Where did my boss go?
I arrived in the office on my first day of work to find out that my team was in between managers. However, the team all knew their responsibilities, and one of them took the initiative to start teaching me and assigning work for me to do. My team, the corporate debt team of the alternative credit department, consists of 3 full time workers and 2 trainees, investing a portfolio of about 2 billion euros into private loans to large companies around Europe. You might not think this is enough people for such a task, which surprised me, but it goes to show the level of responsibility and challenging work environment here at NN.
You better like to learn
So what’s the first thing I had to do? I expected a steep learning curve and NN is not prepared to disappoint! The first thing I had to do was learn a dense, 130 page line document from back to front… not exactly what I imagined my first impactful task as a future leader to be. However this was definitely necessary as it detailed the process for rating private debt using the S&P methodology. As I ploughed through the novel I could see that the established analysts were using this process on their current deals, and I would be doing the same once I got to know the process, good motivation to read on. It was quite impressive to see how soon I would be doing key tasks in the team. Based on these ratings, the team would set interest rates on millions of euros worth of loans. The first week was just learning, but from then on I was actually doing the ratings!
How many new people can you meet in a day at the office?
About 9628.4, give or take a few. NN Group is a big company with loads of people doing every task under the sun. It was important that I get to know the people working in my team, working in teams that supported ours, and working in teams that I wanted to rotate to in the future. I had set up so many meetings with these people and they were all happy to offer me advice. This is not something done in just the first week though, as till this day, I still meet people from all round the company. I think this is an advantage over larger financial companies. I have talked to friends at the biggest financial companies who have managers and colleagues that just don’t take the time to meet new recruits and help them learn. Everyone here is really smart and experienced, so talking to them makes you feel like you don’t know enough. However, they all take the time to teach you how things are done.
What happened after surviving my first week at NN?
Well, I learned the 130 page dense book from back to front, and now I do ratings on new companies that we invest in or annual rating updates on companies we are already invested in. The process is very detailed and involves diving deep into each company, so I still learn new things every day. I’m finally at the place I wanted to be a year ago, and hopefully can rotate into equities soon enough. There are loads of investment positions you can take up and everyone has their own preference. Mine is equities because I like the uncertainty and the increased potential to add value through a proper analysis.
I know how challenging it is to make your first steps in a competitive field like finance, so I am happy to help anyone who reaches out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.