Alice Gipps

I am a first year Analyst working within the product control team at MUFG. I completed a ten-week summer internship at MUFG’s securities business in my penultimate year of study and I was lucky enough to receive an offer to join the analyst programme, which I accepted.

Why did you choose to do an internship at MUFG?
I decided to do this particular internship because the firm’s culture stood out to me – the hierarchy is relatively flat – and because of their highly-respected reputation. In addition, I chose MUFG due to their commitment to you as an individual. The tailor-made internship programme ensures both you and the company get the most out of the experience.

What attracted you to your role?

I was attracted to the rotational aspect of the internship. During the first week, we received a full week of intensive product and financial markets training. This ensured that we fully understood the basics of the products that MUFG trade, how they are priced and how the financial sector works as a whole. The internship then comprised of seven weeks in a primary rotation and two weeks in a secondary rotation. Product Control appealed to me due to its quantitative nature, including the daily analysis of profit and loss. There are also many ad hoc projects to get involved in which are all unique, enabling you to see a wide variety of activities.

What were your main duties?

During my internship, I worked on a diverse range of projects which built upon the foundations that I had learnt at university and gave me an opportunity to learn new skills and technical knowledge. Here are some of the things I worked on.

Building a macro

My first project was to build a macro which would enable a colleague to send an email by pressing a button in excel. I had never previously used VBA so initially I felt overwhelmed. I asked my buddy for help in getting started and he gave me some useful sources. I started from the basics and built up my knowledge so that I would understand how to code the macro myself. A few days later my macro was finally built! My colleague was incredibly thankful and I found it truly rewarding that she continued to use the macro daily.

Over the following weeks, I continued to build upon my VBA knowledge and built further macros, some of which are still in use today. For instance, a macro to produce excel files for each of the traders within the repo desk to display their new deal profit or loss and a macro which pulled market data from numerous sources and collated into one easy-to-read format are both still being used today.

Market commentary

Every two weeks the product control team has an international team meeting where the profit and loss for each department is discussed. At the beginning of these meetings market commentary is given, which helps to give colour on the profit and losses seen. I was tasked with producing the market commentary for each of the bi-weekly meetings. This helped to develop my knowledge and ensured that I kept up to date with market moves, for instance when the FED decided to keep rates on hold I produced commentary surrounding the announcement and the impact that this had on the markets.

In addition, I tracked the movement of key indices, e.g. the FTSE 100 and S&P 500 for equities and the iTraxx Europe and CDX for credit. However, what was more important than tracking the movements was to understand why the markets had moved in that way. After key announcements I spoke to traders to understand why the moves had occurred which helped me to provide more depth to the market commentary that I produced.

Work shadowing

An important objective of my internship was to work shadow every member of the product control team. This enabled me to gain an insight into the different businesses and products via speaking to the product controller for each desk. I learnt about the different products that the business trades and gained an understanding of what caused the different products to produce a gain or loss.

When I returned to university for my third year of study and was learning in lectures about bonds, futures and option pricing I found that I could relate my learning to the industry. This helped my understanding and I could help my peers to understand the topics taught. Furthermore, work shadowing gave me a clear insight into what a full-time job entails; this helped me with my decision to take a full-time role within product control.

What skills did you acquire or improve during your internship?

I developed my analytical skills throughout the different projects that I partook in. In addition, I developed my general technology skills, including Excel functions and shortcuts. Lastly, both networking with senior managers and delivering a presentation to my whole team helped to build my confidence and develop my networking skills.

What were the most important things you learnt from the internship?

I learnt how important it is to network and to keep in touch with your networks. Following up after meetings or popping by someone’s desk for a quick chat are easy ways to keep in contact with your colleagues.

Do you have any advice for someone seeking an internship?

I would advise someone seeking an internship to thoroughly do their research regarding companies and the sectors that they are interested in. Many universities have banking and finance fairs or career fairs where you can go and speak to representatives from the firms. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and find out further information about the company.

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