Nehal Garg is an IIM Lucknow alumnus, class of 2021. She is also a qualified Chartered Accountant with 2.5 years of work experience. At IIML, she is an Institute Rank Holder and a core member of the college Admissions Committee, Team Ignicion. In this interview, Nehal talks about her summer placement preparation, how she switched domains from finance to marketing, her experience at Amazon as a Marketing Manager intern, and what did she do differently to bag a PPO from Amazon. Let’s dig right into it!
1. Hi Nehal, being a CA what led your interest in Marketing?
I was always creative and curious at heart, and I am lucky to have realized it early on. While writing my CA final exams, I had decided that I will give myself at least one opprtunity to try my hand at marketing. So I left a ‘prestigious, well-paying’ accounting job, and interned at a few startups to test waters. And there was no looking back. For two years I worked in marketing strategy roles, and was confident I want to ‘see myself here even after 5 years!’
2. Tell us in brief about how you prepared for summer placement interviews?
Unlike most others, I was preparing exclusively for marketing roles. So my preparation included everything in between:
- HR answers and CV preparation
- Group discussions
- Key concepts and frameworks
- Marketing cases/GTM strategies
- Market sizing, guesstimates
- Analysis of advertisements
- Scope of marketing roles that come to campus
- Insights on retail industry
- Product lines and brand portfolios
- Latest initiatives, news, sustainability goals
- Favourite brands, products and ads
3. Any special placement preparation you did for the Amazon interview?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, Amazon’s interview process is very different from all other marketing interviews. I first read through and understood Amazon’s leadership principles (LPs), and tried to gather instances from work or otherwise where I had put them to practice. There will definitely be specific questions around these. Other than the LPs, I learnt about Amazon’s businesses, new ventures, and went through the Amazon marketplace app to familiarize myself with the user experience. I also prepared for questions such as ‘how would you go about introducing an XX new category on the Amazon app.’
4. How does the summer internship process look like for Amazon?
Amazon has a rather straightforward summer internship process. They come for over 5-7 roles, and candidates have to apply for their top three preferences. Shortlists are announced close to the placement week, on the basis of candidate’s CV and preferred roles. On the day of the interview, you will have a 40-50 minute interaction with a panel with questions on LPs and domain-specific scenarios.
5. What were the reasons according to you that helped in cracking the interview?
It was a mix of my preparation and how I could think on my feet at that time. The interview lasted for an hour, and there was a lot of cross questioning. So I consciously made sure that I did not lose structure and took a few seconds to think through my answers every time before I spoke. Also I feel it is important to make it seem more like a conversation than an interrogation, so I kept my energies high, asked questions and requested feedback.
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6. Tell us about the day to day work as an intern at Amazon?
Honestly, no two days at Amazon were the same. I interned with the Amazon Foods team, and the energy here was always high. Most days would include interacting with sellers/merchants, customers, people from other departments at Amazon (all of whom were extremely helpful), and leaders from my own team. Some days were only about research, others about not making great strides. But I took one day at a time.
There were daily catchups with my manager to check if I needed help and if I was moving in the right direction, but I was given complete complete freedom to nurture my project the way I wanted to.
7. What according to you, you did right to bag the PPO from Amazon?
Three simple yet effective ideas that worked wonders: (a) Do not stay stuck at a stage for more than 2-3 days, because 8 weeks is a really short duration. Raise flags or reach out; (b) Don’t expect all your ideas, research, suggestions to be accepted, and don’t get demotivated when they’re not. Trust the process; and (c) seek feedback from your manager, but more importantly, close-loop on the feedback.
8. What are the most cherished moments from your internship?
Has to be the day of my final review with the leaders. I thought I had totally messed up my presentation and had lost my chance at the PPO. But later my manager called to say that my presentation went well, and that he was happy with how I’d performed. His words of encouragement meant the world!
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9. One piece of advice to the aspirants who want to change their previous domain or want to start a career in Marketing?
If you want to switch domains, I’d say just go for it. It won’t be the easiest, but trust me you’ll have numerous opportunities on campus such as clubs & committees, case competitions, online courses/electives, independent studies with professors, etc. where you can build a story for yourself and gather points to show intent on your CV. Prepare well for your interviews, and you’ll hit home!
10. You are an Institute Rank Holder; one advice you would like to give on managing academic rigour as well as preparation for Summers?
I think what worked best for me was being attentive in classes. I barely missed any classes during the first two trimesters, and that with little effort afterwards was enough to get me through the exams. Hence, I could pull out a lot of time to prepare for summers.
InsideIIM presents the 8th Season of Summer Saga where you can share your bizarre, enriching, a-little-difficult-yet-fun experiences with everyone and win prizes for the same. We have changed the rules in the eighth season. You don't need to wait for your internship to end in order to share your experience. Instead, it will be a digital diary, where you will be able to document your learnings and experiences, during your stint.
Take part in Summer Saga 2021 now! Fill out Digital Diary 1 below using this link!
TIMELINE, PROCESS AND RULES
- You don't need to register on InsideIIM.com or on the Kampus App to take part in Summer Saga Season 8. Simply share your experiences in the Digital Diary. To maintain standardisation, every Digital Diary will have a few questions that you'll need to answer.
- Access all the Digital Diaries forms from here. You will receive Digital Diaries from us on the following dates:
-Digital Diary 1 - 02.05.2021
-Digital Diary 2 - 09.05.2021
-Digital Diary 3 - 23.05.2021
-Digital Diary 4 - 06.06.2021
-Digital Diary 5 - 20.06.2021
- After 20th June, we will collate your entries as a single article and share the same with the same.
- Your overall submission will be evaluated on the following parameters:
-Completeness: This depends on the number of Digital Diaries you have filled.
-Value Addition: This depends on how in-depth your answers have been. The score for this parameter will be given by our Judges.
-Reach: This depends on how many unique people have read your internship experience once we publish the article. We maintain fair play, we will publish all the articles on the same day, so that you can also share the same in your network.
- There is also a title called, ‘Campus With The Most Interesting Interns’ that will be awarded to (a) the campus that submits the maximum number of entries and (b) the campus that submits the best quality entries (based on the score given by our judges). The minimum entries from campus to be considered for this title is 10. So, if you want your campus to win the title then make sure your classmates and other students from your b school share their experiences in this year's Summer Saga Competition.
PRIZES TO WIN
This competition is broadly divided into four categories. Refer to the table below to know more about prizes in each category.
Banking and Finance
Sales, Marketing and General Management
HR, Consulting and Others
|1st Prize||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000|
|Runner Up||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000|
The 1st Prize winner will also get a one-hour 1-on-1 career guidance session with an industry stalwart, from our panel of mentors in Kounsel.
ABOUT THE JUDGES
Every year, we have Campus Managers from some of the top companies (such as Reliance, HSBC, Flipkart, ABG, HUL, TAS, etc) judging the annual Summer Saga competition. We will release the details of the judges of Summer Saga Season 8 soon!
Check out the previous year's winners!
Maybe this will help you reflect and recall these two months as well (which can come in handy when appearing for interviews in the future). InsideIIM is the perfect platform to chronicle your experiences, your highs, your lows and everything in between.