• Role: Global Markets Analyst
  • Location: London
  • University: UCL
  • Degree: MA Comparative Economics and Policy
  • Organisation: Nomura

Madalina Sergentu

I was born and raised in Romania before moving to London to study with UCL. During my time with the university I had the opportunity to do academic research in Warsaw and Moscow, run the Romanian and Moldovan Society, as well as mentor students and pupils through the University’s outreach programme.

The application process

Before starting my career with Nomura, I completed a summer internship with the company in 2014. The application process for the programme was very straightforward: after submitting an online application, which included sending my CV, cover letter and completing the mandatory online testing, I was invited for a first round of interviews with two representatives from the business. Whilst one of the interviews included discussions around my career motivation and knowledge of financial markets, the second one involved putting together a sales pitch, by reviewing one of Nomura’s equity research reports.

Within a week I was invited to take part in the final round of interviews with four senior business leaders. Even though the interviews were aimed at testing my knowledge as well as motivation for joining the company, the conversations felt more like an open dialogue rather than being put in the hot seat, thus giving me the opportunity to learn even more about the firm and its people.

What I found striking about the application process was the level of feedback and support I received throughout, both from the HR team and business representatives. This encouraged me to do my best, especially in the final round of interviews.

The training

Nomura places great emphasis on the career development of the junior population and as such offers a comprehensive training programme for its graduates. The training kicks off in London with in-depth technical training in financial markets, which aims to give a fair starting point to all incoming analysts, regardless of academic background.

The second part of the training runs in the Tokyo headquarters, where the focus is on orienting graduates to Nomura’s history, values and building our knowledge and appreciation of working within a Japanese investment bank. We have access to Nomura’s global business and an opportunity to network with Japanese business representatives and peers.

Tips & tricks

When it comes to applying for internships and jobs, preparation is essential. As such, please find below some of the key points, which I found helpful during the process:

Crossing T’s, dotting I’s: your CV and cover letter will be the first ‘image’ the business will have of you, so make sure there are absolutely no mistakes which might reflect poorly on your attention to detail.

S.T.A.R.: when answering competency question (e.g. tell me about a time you worked in a team, etc), try and structure your answers discussing in turn the Situation, what the Task was, the Actions you took and the Results obtained. This will help both your interviewer follow your answer and it will help you make sure you put yourself in the best light possible, by offering concrete and complete answers. Having in mind a few responses structured as such before the interview might help you feel more comfortable and better prepared going in.

Market knowledge: no amount of reading the financial press is too much before an interview. It is crucial to know what are the major trends and events and to be able to have a conversation on that topic, offering and justifying your opinions.

Know the share price: never walk in to an interview without knowing basic facts about the company, such as the share price on that day, on which stock exchange the company is trading or the name of the CEO. Such information demonstrates that you have done your research prior to coming to the interview.

Make an effort: financial companies engage in numerous recruiting events and organise various insight days, both on campus and at their offices. Participating in such activities is a great opportunity to get a better understanding of the firm, meet business representatives and demonstrate your motivation to be part of the company.

Career motivation

Being an Economics student with University College London, I had a keen interest in the financial industry, particularly in the fastpaced world of global markets, which I believe requires in-depth analytical thinking coupled with dedication to deliver the best outcome for your clients. My passion for the industry became even stronger after interning with Nomura, as my summer experience enhanced my understanding of capital markets as well as my desire to build a career in finance.

During my internship with the company, what appealed to me most about Nomura is that it recognises people’s efforts and empowers them to do more, as the success of the business depends on the strength and innovation of its employees. While serving its clients by uniquely delivering Asia globally, its worldwide approach remains measured, building the business client by client and delivering intellectual capital and financial support. As the company continues to gain momentum and market share across business divisions in every region, I have found it provides a stimulating environment for its juniors, who have the opportunity to grow with the business by taking on new responsibilities each day.

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