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Karolin, Analyst: “My first year in FX Sales – really fun and full of excitement, come join”

05-10-2022 10:07

“I couldn’t have wished for a better place to start to my career”. Meet Karolin, FX Sales analyst, and hear how working at Nordea Markets exceeds her expectations, and why Karolin gets a kick out of going to work every day – alongside “very talented and helpful colleagues”. It could be you!

By Karolin Lindholm (26)

I graduated with a M.Sc. in Business Administration from Linköping University in the summer 2021. During my years of study, I worked part-time in internships at Klarna, EY and Swedbank, respectively. Autumn 2021, I started my first full-time job in Nordea Markets FX Sales in Stockholm.

Markets seemed like a perfect fit for me - and it is

I applied for a position at Nordea Markets mainly because I was curious about what it was like to work in the unique and high-paced environment of a trading floor. It was a great chance to both deepen my knowledge within the financial markets, as well as getting to build relationships with the bank’s corporate customers. The combination of these two seemed like a perfect fit for me, since I was looking for a job where I both got to make use of both my analytical and social skills.

Joining one of the biggest banks in the Nordics also came with the great opportunity of learning more about banking and finance in general, and appeared like an ideal place to kickstart my career. The reason I applied for a job in the FX department was mostly because of my previous part-time student job at Swedbank’s FX Back Office. It was my first encounter with the world of FX, and it made me aware of the job possibilities in this field. The job add for the FX Sales position at Nordea Markets appeared on my LinkedIn search, and it just sounded too good, to not apply! So I did.

Bonus info: Before applying for the position in Nordea Markets FX Sales, I actually read about the various career opportunities at Nordea Markets, here on the Markets LC&I career blog, and the articles made me even more curious about working at Nordea Markets.

Connecting the dots is really fun and challenging

The best thing about working within FX Sales, are the contrasts this job brings. I constantly need to be up to speed about what’s happening around the world; everything from important central bank decisions, ongoing international conflicts, political decisions, inflation numbers to oil, gas  prices etc. I really enjoy the macroeconomic perspective the job gives me, all the while it challenges me to be well-informed about what is happening in the world, at all times.

My job also includes helping our Swedish corporate customers handling their foreign exchange risks. So, I meet and interact with a lot of different people in various positions, and from different industries, which requires I have to be able to relate and adapt and to their specific situation quickly, to be able to help them. I really enjoy connecting the happenings around the globe to the development of the exchange rates, to give our customers the best service possible about currency risks. It’s really fun and challenging.

A typical day at work fly by like a blink of an eye

A typical day at work for me starts at 8:00, where we kick-off the day with morning meetings where the macro events of the previous day are being summarized, and we discuss what happenings to expect during the day. I usually take some notes, to be able to provide the customers with the same information. The day typically continues with the preparation of meeting presentations of both internal and external meetings. I enjoy the customer meetings, where we beforehand analyse the customer’s FX risks, and then present them the solutions on how to handle these.

Also, we answer a lot of phone calls from customers who want to execute trades or talk about market events in general. Again, the mix of both longer meetings and fast executions, adds some more excitement and contrasts to the days. Around noon, we go and grab some lunch which we usually eat at the office. Luckily, many colleagues have the same interest for food as me, which always makes the pre-lunch discussions interesting 😉. Not to mention enjoying the traditional Swedish "fika" (coffee) break and chat with colleagues, like here with Malin, Analyst in Derivatives Coverage.

“Fika” time! Enjoying a coffee chat with Malin Carlsson, Analyst in Markets Derivatives Coverage, Sweden.

In general, it feels like the working days fly by with a blink of an eye, and I really enjoy that some days are really hectic which requires you to prioritize the tasks thoughtfully. A lot of things happen ad-hoc and are linked to what is going on in the market, which can make it hard to plan every minute of the day in advance. And I think it’s exactly these spontaneous things that makes no day like the other, which I really appreciate.

The best things about my job? My colleagues, great team spirit, my job

After 12 months here, my expectations about working in Markets have been exceeded. I have been given a lot of responsibility from day one, and people are always very willing to help. My colleagues are all very talented, and when I started here, it really impressed me – and still does – how excited everyone are to share their knowledge, and encourage me to continuing being curios and not afraid of asking questions. I couldn’t have wished for a better place to start to my career – I’ve felt very included in the team from day one. Today, one year later, it feels like my team is kind of like family.

Although it is an individual job where everyone is taking care of their own customers, my colleagues and I discuss everything from trade ideas, execution strategies, hedging methods and customer relationships with each other. This provides a great collaborative spirit where everyone is eager to learn from each other and everyone wants to meet the goals as a group.

Another thing that makes me happy to go to work every day, is the feeling of constantly learning new things. This job inspires me to stay well-informed and generally educated about what’s going on in the world. It’s paramount for me to stay up to speed to provide our customers with the best service – especially in these highly unpredictable and unprecedented turbulent times.

My best advice – just go for it

If you're curious about pursuing a career in finance, my best advice is to “go for it”. For those who might be concerned about not “fitting in”, and perhaps is worried about not having the “right” education, the best grades, the greatest self-confidence or ponder about gender balance, my advice is to never let any of these concerns give you second thoughts. As long as you are dedicated, eager to learn, show dedication and keep a humble spirit, you’re halfway there. Just go for it! I did, and as mentioned, I couldn’t have wished for a better place to kick-start my career. It could be you!

Fun fact – Searching for action, and found it

Growing up in the Swedish mountains, alpine skiing has always been close to my heart. I cannot count the days spent on the slopes all around north of Sweden (and brrr – it could be really freezing!), and the feeling of adrenaline when throwing yourself off a steep hill, will forever be one of my favourite feelings. I guess this action is something I’ve been searching for since quitting skiing on a professional level, and a job in Markets comes pretty close to the excitement 😉.

/ Karolin

The application periode to join our Markets LC&I Graduate programme 2023-2025 ended on 31st October 2022. We're pleased to having received so many qualified applications - and look forward to welcoming a new group of talents to join our programme in 2023.

We're always on the look-out for talents, so stay tuned. Meanwhile check out our Meet our Talents blog for insight and inspiration - perhaps have a look at the blog by Malin Carlsson (next to Karolin on the photos above), it's one in the series, “Women in Finance”, where another one of Karolin's colleagues is also featured; Caroline Kihlgren, a former graduate and now Associate at Markets FX/MM Sales. 

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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