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Working with NISM, Our Global Internship in India

In this blog, our Global Experience Opportunity interns will be writing a series of weekly blogs from their experience of working with educational institute NISM in India. The institute offers academic programmes, training programmes, capacity building and skill development programmes in securities markets. The institute also provides financial education and standards to improve financial literacy in the country.  This blog will be based upon their experience of local culture, sights and their work on the internship. Our students will also be updating you on what they have been getting involved in and enjoying each week!

Week 1

By Sunday morning the interns working with NISM had assembled, Melody was the last to arrive at 8am after an 18-hour delay. Later in the day we went for a walk into the local village before taking a taxi to the nearest shopping mall which was about 45 mins away. We had our first taste of haggling in the rain when we tried to by an umbrella, which was successful and resulted in the price dropping from 1000 to 300 rupees!

Nearby was the number 7 attraction in Panvel, which was a lake by the side of the road -0 see our feature photo! While we were out in the open enjoying the lake, we were caught in a huge monsoon, took a taxi back, and went to the gym and pool – both great luxuries we have been afforded at our accommodation. We have also had our first experience of eating curry for every meal in a day, which is what it is going to be like all week.

On Monday morning, we had introductory lectures by some the senior staff in NISM, which were very informative and introduced us to the week ahead. We met all the staff that we would be interacting with over the next four weeks. We had the afternoon to relax, enjoy the gym facilities and further familiarize ourselves with the campus.

On Tuesday we all woke up at 6 to travel to the the SEBI regulator in Mumbai. However, our first bad experience of the monsoons hit us- we had to turn around due to waterlogging. The waterlogging in Mumbai was so bad that the airport was closed and there was more rain on this day in Mumbai than there was in a year in the UK! We arrived back to the campus safely and used the free time to begin planning our weekend and travelling activities for when the internship was completed. Melody, Poppy, Alex and Johnathan are planning on spending an extra week in India travelling to Jaipur, New Delhi and Agra. Josh is planning on spending an extra three weeks in India, visiting these places plus more of the north east. Scott has planned a three-week trip to Bangkok, Shanghai and Tokyo. The plans look like these trips will be a nice way to end the internship!

On Wednesday we had lectures from 2 until 5 on primary and secondary markets, with a really engaging and friendly lecturer. It was melody’s birthday, so we decided to get a taxi to Navi Mumbai to a Rainforest Resto-bar where we found the happy hour was 2 for 1 on 3 litres of beer. We had a really nice meal with really big portions and Melody really enjoyed her Birthday.

Finally, on Thursday we had three-hour lecture on stock valuation, which engaged us with methods on excel. After lunch we had an introduction to the project where we found out more about our project titles and leaders. We then had a walk to the local market where we were impressed with the vast amount of shops.

Week 2

This week has mainly been focused on a push to getting a proper understanding of our topic titles and doing thorough research into the titles we have chosen. Before the academic week started, we had the weekend where we took two, day excursions.

The first, on Saturday, was to Navi Mumbai, a city characterised by being a hub for professional young individuals that commute to Mumbai for work. On account of it being a new city we mainly found our time being split between shopping and drinking. The SeaWorld Grand Central mall was filled with familiar shops such as; Nike, H&M, Zara, and McDonalds – where we treated ourselves to lunch! We also saw the Seven Wonders of the World! This took a quick two minutes at the wonder park in Navi Mumbai.

It was interesting to see an incredibly urbanised area that had clearly been planned out through the integration of many parks within the city. We ended up at the bar stock exchange where we very much enjoyed the ever-changing prices, we certainly had an effect on the price of Cosmopolitans and Kingfishers.

The next day we chose to take a walk around the Morbe dam, it was a lovely walk despite our anxiousness of bumping into some particular locals (snakes). We walked through the village near the dam, danced with drumming children and saw chickens and puppies running around.

Monday began with a lesson in financial literacy, admittedly quite a few of us did not know what this was and thought we would be spelling financial words for three hours! Realistically, it was an insight into trying to change people’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to finance and India’s attempt into integrating this into the school curriculum.  The afternoon saw meetings with our tutors and the beginning of our literary reviews, gaining insight into our topics of choice.

Tuesdays lecture was on the Indian economy, an introduction into Government schemes that had benefited the nation through improved sanitation, education and financial access. We were surprised by the level of improvement over such a short period of term. We then returned to the library after some much adored chai tea for some more literature review.

The next two days consisted of independent study with swimming in the evening, the girls beat the boys in butterfly, breaststroke and crawl races!! However, Jonathan Ryan brought it back for the boys with some stupendous badminton skills. Friday began with a lecture in how to use Bloomberg, a very helpful resource with vast amount of data that we can use for our projects. In the evening we were off to Mumbai…but you’ll have to wait for next weeks blog to find out about that…

Week 3

On Friday we began our day with a session on using Bloomberg. This session taught us basic skills in using Bloomberg which would be useful in our projects, for example some of us needed to find weekly or monthly indices to analyse. On Friday evening we decided to travel to Mumbai for the weekend; we had planned to visit temples, the markets and enjoy a few nights out. However, when we arrived at our restaurant that evening, we found that it was dry day in Mumbai – everywhere in Mumbai was not serving alcohol due to a religious festival. Passionfruit mocktails only!

The next morning, we woke up early ready to see Mumbai – we got the train to near the gateway of India which we found was a hectic but enjoyable experience. Our first stop was the San-Cha Tea Boutique where we were offered samples of 6 different teas – Scott’s highlight of the trip! The gateway of India was a spectacular landmark, however we found that for the locals we were the more exciting sight with most of them getting more photos with us than the gateway itself! We then hit the markets and sorted the boys out with some funky outfits for the evening. Thankfully dry day was over, so we continued the evening with a night out- however we didn’t realize that Indian nightlife happens much earlier than England, so we found ourselves in the club for only 20 minutes before it shut! Not the luckiest weekend of drinking in Mumbai, but fun nonetheless.

On Sunday morning we began our day with a guided tour of the Dharavi slum that we had been recommended. With an estimated 1.5 million residents this was an eye-opening experience and really contrasted to our expectations and assumptions. The spirit of community within the slums was overwhelming and it amazed us how everything was recycled and reused so efficiently. In the afternoon we headed to a local beach whilst Scott and Josh travelled to pick up their hand tailored suits – much cheaper than at home! After a relax on the beach we headed back to NISM just in time for the weekly Sunday special of chicken curry for dinner.

On Monday we all continued with our projects – we all had meetings with our faculty members to discuss our progress. At this stage most of the group had completed a literature review each and were beginning collecting data to begin our research.

Throughout the rest of the week, we were left to independently complete our projects. This was an important week for each of us as it was when we were all doing our research part of the reports. This included use of Bloomberg and Stata to collect and analyse data in order to manipulate it for our research. We all kept in close contact with our faculty members to guide us through the research. We spent our evenings often visiting the gym and swimming pool.

On Friday we travelled to Lonavala- a very beautiful hill station and the place we found was most recommended by the NISM students and staff. After arriving in Lonavala we all enjoyed a very nice curry and a few drinks before getting an early night to be up at 7:30 for some abseiling and ziplining!

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