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Our students tell us about their global internship at NiSM. To find out more information about our Global Internship opportunities, visit our website.

Week 1

Leaving Heathrow on Saturday we knew we were in a for a treat but there was a tangible sense of in trepidation. 9 hours later we landed in Mumbai really fairly refreshed but none of us were ready for the three aspects of Mumbai that we were about to be faced with. The rain. The heat. The traffic. Combine these three parts and you have a rollercoaster of a first day. Imagine the busiest street in London, double it, add a certain level of disregard for following rules of the road and then multiply by torrential rain and the biggest puddles you’ve ever seen. This equation probably goes some way to explaining our first journey from the Airport which left all of us wide awake. 2 hours later we arrived at NiSM’s Patalganga campus which can only be described as something you would see from a James Bond film. Large white buildings towering above the armed guards in front of us, we made our way into our bedrooms to set up. On Sunday evening we made our way to the dining hall our first curry which was lovely. Having not had curry recently we all lapped it up not really realising that from then on it was going to be curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Filled up, we resided to our rooms to try and fight some jet lag.

On Monday after our first 9am curry we were introduced to the NISM team that are working at the campus. They were all incredibly welcoming and wanted us to have a great time over the next 6 weeks. We had our first talk on research methodology which included one of the lecturers, Mr. Panda, giving us a good idea of what we can do our research projects about.Tuesday morning got off to a bit of a slow start, mainly because we got stuck in a lift on the way to breakfast. After a loud bang, panic set in. No AC, No phone signal and no water. The prospect of hours in a lift with no food was particularly worrying to Tom, who eventually built up the courage to ring the alarm to try and call for help. Alas, no one came to our aid. Luckily, Andrew managed to pry the doors open with his bare hands meaning we could all make a lucky escape. I think it’s safe to say we’ll be using the stairs for the rest of our time here.  Luckily, our Wednesday picked up as we were given an overview of the Indian financial markets and an insight into the Bombay Stock exchange and the NIFTY50 and then had a trading competition among the interns by using the state of the art trading labs at the campus.

On Wednesday morning, we had an interesting lecture on an overview of Indian commodity markets and an insight into how derivatives markets function. A few of us have since chosen to do our research projects on this. After a morning of lectures, we were all keen to have an explore of the local market about 1km down the road from the campus. We walked along the side of the road narrowly missing racing tuk tuks that were trying to circumnavigate around an enormous cow that had decided to lie in the middle of the road. We managed to find the market and managed to stock up on snacks for the rest of the week. Tom decided to get some supernoodles excited for alternative to curry. Unfortunately, when he got back and boiled the kettle he was heartbroken to find that the noodles were in fact, curry flavoured.

On Thursday morning, had a couple of lectures on data processing and on using Bloomberg. After an afternoon of lectures, we had a much needed swim in the pool and relaxed playing table tennis and air hockey in the games room. The final day of the week we set out finalising which subjects we have chosen to do our research projects on and all of us have chosen to do projects on some of the lectures that we were given during the week.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Curry, curry and more curry. The food and hospitality in this first week has been absolutely great and we thought you would like an insight into what we’ve eaten over the past week. Bar a number of very tasty (spicy) curries, there have been a number of highlights that made us think of western food. Tuesday’s breakfast saw a bread roll which was thrilling for all parties and we think the other students had never seen anyone so excited to see a bread roll! Thursday’s dinner included 3 separate hardboiled eggs which were very tasty even if we didn’t have any soldiers to dip into them. We are unsure what the proper name for one of our favourite dishes is but more commonly known as ‘the really tasty cauliflower dish’ is becoming one of most consumed India. We have our sights set firmly on pizzas when we head into Navi-Mumbai this weekend but we are definitely relishing the opportunity to taste the local delicacies.

