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Journey as an Intern in Global Structured Solutions

Journey as an Intern in Global Structured Solutions

  • 3 October 2019
  • By Josiah Leow
  • 6 mins read

Journey as an intern in Global Structured Solutions

When Josiah Leow decided to take a semester off from his studies in 2016, he was not looking to go on an extended summer vacation. Rather, this now 27-year-old undergraduate chose to take on a 6-month internship with OCBC Bank and venture further into the world of banking.

It is no secret that the finance industry is thought of as competitive and stressful, with clients constantly asking their one thousand and one questions and executing trades is an extremely time sensitive matter. This did not deter the very determined Josiah. He wanted to challenge himself and make the most of his internship. Prior to joining the Global Treasury’s Institutional Sales Team, Josiah penned down exactly what he wanted to achieve at the end of the 6 months. This included mastering skillsets such as constructing pricing models and gaining more knowledge about the financial markets.

Importance of a mentor

Many say that in the early years of your career, who you work for is exponentially more important than the work you do. Josiah’s first day with his supervisor, David, went a little something like this.

“I’m very happy for you to just sit at your desk and do work for the next 6 months, but will you be satisfied with that?”

David exhibited the bank’s values of delivering a difference, in this case, a positive difference in Josiah’s internship. David encouraged him to take charge of his own learning journey. Taking things up a notch, Josiah was challenged to step out of his comfort zone and shadow his sales and trading colleagues at work. This allowed Josiah to expand his network, observe how the professionals interacted with their clients and learn the bank’s best practices in this area. On David’s less busy days, Josiah would have progress check-ins, sharing his learning takeaways for the week. Evidently, David was more than a supervisor, he was and still is a mentor to Josiah.

This was just the beginning of Josiah’s journey with OCBC’s Global Treasury Team. Following his meaningful internship experience, Josiah joined the Young Banker programme, now known as our Graduate Talent Programme. This is specifically designed for our promising fresh graduates, to help talents like Josiah build a strong foundation in banking to achieve their career goals in the finance industry.

Tips to hopeful interns

When asked why he decided to return to the bank, he shared that it was an accumulation of 3 things: his innate passion for the work, the mentorship and community at OCBC. It was his internship that solidified his interest in the global markets. He appreciates his colleagues’ willingness to invest their time to help him grow. Furthermore, he values the sense of belonging within his batch of graduate talents and the support system available throughout.

Having benefitted from the guidance of his boss and other colleagues, Josiah recognised the value of providing guidance to aspiring bankers. His piece of advice to hopeful interns? Come prepared and do not expect to be spoon fed. Be willing to put in the hours and read up so that you can have purposeful discussions with your seniors. Be independent and create your own learning opportunities.

Josiah has since completed the structured programme which prepared him for his role in Global Structured Solutions, Global Treasury. These days, he spends his time structuring and covering financial assets, ranging from OTC derivatives to structured notes, for institutional customers.