NIB former trainees. From left to right: Iben Hjorth, Communications Officer at the OECD, Shashvat Kapoor, Business Development Manager at NIB, Frida Elf, Associate at Boston Consulting Group.
4 Apr 2022
Traineeship at NIB: a gateway to career success
Every year, NIB welcomes a number of trainees, usually students or recent graduates, to support the Bank’s different units in their daily tasks. Most of them work full-time throughout the summer, being involved in various projects and getting a glimpse of an entire credit process. We talked to some of NIB’s former trainees to hear how their traineeships affected their further careers and what they are up to now.
Believe it or not, spring also comes to Helsinki. With ice slowly leaving the shores of the Baltic Sea and parks turning green, you are sure to see plenty of joyful faces around the city. For NIB, springtime also signals the influx of new friendly faces – those that come to strengthen the organisation and see how an international financial institution (IFI) operates.
These young professionals carry various backgrounds and experiences, sometimes not necessarily related to finance. After traineeships at NIB, however, some are inspired to broaden their newly found knowledge.
Broadening the horizons
“I stumbled upon the NIB job posting by accident – prior to that, I had not considered that there could be a need for somebody with my skill set in an investment bank. Because my background was in humanities, I was daunted at first by the financial aspect. Nervous about making a fool of myself at NIB, I spent the month before my first day reading a stack of books about finance. As luck would have it, my time at NIB sparked my interest in economics and finance, and in my master’s studies I ended up achieving the highest GPA of the finance cohort in my university”, says Iben Hjorth, who was a communications trainee at NIB back in 2016 and 2017.
To do her traineeship, Iben moved to Helsinki from Denmark. According to her, this was a defining moment of her career – it was her first time working abroad, which has been a feature of her professional life ever since.
“NIB opened up the world of international organizations to me”, says Iben. “After the traineeship, I travelled around the world for a bit. Then I moved to South Korea to study for my master’s degree and subsequently work at the Green Climate Fund. I recently moved from Korea to Paris, where I work as a Communications Officer at the OECD’s Development Co-Operation Directorate with a focus on climate and environment content. In that sense, I have not strayed very far from my beginnings at NIB.”
During those beginnings, Iben got to know communications as a corporate function at NIB. As a Bachelor of Media Studies at that time, she gained hands-on experience, for instance, by developing NIB’s first Environmental Bond Report.
“At the time of my traineeship, environmental bonds were still fairly new on the financial scene, and NIB was really a frontrunner. I feel proud now to have worked on some of the communications material around that,” she says.
“At the same time, I also realized through NIB that I find communications work very rewarding and working there really sharpened my skills as a communicator. My colleagues were experts in their field, and they kindly took the time to mentor me. I was able to learn a lot about how to communicate strategically and write well,” concludes Iben.
Fast-tracking a career in sustainable finance
Another former trainee, Shashvat Kapoor, agrees that colleagues have been essential for his own growth. “I found NIB’s relatively small but efficient workforce an advantage as it offered me possibilities to take on a broad range of tasks already at an early stage in my career. I was fortunate to have supervisors who were incredibly supportive of my personal and professional development,” he says.
Shashvat joined NIB as a Trainee Transaction Manager in 2018, after finishing his first year of the MSc programme in Finance at the University of Vaasa. Although he had no prior work experience from finance or banking, Shashvat saw his abilities evolve together with his role.
“My main responsibilities were the spreading of financial statements for existing counterparties and a preliminary credit analysis of prospective customers, but the tasks evolved and varied greatly. For instance, I had the opportunity to work on diverse strategic projects, such as a comprehensive comparison of NIB and a peer IFI. In addition, after only a year at the Bank, I was entrusted with acting as an interim Transaction Manager, taking over a significant loan portfolio and participating in new lending transactions,” says Shashvat.
After growing out of those shoes, Shashvat accepted new positions at NIB and has remained with the organisation to this day.
“Subsequent to graduating and completing my traineeship, I was offered a job at NIB as a Transaction Manager in the Corporate Lending team. After almost a year in this role, an internal reorganisation provided me with the opportunity to take on my current role of a Business Development Manager in the newly created Business Development unit in the Lending department, with the main responsibilities comprising of capital planning, strategy development and pricing advisory.”
“Given that the NIB traineeship was my first job in my field of study, it acted as a steppingstone for my career in finance and banking as well as bolstered foundational industry skills. Furthermore, NIB being an IFI driven by sustainability – both environmental and economical, was a bonus in terms of my natural exposure to sustainable finance,” Shashvat adds.
It is what you make of it
Just like Shashvat, Frida Elf joined NIB as a trainee in Transaction and Portfolio Management in 2018. Also similarly, she was able to grow in her role and was offered to stay at the Bank as an analyst.
“When I joined NIB, I was in the third year of my studies, majoring in accounting at Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki. NIB was my first proper step into banking and as a trainee I was able to learn how an IFI works,” says Frida.
“The traineeship opened a lot of doors, including those within NIB. I feel that I got a very valuable mentorship from my colleagues and was always encouraged to challenge myself,” she adds.
After completing her traineeship and subsequently working with project analysis in the Bank’s lending department, Frida went on to complete an MSc in Finance at Trinity College Dublin. She now lives in Stockholm and works for a global consulting firm Boston Consulting Group.
According to Frida, her traineeship at NIB was not only important in terms of future her career, but also gave the chance to meet international people and make good friends.
“The environment at NIB is very international and I got to work with colleagues from all departments. We had a lot of fun with the other trainees as well, and I made some good friends here. The traineeship is really what you make of it, and if you show interest and commitment, you can challenge yourself and take on more responsibilities quite quickly,” concludes Frida.