 

Week 2

Luke and Sam tell us about week 2

This week you lucky readers have Big Sam and Leek on the case, bringing you the hottest news from the NISM Patalganga campus. So, what’s new? Well, our previously deserted campus has had an influx of students, all of whom are very keen to come and say hello. Amusingly, they have trouble pronouncing western names, hence our new nicknames! The first student we met was an Indian called Kartik. Kartik, being from Delhi supports Manchester City, obviously. Big Sam, our resident Manchester United fan then took great delight in Kartik taunting him about John Stones having a 92% pass accuracy last season. In better news, Kartik predicted England to win the world cup due to Pep Guardiola having such an impact on City’s English players. Furthermore, we have developed a bond with the catering staff here. Despite them not speaking much English, we get a smile every morning from Smiley Man and a wave from Wavey Man. We also have Desert Man who is particularly keen for us to try all of the Indian deserts they cook here and brings us freshly made portions.

Last weekend, we ventured outside the campus for the first time (not including our visit to the local market, see last week’s blog). We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to catch the 8am NISM transfer to Navi Mumbai, which got us there for about 9am. Unknowingly to us, and to our great delight, we realised upon arrival that the mall we had intended to go to didn’t open until 11, along with every other shop in Navi Mumbai. However, our mood greatly improved once we were inside and found there was a Starbucks. We spent the rest of the day in the mall shopping for real genuine Tommy Hilfiger clothes at suspiciously cheap prices and playing pool (Leek beat Big Sam 4-0). As much as we have been enjoying the endless curry, it was nice to have pizzas and Burgers for lunch. In fact, it was over lunch that we found the jewel in the crown of the Navi Mumbai mall; the 65p pints in the fine establishment that is Chillis. We enjoyed this oasis so much that the 4 of us from Newcastle returned on Sunday.

Justinas, our Lithuanian friend from Groningen realised that he hadn’t worked hard enough during the first week and so stayed behind to finish his research proposal. In a double blow for him, he felt unwell and was taken to hospital the new morning. Fred (Tom) volunteered to go with him to experience Indian medical facilities first hand; something he claims was an experience. You’ll be pleased to hear that J Dog made a full recovery.

The other extra-curricular activities we have enjoyed this week all seem to revolve around football. On our trip to the mall last weekend, we purchased a ball and most nights since we have been playing one-bounce in the squash court. I can assure you, this has become very competitive. In addition to this, it has been the round of 16 games in the world cup. Fortunately for us, there are TVs in our rooms and the canteen, all of which seem to have 24/7 sport. England played Colombia on Tuesday and thanks to their undeserved, last minute equaliser, the match went on until just before 2:30am here. Even so, following the mighty English penalty-shootout victory, there were loud celebrations echoing across campus from just about every room (our Indian friends were clearly also watching).

As for the working week, we have to present our literature review for our respective research projects on Friday, so much of our time has been spent reading journals and articles. Despite not officially working in teams, we have all helped each other where possible, creating a strong working dynamic within the group. To our surprise, we have found that working here isn’t materially different from working in the UK; all of the work is in English and the office blocks on campus are modern enough that they could be seen in the North-East! The only real differences are the weather, it is absolutely torrential, and the hot beverages, which it is fair to say are somewhat sweeter that the European equivalent.

The highlight of the working week for us was our day out in Mumbai. Panda, our main supervisor, organised a day trip to the annual State Bank of India Economic Conclave. It was held in the Taj Palace Hotel, the most famous hotel in Mumbai and it is not difficult to see why. The building was amazing and was full of very obviously wealthy tourists looking for 5* luxury. We were treated to debates on all aspects of the Indian economy, ranging from bankruptcy and insolvency to how to deal with stress in the workplace (the answer is yoga apparently). This provided us with great insight into the current state of the Indian banking sector as the debates were between some high-profile speakers. They included leading academics, representatives from the SBI and RBI, politicians and even local celebrities. It was a genuinely memorable event. We finished the day by crossing the road from the hotel to have a look at the Gateway of India, one of Mumbai’s most famous landmarks. The locals did not waste the opportunity to take photos with us all, making us feel like minor celebrities in our own right. This was until, of course, the monsoons returned, and we had to scramble to cover to try (and fail) to avoid getting soaked before our cars arrived to take us back to campus.

