So this past week aptly embodies the saying ‘work hard, play hard’. I learned about Structured Finance and met with numerous senior managers and associates during the week. For our last day we prepared and delivered a presentation to senior managers, ending our brief tenure in the division. After successfully grasping our hands around Structured Finance, we moved onto Securitization and Asset Finance. Finally, after another long, yet exciting workweek, a bunch of interns met up and explored the always-energized Roppongi. Some of us went to a place called Odaiba the next day where we found one of the most relaxing and awesome onsens (Japanese hot spring) I have ever dipped into.
Monday was our first day with SFD (Structured Finance Division), and our first official day working in a BTMU/MUFG branch. Prior to this all the interns collaborated with President’s Award winners, first-year hires, and performed in the Young American musical. All of that was incredibly fun, but now the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a real Japanese working environment at last presented itself. There are eight departments within SFD, and we were lucky enough to meet with all of them and learn about their respective business ventures. For example, managers from Project Finance, Special Finance, Fund Investment, etc made presentations to us. We also had lunch with a different department every day. It was a great way to get to know the staff better in a more casual setting. Our last meal on Wednesday exemplifies this. We met with Real Estate Finance in the morning, and for lunch, we went and bought bento boxes (Japanese boxed lunches) and took them to the Imperial Palace’s grounds. We sat on this beautiful open green field and just ate and chatted. Real Estate Finance brought us to Roppongi Hills later that afternoon following the conclusion of all our meetings. BTMU helped finance Roppongi Hills, which is known as one of Tokyo’s most fancy and expensive districts. It was cool to see the physical manifestation of the projects these departments invested millions of dollars into. The following day we prepared our final presentation and presented in front of SFD’s senior management team. We made a twenty-minute presentation followed by a ten-minute Q&A from the viewers. When creating our Powerpoint we found it difficult finding the balance between effectively showing our comprehension of SFD and just regurgitating what we learned and what the managers already know. It worked out though and we closed our session with suggestions for the future and reflections of our short stint in SFD. We received a large applause and all the senior managers were very complimentary. Their encouraging comments made us feel great and proud of the presentation we put forth. Working with SFD was definitely a great experience and I hope to see some of the division’s employees before my time in Japan comes to an end.
After SFD, I moved to Securitization and Asset Finance, followed by Syndicated Finance. I do not want to be a bore and list everything we learned, but at the same time would like to express my thanks for the departments’ hospitality and kindness. We seriously get treated like guests and it is so cool to see how passionate BTMU’s employees are about their work. Their enthusiasm for their respective craft definitely has a rub-off effect, making me want to work hard and impress in our various presentations. We have also been treated on multiple occasions to absolutely delicious meals, both western and Japanese style.
Now, going back through my previous three entries yielded a disappointing finding: I have been writing almost strictly about my time at BTMU. Do not get me wrong; I am having an absolute blast and sensational time at one of Japan’s dubbed “Mega Banks”. I love its culture, people, and learning about all the different branches’ processes. However, as I stated in my first entry, I did not come to Japan solely to work at a bank and experience a true corporate atmosphere. I came to Japan because I also love the culture and wanted to further dive into and expose myself to it. That sentiment is not particular to me either. There are 15 other interns here in Tokyo working hard and experiencing the same culture shocks, delectable foods, and overly crowded trains that make you want to scream, “Oh my gosh this is so crowded and I am just screaming because I am scrunched between two large businessmen and can’t do anything about it!” as well. Anyways, in focusing this blog only on BTMU I have definitely and unjustly strayed from our tales of adventures throughout the greater Tokyo area, and there are a lot of them.
So, two weekends ago a bunch of us went to Roppongi to experience Japanese nightlife. All of the guides say it is a must-do while in Japan, so being our adventurous selves, we obliged, naturally. A bunch of us went to an Izakaya, which is a Japanese-style bar. After hanging out there for a while we took the train to Roppongi. Now, this may be my only complaint about Japan, but the trains close after midnight. So when you want to have a bit of a later night, you are going to have to wait until 6am-ish until the trains start up again. We were all well rested and just danced, jammed, and hung out until the sun rose. We all had a great time, and after exhausting and acclimating ourselves to Tokyo’s underrated night district we went home and got some much, much-needed rest.
HOWEVER, the day was far from over, because a mere nap later some of us met up and went to the onsen (Japanese hot spring). This right here was my favorite part of the weekend. We went to Odaiba, which is home to one of only a few onsens in the Tokyo area. I have been to Japan before, but this was one of the coolest and most relaxing onsens I have ever dipped into and cringed because of the exceptional heat. The onsen is called Oedo, and they give you a yukata when you go (cotton kimono). Before going into the actual spring, you are able to go into a little side area that has a bunch of small little pools of water and you can walk around in them. We did that, and then the guys and girls separated and experienced the pinnacle of relaxation for about an hour and a half in the springs.