Head-quartered in Tokyo but with regional outposts in Hong Kong, London, and New York, Nomura is a pre-eminent investment bank with a reach that spans the globe. Through its international network of 28,000 employees in over 30 countries, the bank provides retail, asset management and wholesale banking services to individual, institutional, corporate and government clients.
A growing investment bank.
- Friendly culture and fairly flat hierarchy
- A great platform for innovation and progression
- Lots of responsibility early on with a great support structure
- International exposure
- Strong momentum, especially in fixed income, structured credits and M&A
- Excellent diversity initiatives
- Still in the phase of redefining a corporate identity
- Lack of communication between different levels of the business
- No scope for junior team members to have input in company decisions
- Lacking brand recognition
Nomura is an up and coming banking heavyweight that boasts a full range of securities and investment banking services. Although best known domestically as a retail bank, in recent years Nomura has expanded its international presence, now employing 26,000+ staff across 30 countries, with 18 outposts in Europe and the Middle East. The firm’s international operations were certainly boosted by the headline-grabbing acquisition of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Nomura secured the fallen banking star’s equities and investment banking operations in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
A Bit of Background
Today, Nomura operates out of Tokyo, but like many Japanese conglomerates, its origins trace back to Osaka. Founded by Tokushichi Nomura II in 1919, the firm was built on the model of Japan’s first private bank, Mitsui zaibatsu, and on Christmas Day 1925, Nomura Holdings was established as Nomura Securities. Just two years later, the firm made its first step to becoming an international powerhouse, with a subsidiary opening for business in New York.
In 1946, its head office made the aforementioned 300 mile move east to Tokyo, and in the early Fifties, Nomura began managing investments. The ensuing years were marked by international expansion, with the firm joining the swinging epoch of London in 1964. Jump forward forty years or so, and Nomura changed to a holding company structure, with the firm being listed on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2001.
The past decade has seen concerted efforts in gaining a continental foothold, a tactic which has brought some success. In 2005, Nomura’s alliance with Rothschild strengthened cross-border M&A advisory opportunities between Japan and Europe, leading to a strategy of distributing Japanese and Asian products into Europe.
Then, in 2008, came the acquisition of Lehman Brothers, a deal that was subsequently plastered across newspapers and TV reports worldwide. But amongst the dollar signs and business conjecture, was the direct human effect, with the move preserving thousands of bankers’ jobs and bolstering Nomura’s ranks by over 8,000. The firm not only inherited a dedicated workforce, but 20 offices in Europe and the Middle East, and Lehman’s impressive roster of FTSE 100 clients.
A Closer Look at Divisions & Departments
Nomura offers its clients a full range of securities and investment banking services; these include asset management, merchant banking, corporate advisory, derivatives, foreign exchange, sales and trading, research and capital raising. On the continent, the firm’s focus is on securities brokerage services, underwriting, M&A advisory and asset management.Read all 524 employee quotes
Pre-recession Nomura was a tough cookie to land a job at; unfortunately, post-recession Nomura is looking even harder to break into. Don’t be dissuaded though, as it’s not completely impassable; like all the top banks, it’s simply selective. The firm recruits from the usual array of top ranked UK and European institutions including Oxbridge, HEC, INSEAD, Bocconi, etc., seeking diversity with 70+ nationalities working in its London office. Candidates need to demonstrate strong communication skills, numeracy and collaboration if they want to succeed with their applications. However, the cultural fit is as important as ability, so no matter how well prepared you are, you won’t be offered a place if the firm doesn’t believe you’ll fit in.
The Recruitment Process
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis so it’s best to apply early. The process varies, but usually begins with a standard online application that will look into your academic background, previous work experience and relevant qualities. Here it’s good to note that Nomura assesses its candidates by their analytical sharpness, their quantitative ability, as well as their organisational skills.
Those applying for investment banking or global markets roles will then have to face a first round of interviews. For internships these consist of two one-on-ones, whereas full-time positions require you to undergo three interviews. The final round comprises more interviews with senior reps, i.e. directors or above. Corporate infrastructure roles involve an assessment day with competency-based interviews, and group exercises.
Nomura is known for its interview etiquette so while you may experience a lot of formality, interviewers are not keen to trick you. Instead they want to get to know you as a person and potential employee so be relaxed and most of all, be honest. You can expect the traditional ‘tell us about yourself’ questions to quiz you on your background and personal interests. You are also very likely to be grilled on your career motivation and you better have a good answer ready for the ‘Why banking? Why Nomura?’ scenarios. The firm is also keen to assess your problem solving skills and it’s best you come armed with a host of examples to all the probing competency-based questions such as’, ‘What do you do when you can't solve a problem?’ or ‘Give me an example of when you were creative’.