Week 3

 

On Saturday morning, we went into Navi Mumbai to grab some food and have a look around. After a 3rdweek of curry we were delighted to find a place serving burgers so we filled up and then headed back to the campus to watch the football. England 2 – Sweden 0!

On Sunday, several other interns from Edinburgh university arrived so we took them into Mumbai for some food. They couldn’t quite understand why we were so excited for some western food as they hadn’t yet experienced curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner! When we got back we played some football in the sports hall and then went for a much needed swim.

 

 

On Monday morning, the past CEO of the NISM came to meet us and welcome the new interns to India. We introduced ourselves and shared some of our experiences so far. We then had to present the work we had done on our research projects to the directors and the former CEO.

During the day on Tuesday we worked on our research projects and the new students from Edinburgh Uni’ started to think about which area they would like to conduct research in. In the evening, there was a “Cultural Evening” in the auditorium which involved a music concert which was exclusively in Hindi. After a slightly confusing yet fantastic 2 hours the concert was over and we had some dinner and then had an early night.

On Wednesday, we were all very excited due to the main event of the week. The World Cup semi-final: England vs Croatia. We watched it in the cafeteria with another 60 Indian NISM students (most of whom were supporting Croatia!). After a beautiful Beckham-esque free kick from Kieran Trippier, England were ahead after 5 minutes and we went wild. We were cheering, happy in the knowledge that football was finally, after 50 years, coming home. Unfortunately, England couldn’t keep up and Jordan “The Hero” Pickford could no longer stop any more Croatian shots. Croatia scored in the second half and eventually won 2-1 in extra time. We were swarmed with delighted Indians who were over the moon with Croatia’ last minute goal.

 

 

On Thursday morning, sad and deflated from the result the night before, we returned to normal NISM life. We had a lecture on mutual funds in the morning and then in the afternoon we were given a fascinating lecture on corporate governance.

 

 

The Edinburgh interns were now settling in and had to present their research proposals on Friday. We also had a fascinating lecture on company valuation. On Friday afternoon, we went exploring in the local village. We walked past a local primary school where they were playing cricket on a water-logged pitch with a concrete cricket square. Despite this, they were the happiest bunch of children we have ever seen. They shouted to us and called us over asking us to play with them. We had a fantastic time and it ended up which with Tom batting for his life at the crease (pictured below).

 

Week 4

We spent our third weekend in India mostly in South Mumbai, near Nairman Point. There were 3 main highlights of the weekend. The first definitely has to be eating lunch at The Bombay Canteen. Rated as the second-best restaurant in the whole of India, the food did not disappoint! Four of us tucked into the Bombay Club Sandwich while the most adventurous in the group went through the 90-minute-long taster menu which showcased national flavours. Having left the restaurant, we headed towards more touristy areas, our target was Marina Drive. We were inundated by Indians wanting to have photos with us to the extent we were questioning what the real tourist attraction was! Feeling thirsty, we thought we would try out the Stock Exchange Bar to see if any of the skills we had learnt in the Trading Lab Sessions were transferable into a ‘real-life’ situation. Andrew was very disappointed he couldn’t short any of the beers so he could return later in the afternoon so receive a rock-bottom price beer. Savvy, I know. As we turned for home, a local businessman spotted us ordering a taxi and demanded we come and look in his shop. Before the trip, a few of us had chatted about our desire to return to the UK with tailormade suits. Our desires were answered as at the end of one of the darker back allies was exactly what we were looking for. After 30 minutes of fitting, four suits were ordered in and we were tasked with returning the following weekend to pick them up.

