Moving to London

Three weeks ago, after a lot of hard work, revision and exams I finished second year! It was a good year, with plenty of new and interesting material, and an embedded systems group project which involved creating a networked ‘digital orchestra’ and was a lot of fun. After two weeks at home, I moved to London to begin my summer internship at Morgan Stanley.

After working at ScraperWiki last summer and experiencing the startup work style, I wanted to try something different, and this coupled with my interest in the finance industry lead me to decide to apply for internships at a few investment banks in London. After spending a considerable amount of time filling in online applications, I was given a phone interview by Morgan Stanley, who on the basis of this then invited me to their office in Canary Wharf, London for an assessment day.

This required me to get the train down to London (expenses paid, of course) and spend a full day in the office, taking part in a group exercise and three individual interviews, two of which were technical and one was interpersonal. Before this I’d never really had a formal job interview, let alone multiple ones on the same day, and although it was challenging, it was fairly enjoyable, and at the end of the day I felt I’d done quite well.

My interviewers must have agreed, because a week later I received a phone call telling me I’d gotten the job! Then began the surprisingly difficult process of trying to find accommodation for ten weeks of summer in London. After a lot of looking and inquiries that went nowhere, I managed to find a student looking to transfer the remainder of the contract for their accommodation due to them not planning to stay over the summer. I didn’t visit the flat before moving down, but it worked out well anyway, and it’s small, it’s centrally located in Southwark and is only three stops on the Jubilee line from Canary Wharf, where I could be commuting to each day.

My room isn't the largest, but it does just fine for me.

My accommodation building has a roof terrace with pretty good views of the city, you can see the Houses of Parliment in the distance.

Having not visited London very much in the past, my experience of living here for the past week has really exceeded expectations. There’s history and museums all over the city, tons of great pubs, caf├ęs and restaurants, and events going on all the time. In the time I’ve spent exploring the city, I’ve been discovering more and more things to do while I’m here.

Last weekend I was able to see the parade commemorating the 200th anniversity of the Battle of Waterloo.

As can be expected at such a large organisation, my first week in work has consisted mostly of training and getting to know the people I’ll be working with. Although I haven’t been able to get on with any proper work yet, there’s been quite a few highlights. We had a one day crash course in investment banking, which was very informative and really helped me understand how banks work. There was also a event with free food and drinks for us to get to know our managers, and on Friday I attended a few talks from developers giving an overview on how Morgan Stanley processes FOREX orders, which is the area I’ll be working in during my internship.

So, after a good first week, I’m thoroughly looking forward to the next nine, and hopefully I’ll have plenty more to write about by the end of it!