Exploring NISM’s New Campus: Our Penultimate Week in India
Max and Arran, our interns from Newcastle and Groningen tell us more about their penultimate week working at NISM in Mumbai, India.
Another week begins at NISM, the usual routine starts as Solunke picks us up at the usual time, happy to see us as ever. The goal of the week was to finish the first drafts of the project. Arran and Max ran into some issues with statistical software when trying to generate our models. Luckily, we got help from an unexpected corner: Mr Akhlaque, specialist in Econometrics and Quantitative Finance. Mr Akhlaque helped us solve some issues in R and EViews, which blocked our progress towards estimating models of digital payment systems. Everyone did their own thing in the early evening as a few went to the gym and a few went for a couple of cold ones. We personally did the latter…
Once more we were summoned in the morning to the conference room, with Mr. Ghose and some other NISM management staff. They were kindly checking up on how we were doing, asking if we had any problems and suggested things for us to do. This consisted of many warnings of the danger of some street food! We are slowly starting to realise that the internship is coming to an end soon. One of our supervisors, Sandeep, let us know he set our presentations in no more than 7 days, meaning that we should be concluding our projects very soon. We finished the day constructing tables based on the data we had collected from our surveys which the NISM staff helpfully filled out for us. We also had collected data from nearby vendors which proved incredibly difficult to come by given the language barrier, however was valuable when we got it done. The evening was spent chilling in the apartment whilst a few worked out, but everyone got together before bed to watch another Tarantino classic, Kill Bill.
Wednesday morning started off a bit earlier than usual for Memo, Max and Sander (Edinburgh). They joined the NISM representatives for the inauguration of NISM’s new interactive kiosk for financial education at Canara bank next to Asia’s largest slum: Dharavi. This kiosk is set up by the National Centre for Financial Education, and aims to improve financial literacy in India. People can use these kiosks to read, obtain information and test their knowledge on financial matters. For this reason the inauguration was in Dharavi, where many Indians live in bad conditions and are not aware of most basic financial services. Mr. Ghose gave an inspiring speech about the goals of the project, and the determination that the first hundred kiosks set out in India’s poorest areas will be successful in improving financial literacy. During the night Sandeep took us out for dinner and drinks in a colourful rooftop restaurant, where we could experience once again the different tastes of the Indian cuisine.
After some McDonald’s coffee transformed our morning into a productive one, we hopped onto the big white and blue bus for our journey to a new destination for the next 24 hours: NISM’s brand new campus. The campus is based in Patalganga, a small town a little over an hour away from Vashi’s office. It has only been fully operational for a week for only one NISM program, but from August onwards more courses will be provided here. Upon arrival we got guided to our rooms for the night, when we realised we were in a place more modern and luxurious than we have been so far. Everyone had their own room including a balcony with a view over the campus. As the test persons that we are, we had to try out every facility available to us: table tennis, basketball and some intense games of Marco Polo in the pool. We ended the day watching a film on Cam’s (Edinburgh) iPad, sitting in awkward positions on the floor such that everyone was able to watch the screen (we missed our good ol’ HDMI-cable).
Many of us argued that we had our best night sleep during our internship. Just a fun fact. After breakfast in the canteen, we got ready for our lecture on private equity in India. This rapidly turned into a dialogue between the professor and our boy Oyvind (Edinburgh), firing question after question and getting into the fine details of capital gains taxation and growth prospects of global P.E. investments. Later that day we strolled down over the campus, did some work for our projects, and went for a final swim in the rain before going back to Mumbai. To celebrate this productive, and last “full” week of the internship we got some drinks in a local bar and played some card games.