 

 

On Monday night, Sam and Luke played in a football match with several of the Indian students with conditions less than ideal. Rain was hurtling from the sky, and players were slipping and sliding across the mud, but through the monsoon came a performance befitting of a champion. Captain, leader, legend Sam Jeffrey carried his team to a penalty shootout after a tense game. However, at the shootout, Sam’s penalty was saved, bringing shock to the crowds and causing the opposition keeper to fall to the floor clutching his hand. Big Sam had broken the keeper’s wrist. With this news, the opposition were forced to change keeper and Sam’s team pounced on this opportunity, winning the shootout and writing their names in the NISM Patalganga history books. All that Luke could do was hang his head with disappointment and be consoled by his fellow teammates.

On Tuesday affairs on campus were much quieter with students cracking on with their research projects to the utmost professionalism. You’d think nothing less of Newcastle students. To finish the day, we were treated to the Indian version of Yorkshire puddings for supper. What a treat.

 

 

Wednesday arrived and there was more drama. After breaking the student’s wrist on Monday, you’d think that karma would soon strike Sam, and you’d be right. During an entertaining game of one bounce in the bum’s court, Sam stooped low to head the ball, however his chin collided with the floor, creating a hole under chin the size of a crater. Worried sick about his partner in crime, Andrew selflessly accompanied poor old Sam to the hospital, where they found the conditions not quite the same as the NHS.

Brave Sam laid down whilst the Indian nurses stapled his chin together at the second attempt. To welcome the brave man back, we all ordered Domino’s, which was a splendid change to curry.

The next day was uneventful, with us all looking forward to the weekend, where we could once again explore the rich tapestry of things to do and places to see in Mumbai. If there was one thing to take from this week, it was that the NHS should be cherished.

Week 5

Luke tells us about week 5 at NiSM

Contain your excitement, it’s week 5 and we’re back with another NISM blog! Apparently Justinas has retired from blog writing, so it’s just Luke this week, which is fine because it’s been arguably our best one yet!

Let’s start with last weekend. We ventured back to the Savile Row, or more pertinently the Savile Alley of Mumbai to collect the suits that some of the boys had previously had tailored. On arrival, we bumped into a friendly gentleman from Bedford (small world) who was collecting some tailored shirts. He exclaimed that he couldn’t believe how cheap they were. I think it’s fair to say that having seen the results, we could. Once he was off on his merry way, the chief tailor turned his attention to us, bombarding us with cans of coke in preparation for the big reveal. Tom’s pin striped suit with red lining and Andrew’s cream suit with a check pattern were every bit as spectacular as they had hoped. Sam and Jay opted for a slightly less flamboyant designs but were equally as chuffed with their results. The world’s worst investment banker styled boy band could now be set loose on India!

We later took the opportunity to have a look at Leopold Café, which was not far from Savile Alley. The café was attacked during the 2008 terror attacks in the city, where armed men entered the café and open fired, killing 10 and injuring many more. The owners of the café had decided against repairing the bullet holes, instead using glass to preserve them as a reminder of the atrocity.

It wasn’t long until we had the perfect opportunity to trial our new suits on another of the day trips organised by NISM. This time, thanks to some of the Captain’s connections and the hard work of Panda, we had the chance to visit the headquarters of the Reserve Bank and the Bombay Stock Exchange. The RBI building is situated right in the heart of Mumbai, offering fantastic views of the port, Nariman Point the Gateway of India from the 25th floor. We were given an hour at the bank to grill a panel of experts about demonetisation, financial inclusion and monetary policy of the bank, an opportunity we didn’t waste to ask questions relating to our projects and more to some of India’s economic experts. After lunch, we made the short trip to the BSE where we were treated to a tour of the server room and the live trading room. Like the morning at RBI, we were given some time to ask questions to experts on high frequency and auto trading. The chance to pick the brains of experts in their fields in such well known locations made for a memorable day, one we all agreed was one of the best we’ve had here. Also visiting these locations made for an unmissable chance for a top-quality Instagram post, much to the delight of Tom, the self-appointed ‘big name’ of the group.

