It was a bright sunny morning in the first week of April and the iconic blue glass tinted building of ICICI headquarters at Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai stood right in the middle of the large corporate park, looking simply stunning to the enthusiastic bright young interns handpicked from premier B-schools in India for one of the most important parts of their MBA journey – the Summer Internship.
It looked like a great gathering of corporate professionals where people were dressed in closed neck formals and put their best behavior forward. As the interns arrived at the iconic building, they were assisted by the amicable security team to the designated venue.
One of the things which made a really strong impact on us as interns was the grandeur of the place. As soon as we reached near the entrance, the gates opened up by themselves and the aura of the interiors of the headquarters immediately cast an impression on us. It was a great feeling and we entered into the headquarters with our heads held high and our hearts filled with pride to be working with one of the biggest banks in the country which had now become part of the foundation stone for the Indian economy and had been honoured with the massive title of too big to fail.
Besides the grandeur and the aura which struck all interns alike, there was another remarkable thing which clearly stood out and that was how ICICI had maintained the perfect balance between the heritage of being an iconic bank which revolutionized the banking sector in India and being young and changing at the same time.
So, as soon as we entered the reception, there was a huge colourful display of the key belief of the people at ICICI – “Be the new”. We stood gazing at this amazing piece of art adorning the reception of the headquarters of one of the most iconic banks of the country. A pleasant young woman guided us to the venue which was the grand auditorium where the induction ceremony was scheduled for the internship batch of 2019. We walked towards the auditorium with mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement, and soon, all the interns were seated inside the auditorium.
After all the commotion had subsided and all interns were seated peacefully, we were welcomed by the campus engagement team at ICICI who had been our point of contact for the entire onboarding and pre-internship formalities. They informed us about the schedule for the day and profile of the speakers who would interact with us as the day progresses.
The induction program began with a short presentation about the history of ICICI bank and its journey towards becoming one of the biggest banks in India. It was a very inspiring presentation and by the end of the presentation, the respect and pride which the interns held for ICICI bank had compounded many times over.
This was followed by sessions regarding the organizational culture at ICICI and interaction with the senior management including the heads of various business verticals. By lunchtime, we had had multiple engaging sessions with some of the finest leaders in the Indian banking industry and we had a much clearer understanding about the functioning of the bank and the challenges that lay in front of us.
The lunch was a joy to behold since there was a large buffet spread with a huge variety of cuisines. It was a foodie’s paradise. We quickly grabbed lunch and prepared for the post-lunch events which were mostly inbound fun activities and interaction with the best intern award recipients of the previous internship batches, so that they could guide us as to how we could go about the project and what was expected out of us during the two-month long summer internship. It was a very insightful session and we had a lot to learn from them.
After the session ended, we had a small break and after the break, we were informed about our guides and mentors with whom we would be working for our summer internship project. All of us were given briefs about the internship project and thus, the induction program ended and the interns dispersed to their respective hotels. The next day, all the interns were asked to report to their respective offices for their project initiation.
At this point it is very important to highlight two great things about the culture at ICICI bank – first they believe in building talent and not buying talent and second that they believe in the philosophy of “Saath Aapka”. Broadly saying, in line with the philosophy of building talent and not buying talent, a lot of emphasis is laid on nurturing the existing employees to take up higher positions in future and this philosophy trickles down to the entry points such as summer internship for management cadre and as a result all the interns were given very interesting and challenging projects to work on. It involved not just sitting at a desk but going around and meeting lots and lots of new people within the company and outside.
As for “Saath Aapka” philosophy of ICICI bank, the senior management makes it a point that the business and the employees are not two separate entities but one single entity, and hence, the growth in business will come about only when the people grow. Therefore, the focus of the entire senior management is not just on achieving the targets but ensuring that while the targets are being met, the individual undertaking the task also learns and grows in the process.
I did my summer internship projects in the HR department spanning across various HR functions. It gave me an opportunity to interact with a lot of people not just in the HR department but in many business departments as well. ICICI has an open door policy and I was told that I could literally just walked into the cabins of the senior executives and speak with them. I was hesitant at first but after my first interaction, I found out that it was how things worked at ICICI bank and it was greatly appreciated by people that we shun all boundaries because they exist only in the minds of the people.
At times, it was difficult to get time from the senior executives as they were the busiest people in the organization but whenever I met the business leaders, they gave me great insights regarding my project and finally the entire project was successfully executed.
I was happy with the progress of the project and senior leaders were very impressed with my recommendations but the challenge which stood before me now was perhaps even bigger than the project itself. It was the implementation of the recommendations before the internship came to an end. At this point, my guide and my mentor helped me a great deal by connecting me to the right people who could help me with the execution part of the project.
The project got a little hasty towards the end as some of the trials we had planned didn’t exactly go as we had expected them to go but finally after surpassing minor hiccups, the project was implemented full-fledged and before my final presentation, the project was up and running.
My work was greatly appreciated by all the esteemed judges in my review panel who were senior leaders from various business verticals and finally, I was awarded a Pre-Placement Offer (PPO) from ICICI bank.
Summer internship at ICICI bank was one of the best things which happened to me during my MBA journey and I feel very fortunate to have worked with such amazing guides and mentor who not just helped me with my project but were also the best people to hang out with during the internship period.
In the last week of my internship, the HR team organized a great farewell party in one of the finest resorts in Khandala. It was a great experience. There were so many inbound and outbound activities available in the resort that you could participate in and to make things even better, the food was heavenly.
The entire day was so much fun that I never realized just how quickly it ended.