15 Jul A typical day at my finance internship
Today I am going to give you a flavour of what it is like to be an intern in Hong Kong! I am currently working in the equity research department of an investment bank.
I wake up at 07:30 and catch the tram with a fellow intern and thankfully it stops directly outside the accomodation, which I really appreciated when I was getting over the jet lag! I get to the office by 08:15 to grab breakfast at the Starbucks in the building the office is situated in. I did this religiously; to the extent that they knew my name and ‘my usual’ by the end of the month! From the second week onwards, I have started work at 08:30 on the trading floor. Prior to this I was working on the main office floor, though my boss thought I would enjoy a more, I quote, “rock-and-roll” atmosphere. I must say he was right! On the trading floor, my colleagues are usually there before me to get ready for the market open with the TV on blaring out news about the markets. I really appreciate the TV being on throughout the workday because this has been a major source of learning for me. For instance, I find the market interpretations of the geopolitical events particularly interesting and I have been fortunate enough to be on the floor whilst there have been many events of this nature. I typically listen to this in the background as I get on with my projects.
The tasks that I have been assigned are essentially on an individual basis, which involve me using mostly Bloomberg and searching through company annual reports, alongside other financial sources, to gather raw data. I have used this data to compile it using Excel and produce summaries and presentations on PowerPoint. As I have had previous experiences working in investment banks I was able to hit the ground running, building on what I have already learned. Having that experience has proved much more useful during this internship relative to what I have studied in my Economics modules at university, as they are very theoretical and do not have a financial focus.
Since my work does not involve much team work, bar asking my colleagues questions when coming up against any difficulties, I can take lunch whenever suits me. I am fortunate enough to be working very close to the IFC mall which has an open rooftop that looks over Hong Kong Island, where you can take your lunch. This has become ‘my spot’ and is something you should definitely do at least once when you are here! Though, these days I tend to go to the food court where a couple of the other interns work because a bit of company doesn’t go amiss!
I tend to finish around 18:30, though sometimes I leave a tad earlier to make it in time for the professional speaker events organised by Absolute that are not to be missed! Most evenings I head on out for after-work socialising with the other interns, which seems to be very much part of the Hong Kong culture, as the region really comes alive at night!
I am very glad I completed this internship because I have learnt some important things about myself with respect to my career. I have concluded that equity research is not a department that I will pursue because of the lack of client facing opportunities until a very senior level and I, personally, thrive on social interaction! On a more positive note, I have also decided that, if all goes to plan, Hong Kong will be the first overseas destination in which I will work full-time!