During the traineeship, I performed daily and monthly controlling tasks and took part in the team’s development projects.

After the traineeship, I stayed on in BRC where I’ve worked as business risk manager since October 2020, handling very versatile tasks including coding of controls with Python, using SQL to dive deeper into data, and using PowerBI to make data analysis. I also design, implement, test and develop controls. In addition, I am responsible for our team’s FFP trainees, and take part in the recruitment and onboarding processes of FFPs.

Good opportunities and a great vibe

I really like my team. We have a 50/50 gender balance, and come from five different nationalities. Our team sits mainly in Copenhagen, but we also have two seats at the trading floor in Helsinki. There is a positive vibe in our team, and we listen to everyone’s perspectives and give room to each other’s different personalities – and I enjoy learning new things every day. I have the freedom to experiment on new ways of working and trying to find the best designs for controls. Also, I can freely plan my days and prioritize my tasks.

Career path onwards and upwards

For me, it is important to have the opportunity to develop my skills continuously, and get new challenges. In my experience, you’re encouraged to develop yourself and your competences here. Internal hiring processes are being developed all the time and Nordea provides good opportunities for career growth. Looking back at my career here, I think it’s taken a natural course onwards and upwards.

Try a bit of soul searching

If you’re considering applying for the FFP programme, my advice is to do some soul searching to understand if you think you’d prefer to do e.g. sales tasks and customer service, or if you perhaps lean more towards data analysis and coding tasks . When you apply to positions and teams that best fit your personality, you are likely to be most successful. Follow your interest, your passion and go for it! You can do it.

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