As a part of the graduate program, I was chosen to go to the United Kingdom. It was a great moment for me as I was getting an opportunity to travel internationally and visit London, which is the ‘Mecca’ for any Finance graduate. I stayed at an accommodation provided by the company, which certainly bettered the experience.
It was the 3rd of March. I got into the Underground station at London Bridge. I was surprised when I saw the crowd waiting for the tube. After unsuccessfully boarding 3 metros, the people around me finally shoved me into one. I reached Old Street station and got into the office building having a million thoughts of how it is going to be like. I got into the lift and I reached the second floor. The first person I met was Ms Tara Finnis, who greeted me nicely and showed me where I was going to spend the next 14 weeks of my life – the “London Room”. After sometime, I got to meet all the other graduates comprised of thirteen boys and one girl.
We had a whole list of programmes lined-up for us for the next couple of months. We were introduced to the company and we had an ice-breaker session with Ms. Alison Kemp. Then we were presented with the financial market module, which were intensive since most of the finance topics – from money market to value at risk, was covered in 2 weeks, which is otherwise covered in a year at other universities. Chris Louch spearheaded the module and he was extremely knowledgeable. He also took us to the London Metal Exchange where we saw how traders use different signs to communicate since the traders used sign language to communicate rather than speaking.
Just before the financial markets test, we went to the “Mixology” event. It was a new experience for me. I never knew I was going to learn how to make cocktails. We were divided in a team of 4. My team name was “Catapult” and with the help of my team mates, we won the competition! The name of the cocktail was “Excelian” as it was colourful and powerful.
Once the financial market test was over, we were introduced to the completely new world of technology – Murex, SMART, Calypso, UNIX, SQL and Java. Prior to this graduate program, I was merely familiar with the technology powering my gadgets. Therefore, it was a challenge for me to cope and learn all of these unfamiliar technologies. The trainers were highly skilled and they knew how to build blocks for the non-tech background candidates like myself, Rocco, Steen, Prash, Kristina and Fitz. The MUREX training was very intensive and it was divided in three groups – Front Office led by Mr Malcolm, Accounting Module was led by Mr. Carlo, And Reporting by Ms. Marilena.
We were given a social project to create brand awareness of Excelian at the start of the program and we had to present our report to the SMT by 10th week in the program. We were also trained with soft skills and presentation training, which was led by Mr Tim Haslan. The gentleman is very knowledgeable and is very good at what he does. He made the whole experience very entertaining and it provided a breather from heavy knowledge sessions like finance and IT skills. Everyone had a mentor during the program who helped us a lot and played a great role in our advancement and achievement.
Although the program was very intensive, we had our share of fun. The best part of the office was the “kitchen”. We had a table-football installed there and the seriousness of the game was no less than a FIFA tournament. It was a good stress buster for us and we made sure we optimise the “10 minutes” break we had.
Soon we were approaching the end of the graduate program, which made us nostalgic and excited. It was time to go out of the “London Room” and apply our newly acquired skills and knowledge in the real world.
It was a great journey, where I met people from different parts of the world, made friends and learned so much. The experience was better than what I had while I was acquiring my double masters!