Group exercises (for the corporate division only) are as always designed to test how well you work with others so it’s good to keep that in mind.
Nomura is after high calibre grads so if you’re thinking of applying for the analyst or associate graduate schemes you need to be on top of your game. The firm will scrutinise your academic track record and only those with a minimum of a 2:1 degree need apply. Due to the international nature of the firm, many candidates come equipped with language skills.
Thinking of Becoming an Analyst or Associate at Nomura?
Nomura lures would-be analysts into their realm by offering them the prospect of reaching associate status within three years – but it’s certainly not an easy mission and you’ll need to put a lot of hard work and time into it. However, if you’ve got a flashy MBA and at least three years of work experience boosting your CV, you can start out as an associate straight away.
Analysts and Associates work in the firm’s main departments including investment banking, global markets, and corporate infrastructure, with the latter covering the subdivisions of finance, technology and operations. These programmes usually start with two to six weeks of training after which you will return to your desk and work on a variety of projects. Depending on the unit, this can entail running your own transactions, dealing with clients, or producing financial analysis. Supervisors keep a close eye on you so make sure you don’t lag behind.
Those with wanderlust need look no further: Nomura offers international programmes in the Asia-Pacific region for both associates and analysts. Starting with a classroom-based training, this programme can have you travel around Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan or Australia. Language skills are definite must-haves!
In your penultimate year of uni? Then Nomura’s ten-week internship programme for both wannabe analysts and associates may be for you. The placement covers investment banking, global markets, IT and operations, schooling you comprehensively in financial markets. The majority of full-time employees have trodden this path, so perform well during the programme and you could very well be offered a permanent position.
While internships have three annual intakes – spring, summer, and winter – Nomura’s summer placements are the most popular. Analysts in Europe can intern in global markets, investment banking and operations. In the markets division you’ll rotate through two different desks hence be prepared to quickly adapt to the new roles. All internships provide training and networking opportunities so make sure you bleed these dry! Undergrads of any discipline are welcome to apply, and don’t be put off if you’re not a finance or business student.
Associate internships are available in global markets and investment banking so if you are keen to expand your knowledge in these areas you better be studying towards an MBA. Like the analyst internships, associate schemes kick off with a week of training, which should get you ready for the work you’ll undertake – this can be anything from working on transactions, restructuring and projects with your communicative side coming in handy for the high levels of client interaction.
Nomura also hires penultimate-year students eager to spend a six or twelve-month industrial placement with the firm in the operations, IT and finance divisions. If this sounds like something you should do, keep an eye open for the placements that pop up sporadically during the year.
First-year students who have 300 UCAS points under their belt can apply for a three-day programme running over Easter. This should give you a first peek at the firm and the industry – while you can’t expect to get involved in heavy workload, you may be able to land an internship later on. First year female university students (or second year in a four-year course) looking for first-hand experience in investment banking should consider Nomura’s Women's Immersion Program. This two week programme (generally held over Easter) will have you spend real time with a specific desk as well as attend numerous presentations and skills training and of course work and mingle with bankers at all levels. A great way to get a feel for the industry and get a first foot in the door. Not surprisingly, positions are coveted so you’ll not only need to demonstrate initiative, leadership and teamwork but also master English and preferably have a second European language under your belt.
Nomura Graduate Recruitment Info
Graduate programme info:
Length of grad programme: 2-3 years
Application deadline: 1 November 2013
Approximate intern hires in 2012-2013: Not disclosed
Length of internship: 10 weeks or 3-6 months
Winter intake - 3 November 2013;
Spring and summer intake - 5 January 2014;
Insight programmes (women's immersion and explore) - 12 January 2014;
Regional - ongoing
No. of employees worldwide: 28,000
No. of employees in the UK: 3,500
Other benefits: Competitive
Global Markets, IB & Corporate Infrastructure
Do some research on the company, especially how the company is doing in everyday affairs. Do some practice interviews. Have some standard answers prepared, or situations for teamwork, leadership, initiative, etc. ready so that you know what to say!Helpful?
By far best office location I've worked at. Office is located by Monument tube station. Dress code is regular business attire (suit/tie) with a casual day on friday. There is an on-site gym for employees and an excellent cafeteria on the 6th floor with a terrace that overlooks the Thames river.Helpful?
I was treated as a fellow analyst, and never felt different. I worked VERY closely with senior bankers throughout my internship.Helpful?
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1 Angel Lane
London EC4R 3AB
No. of offices worldwide: Approx. 48 in over 30 countries