What type of work are you exposed to as an intern in your team?
As an intern, you will often get the opportunity to work on a live deal with tasks such as financial modelling, creation of presentation material, company analysis, etc. The tasks you are exposed to as an intern can range from low to high complexity. One day, you could be busy preparing for an investor meeting, while the next day, you could be responsible for a financial model in a leveraged buy-out. Both experiences matter and are important and I personally believe that it adds some humility and understanding when climbing up the career ladder to more seniority.
What key attributes do you look for?
A genuine interest in finance. However, there seems to be a common (mis)perception that your favourite Friday evening activity, when interviewed at least, must be financial modelling or watching Bloomberg. From my view, it is important to be authentic in the way you approach work. In the end, banking is much of a relationship game, and it is therefore important to have a relaxed personality that extends to interests outside work. Another important attribute is the ability to be self-going and daring to take initiative. It is obviously always OK and good to ask questions, especially when you are new.
What distinguishes a great intern?
A great intern is humble and takes it just as serious whether the task involves preparations for a meeting or creating a slide for an investor presentation. Another important factor that distinguishes a great intern is the ability to quickly pick up on the more discreet and indirect learnings. As an example, I asked an intern for help with some slides and sent over my existing deck. When I received the updated presentation, I noticed that the intern had adapted my presentation format and some of my expressions, which I thought was very impressive.
Three recommendations on how to make the most out of an internship and succeed at Nordea?
Be proactive – both in terms of showing interest and willingness to work on new projects, as well as to how you approach a task. In a stressful project, it is highly appreciated to have a self-going and proactive intern at your side. Someone who acts before you even have the time to ask and quickly picks up on what needs to be done the next time around.
Make the most out of feedback. Listen to any comments you get on your work; no matter how small of a detail. No interns are expected to know everything, but it is important to show that you are eager to learn and quickly want to develop.
Be attentive to details. For someone to be comfortable enough to delegate a more advanced task to you, that person needs to trust you. The details always matter in banking, and the person who you assist will be responsible for the work you do, so your work will in the end be a reflection on that person’s performance.
From your experience, can an internship at Nordea be a door-opener to a job at Nordea subsequently?
Absolutely! I would say that part of the internship’s purpose is to be a door-opener. The number of interns receiving full-time offers varies and depends on e.g. the current staffing set-up in the team.