The internship with SMBC was far beyond my expectation. I had a great time there and truly learned a lot about banking industry and Japan’s economic policy from bankers whose perspectives are very different from what I’ve learned in classroom.
The two-week internship had very tight schedule. We met different groups from various departments in SMBC as well as affiliated companies such as Nikko Securities, listening to presentations and discussing with employees about the business and about banking industry in general. We were also arranged to eat lunch with different groups every day. By the way, the dining room and cafeteria within SMBC were great! People have really good company benefits there. The casual chats during lunch and coffee break were the part that I enjoyed the most. It was a great chance for me to learn about Japan and about Japanese people.
I really appreciated how employees spent time talking with us. Given the short duration of the internship, it was impossible for us to do any real work or make any contributions. It was a series of learning sessions and employees contributed their time preparing presentations and answering our questions. This internship is a mirror that can partially reflect how Japan or Japanese companies are doing in internationalization. Our group leaders often emphasized how we, as international interns, could bring fresh ideas and different perspectives to the team, which was something that SMBC benefited from the internship.
This is a great internship and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a taste of working in Japan and to deepen their understanding on Japan’s banking industry and macro economy. The more you know in advance, the deeper you can communicate with employees and the more you can benefit from the internship. However, I don’t know how helpful it could be for job hunting in Japan. The internship is not designed as a step towards future job in banking industry in Japan or abroad, but it would definitely help to some extent.