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The first two years

Lucy Mair speaks to three programme managers at Nomura about the Global Markets Graduate Program, and hears how an analyst on the scheme is getting on
Investment banking
Doing the job

Here, Co-heads of the Global Markets Analyst/Associate Program at Nomura, Sharon Bertie and Alison Devey, and Graduate Development Manager, Louise Clark, discuss how the programme helps new joiners settle into their roles at the bank

What happens in the Global Markets division?

SB: At Nomura, working in Global Markets means dealing with the financial markets where various financial products are bought and sold. Global Markets is divided into two divisions, Equities and Fixed Income, which have four separate functions: Sales, Trading, Research and Structuring. These divisions are organised into different product areas and businesses, from foreign exchange currencies and bonds to cash and derivatives, so it's a vast and broad global business.

How is the graduate programme structured?

LC: We recruit graduates onto our two-year Global Markets programme, during which time they'll be either be an analyst or associate within one of the four functions. The programme begins with four weeks of intensive training, followed by two years of continual development. We provide a strong framework of support, but graduates also have to be proactive and prepared to drive their own careers forward.

Do students need to have done an internship to get a place on the graduate programme?

AD: We're open to all graduates and we don't necessarily require students to have done an internship, or to hold finance-related degrees. That said, the graduate market is very competitive, so it's definitely a plus if a candidate has already done an internship - either with Nomura, or at another global investment bank.

*SB: *I'd add that internships are an important part of Nomura's strategy for bringing junior talent into the firm. All is not lost if you haven't done an internship, but students focused on entering a career in investment banking should make getting an internship place their priority. If you've already completed an internship at Nomura, you may have the option of being pre-placed on a specific desk in Global Markets.

What training do graduates receive in the first four weeks of the programme?

LC: In the first four weeks, EMEA graduates join others from Asia and the US on the global training programme held in London. The aim of this training is to provide everyone with a good knowledge base for when they start on their desks. The programme is a combination of technical and soft skills training, with trading simulations, case studies and group presentations forming a substantial part of the training.

A key focus of the training programme is learning more about Nomura's global business and speakers from the business are integrated into the schedule to help with this. We encourage the participants to use the four-week period to get to know each other and also to make the most of opportunities to build relationships with both junior and senior employees at networking sessions.

This year we incorporated a community challenge into the initial training, demonstrating the firm's commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This specific challenge involved some landscaping work at a park in our local community in London and there are many more initiatives people can get involved in at the firm, from helping children with reading at a local school, to gardening at a nearby nature reserve.

Apart from training, how else does Nomura support new joiners as they settle into the firm?

SB: We've established an initiative called the First 100 Days. Research shows that the first three months are critical to people's long-term success in an organisation. We guide analysts and associates through the transition from full-time academia to a fast-paced corporate environment by organising networking events, assigning individuals with a buddy to help them navigate the firm and answer any questions they might have. Additionally they have access to a programme manager, who's there to offer advice, guidance, and support.

How does the graduate programme continue during the two years?

*LC: *One initiative that we launched recently is a global speaker series. These sessions are broadcast to all of the analyst and associate classes in EMEA, Asia and the US. The objective of this series is to improve juniors' understanding of the firm's values and culture, in addition to deepening their knowledge of certain product areas. A further element of continuing development is self-directed e-learning. Individuals are provided with tailored learning paths and required to complete a selection of modules, ranging from broad topics that are applicable to everyone in Global Markets, to more specific product and function-related courses.

In the second year we organise a two-day regional development programme, which includes sessions focused on improving communication and leadership skills. There is a lot of group work involved and also opportunities for participants to network within their own peer group and with senior management. The purpose of this programme is to help juniors to understand how to manage pressure and improve resiliency for long term success as well as reflect on their careers to date and to think about how to progress to the next level.

What happens at the end of the two-year graduate programme?

SB: After two years, members of the analyst class should be eligible for promotion to associate, and with that comes a big step up in terms of responsibility. During the graduate programme we give both analysts and associates a lot of touch points to help them develop and manage their roles. We provide them with the tools to drive their careers forward. Many of the managing directors who are heading desks now were brought in through our graduate programme, so it's a tried and tested model. People who are focused on success will gain responsibility quickly at Nomura because we are a growing business with global opportunities.

Why do you think students should consider applying for the Global Markets Graduate Program at Nomura?

AD: When you're choosing a career, the environment that you'll be working in, the opportunities that will be available to you and the flexibility of the programme you join are just as important as the more obvious things like job function, salary, company brand and so on. The environment is very inclusive and I think it dispels a lot of myths about the aggressive culture of investment banking.

SB: I agree with Alison. I think the people here are very entrepreneurial and the hierarchy is not as entrenched as elsewhere so, if you prove yourself, then you can move quickly up the career ladder.

LC: I'd add that the graduate programme at Nomura is very hands-on and it provides a good combination of working on the desk, belonging to a team, and on some level contributing to the bank's revenue generation. You also benefit from a structured development programme, opportunities for learning, and a global support network.

Sarah Mobbs is a second year analyst in Sales at Nomura. Here she describes how she's finding the graduate programme at the bank

Idid an internship at Nomura before my penultimate year of university, which involved two rotations in trading and sales. I fell in love with sales immediately because I really enjoy building relationships and working directly with clients and I also got on well with the sales team. Doing the internship was a huge advantage because when I came back to Nomura, I rejoined the same team where I already knew everyone, so it felt like I was a step ahead.

My initial training involved a two week-long, general course completed by all graduates starting roles within Global Markets. We were then split into groups for a further two weeks of product-specific training. It was a very intense programme but I learnt a lot, not only about the products I'd be working with, but also about the other products traded on the floor. The training programme teaches you all the mathematical knowledge you need, so it really doesn't matter if you haven't studied a numerate subject at university.

The first four weeks also provided a great opportunity to get to know people on the graduate programme from across the world. If a client asks me for a Japanese bond price now, I'll remember the person I met on the training programme who's working on the bond desk in Tokyo and I can easily send him a quick message to get the information I need, so in that sense it was incredibly useful.

After the first four weeks of training I expected to be dropped in at the deep end, but more than a year later I'm still getting some really useful support. Recently, we had a seminar about how to cope under pressure, and we've also had some interesting speaker events. The first one was called "Intern to MD", about the career progression of someone who joined Nomura as an intern and who's now climbed the ladder to be a managing director. We we also have client presentations, which provide a valuable insight into how our clients think. The subjects of the presentations aren't always directly applicable to my day-to-day job, but they help to build my knowledge about the different desks and roles available within the bank.

I was also assigned a buddy at the beginning of the programme and it was good to be able to speak to someone who had done it all recently, and who I could ask those general questions that were not product related. I enjoy the networking events and I really value the opportunity to be able to have lunch or dinner with senior people who I wouldn't normally brush shoulders with, or have the chance to talk to.

When I started on my desk, I spent the first few weeks reading and trying to get up to speed with the basics of my product. Then I started executing trades, which was very nerve-racking and stressful to begin with! But I think I settled in quite easily and quickly and I've come a long way in the past year. Even if you're not sitting down with a book, you learn new things every day.