 

As for the rest of the working week, the race is very definitely on to get our research papers ready on time, so just about all of our time is being spent finalising our reports. We seem to have finally got to grips with how to use the Bloomberg terminal. We have been given the deadline of next Thursday when we must present our research to the senior NISM staff. Daunting. On Friday, we were given the chance to visit the Vashi office in Navi Mumbai. Sam took this opportunity to meet Sandeep, an expert on financial literacy, to gain much needed insight for his report.

To end the week, Sandeep and Panda very kindly took us out for dinner to sample what we were told was real Indian food. Unsurprisingly, this was nothing like what we know at the local curry houses in the UK. Panda informed us that the starter would essentially be in an all you can eat format, whereby the waiters bring out all manner of grilled meat, fish and potatoes until you tell them to stop; something we took full advantage of. The main course was a more traditional curry. I made the mistake of not asking what they were before eating… the green curry which I assumed was spinach turned out to be green chili, a fact I only found out when my mouth caught fire and steam started coming out of my ears. Our Indian contingent found it hilarious for some reason. A good night was confirmed the next morning when a few of us woke up with slightly sore heads, especially Jack from Edinburgh, who confirmed once and for all that the Scots cannot hack it.

Until next week…

Week 6

As we near the end of our time here at NiSM, we thought we’d look back on an incredible 6 weeks. One thing we can all agree on is how amazing a country India is. From the hospitality of everyone we met to the food we ate, it was all superb. Yes, there were moments where we thought ‘uh oh’ but the only major example of this was when our taxi driver decided his car had broken down, kicked us out, then realised his car was healthy enough to drive off. Being stood on the side of an India motorway was slightly worrying and who knows what would have happened had 2 newlyweds not pulled over to help us out and then chat about their lovely visit to Ealing the previous year! Enough of the scary moments, and onto our highlights. Trips to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of India Banking Conclave are definitely up there. The cultural night was certainly memorable even if it did require Jack, one of the Edinburgh University interns, to demand the musicians play ‘Punjabi MC.’ But for a lot of us, it was the football with the other Indian students that will be the long-lasting memory. People have always said that sport binds people and that has never been so true. A few of us were kicking a ball around and before we knew it there was a full-on football match every evening!

Towards the end of the week we presented our projects to the Registrar, faculty members, post-grad students and the rest of the interns. We had spent most of our working time at NISM writing reports into our chosen fields however it was great to be able to present our findings orally rather than written down. Tom’s project surrounded the prediction of insolvency in the Indian Economy, Luke’s project looked into performance of the National Stock Exchange before and after national demonetisation, Andrew’s project analysed the likelihood of interest rate futures failing for a third time after the two previous failures since their initial introduction, Justinas’ project was an event-study into unconventional monetary policy in the EU and USA and how it impacted different sectors within the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and finally Sam’s project investigated the levels of financial inclusion and financial literacy in the Maharashtra area of India. All 5 projects were on very different topics which was great when we came to present them as all 5 of us gained a deeper knowledge into a completely different area of finance.

Along with the great memories, we have also learnt a lot of things that will no doubt be of great help to us in the future. Firstly, we have learnt the importance of embracing and respecting culture. From our time in India we have seen there is a hierarchical system of respect, which means as a foreigner you must embrace while present. This is the same for wherever you travel and whoever you meet and we’ll definitely use this knowledge in the future. Another takeaway we’ll have from the trip is to always say yes to an opportunity put in front of you even if it is a curry with a ‘very hot’ warning. Who knows what the outcome will be, bar a very sore tongue, and it’ll be a great outcome. We went on a walk around some of the poorer areas of Mumbai and it was amazing to see kids who had very little were still able to have fun playing cricket without having a care in the world.

Overall we had a great time and can’t thank the global team and NISM enough for giving us the opportunity to have such a memorable six weeks!

 

 

 

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