Future Finance Professionals

Thinking of joining our FFP internship? Here are tips & insight to succeed

12-10-2021 09:00

Why apply to the FFP internship? What's required, and what type of tasks will I get? How does the interview process work? You can find the answers, and more in this article where a FFP recruiting manager brings insight to the FFP life, and shares tips on how to stand out, and succeed as intern with us.

We’re pleased to receive hundreds of applications every year from talented students wishing to join our FFP programme within Nordea Markets, LC&I (Large Corporates & Institutions) in Finland. As we typically welcome around 20 FFP interns to join us in the spring, it’s a tight race to get a FFP position at the buzzing trading floor or related units at HQ in Helsinki.

Now, we offer you a chance to get a head start, as Jarno Tiainen, one of the FFP recruitment managers, brings insight to the recruiting process, and various requirements all the while sharing exclusive tips on how to stand out from the crowd, easing the way to an internship where you get to learn from the best. We believe in supporting and growing talents, and in building great relationships. Furthermore, many of our (junior) employees in Finland started out as FFP interns. It could be you!

Now, let’s get some tips and tricks from Jarno.

Please introduce yourself, Jarno

Hi, I’m Jarno Tiainen. I work as Head of Derivatives Sales at Nordea Markets in Finland, and I’m also responsible for many of the FFP interviews in the recruitment process. I hold a Master’s degree in Finance and have worked at Nordea Markets for the past 12 years. Since joining Markets 12 years ago, I have been working with derivatives and hedging solutions, and during the past 7 years the focus has been on helping my team to succeed and on building Nordea’s hedging business line bigger with creating relevant value-adding solutions for our clients.

Are you a former FFP intern?

I’m actually not officially a former FFP but I would probably not be here without the FFP programme. A couple of my very good friends joined Markets as FFPs about a year before me, and for some reason, they encouraged me to apply to an open position in Markets. They even recommended me to the ones responsible for the hiring process at that time, and might have told them good things about me 😊. So, I applied and I got the job – and I have a lot to thank my friends for.

What type of work does a FFP typically do?

Our FFPs will get a lot of responsibility very early on, and for this reason the learning curve for the new talents is very steep. Naturally, the main role is to help and support colleagues in the team but our new FFP team members will very quickly start handling the same daily work as the colleagues, who are more senior and experienced.

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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What are the key attributes you look for?

It is not a prerequisite to have a background or education in finance or economics, but it is definitely a plus when an applicant shows a clear interest in the field. Overall, we try to onboard different types of personalities with diverse backgrounds, which strengthens our capabilities to respond to the ever-changing financial markets and service our customers the best way possible. So you don’t necessarily have to be top-of-class with the best grades – it is the overall impression of your personality that matters.

What distinguishes a great FFP?

I would say being a hard-working, helpful and socially skilled team player, eager to learn and make a difference, distinguish a great FFP – it’s the basic attributes we see in various FFP groups. The ones that really impress are often on top of this, and really curious about the financial markets and business trends. Being capable of creative thinking and having an entrepreneurial mindset and drive, are naturally important assets as well.

How to make the most out of the FFP programme and succeed at Nordea?

By learning as much as possible and not limited to your “own” product area. Have a holistic view on the whole banking business and our clients. We have really great people in the bank and I would suggest to utilize all the different kinds of personalities to learn new aspects about business and to grow as a person. It is also really important to enjoy the time and have fun with colleagues. I believe that we are really good at enjoying and valuing each other in the team and at celebrating our successes together.

Can the FFP internship be a door-opener to a job at Nordea?

Definitely. If I look at some of the very successful people in banking and business today, many of their success stories have started with the FFP programme. So it is not only a very good door opener to Nordea and Markets, it is also a very good starting point to success in other areas of business.

Two former FFPs having a good time at the trading floor with Jarno. From left: Roope Parmasuo, Analyst in Markets FX Sales Finland (FFP intern in 2019), Saija Savolainen, Markets Sales Manager in FX Sales Finland and Jarno Tiainen, Head of Derivatives Sal

When you are a part of the FFP programme, you take part in handling and working with complex products and markets, considering the constantly changing regulatory, technological and client behavioural outlook. In the end, we are here for our clients which means that we have to provide them with the relevant banking services they need, which cannot be as complex as the underlying markets are. So to gain experience from this and by succeeding within this framework, it gives you tools to succeed in many future challenges ahead.

Advice on the application – is a “home video” by the candidate a must?

When considering how the ways of interaction have changed recently with clients and internally within any corporate, making “digital impact” with video is here to stay. So, I assume for us this means that “home video” with a short but personal message is a must going forward.

Tip & tricks on what to expect in a FFP job interview?

Usually interviews are with two managers from our side who wants to learn the kind of person that is sitting in front of us. There may be a few questions on markets or economics but the focus is in the personality, values, your ways of working within the team, etc. We try to find interesting people and ask for concrete examples where the candidate have shown why he or she is adding value to the team. So keep these things in mind when preparing for the interview.

Lastly, why should students apply for the FFP programme?

I believe this is the best finance internship programme in Finland, and we will guarantee a meaningful jump in your NPV (get it? 😊) when you start as a FFP intern in Markets. The position is demanding but equally fun, and you can rely on full support from expert colleagues and spend time with some of the best talents in the field of finance.

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