This summer, I embarked on a six-week internship to the National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) in Mumbai. I saw this internship as an opportunity for both professional and personal development. India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with an ever increasing amount of people becoming involved in their financial markets. There aren’t many better places to learn about the intricacies and inner workings of the Indian financial markets than the lead educational institute in finance in India. Having learnt about the theory of financial markets in my time at university, this internship allowed me the opportunity to put this knowledge into practice. From a personal point of view, India stood as an opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone, having never left Europe before in my life. The opportunity and challenges that lay ahead with regards to culture, climate, food and many more excited me.
Prior to leaving for India, I had several worries and doubts about how my time would go. At the forefront, were the worries about living in India as opposed to working in India. I worried how I would cope with the food, being adverse to the temperate spices we get in the UK. I worried about the potential language barrier given that ‘Namastay’ covered the extent of my Hindi. Stories of the monsoon combined with 35-degree humid heat had me appreciating the Scottish summer. Generally, the potential clash in cultures that I anticipated was the source of most of my worries, some of which were warranted and others not. Naturally, I had small doubts about what I would be doing in my internship but these were cleared up on the first day.
To say India was a learning experience would be a gross understatement. On an almost daily basis, we had a session in the finance lab where we were hooked up to the live Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE). As I said previously, having learnt the theory, this was the perfect insight into how stock markets actually function. In the labs, we were instructed how to place orders, how to properly analyse trends and fundamentals and we learnt the importance of transaction costs to the private investor, an element greatly overlooked during my university course. The excitement generated through these sessions motivated me to open my own market account and have now began trading myself, with mixed success I may add. We had several days spent outside of the institute, excursions to SEBI (the market regulator) and the Royal Bank of India which proved to be very insightful. We also worked on a research project to do with the levels of financial literacy and inclusion in India. The low levels of financial literacy and inclusion in India, and in any developing nation, stand as a large hurdle to the progress of the financial system and by extension the economic and social progress of these nations. And finally, you can fit 8 people in an auto-rickshaw in India.