‘I was one of the 5 interns who was called for a meeting with the Chairman’- Sumesh Sekhar- IIFT, Edelweiss Summer Intern 2013

I interned with Edelweiss during my summer. I was allotted to the Retail Finance department. This department did not recruit management students as the other departments did. So, in comparison to the other interns I got a mentor who was the senior vice-president of the department rather than an executive with 2-3 years of experience.

edelweiss

By the look of it, it seemed great but it also brought with it a fair share of challenges and expectations. My project was to carry out process benchmarking for my department with other competitors which included both banks and NBFCs. This is a relatively new department and Edelweiss wants to capitalise on the favourable factors gathering in the economy to expand their sales volume. For this there is a need of a perfect system which would exhibit high levels of efficiency and flexibility. Any project could be taken as a project that would not be decisive for the company or you could really turn this into one. I feel every project title might not seem as a great one at sight but there is always the chance to make it happening. The secret to it is that any information has to be presented in a special way to create the impact. And one phrase that will hold reverence for me throughout my life is “to do things differently”. I literally spent hours at work just thinking of different ways and means in which I could increase the scope of my project.

My mentor cited ‘duplication’ as a major reason for the inefficiency in the home loans and mortgage process from application to disbursement. I had to chalk out the processes that the competitors undertook for their business and strategise their application at Edelweiss. I knew that I would have to first understand the internal processes clearly to later move onto data collection and comparison. The most certain thing was that there would be a delay in document collection which eventually made credit executives verify the same documents again. But in the pursuit of doing things differently and after noticing that there had been a high reject rate of loan applications in the past six months, I analysed the data and executed 3 models of data mining on the data with the help of a software called clementine to get a startling relation between the customer demographics and the reason why their cases got rejected. If re-occurence of such demographics among prospective customers would happen and the company would take proactive action, it could cut down on the massive rate of duplication of work which also happened to include time and effort of the employees in cases which later got rejected.

After 2 weeks in the office it was now time to move out and meet agents and employees for my data collection of the competitors. This would mean that I would be the only Edelweiss intern who would have to wander around in the glaring sun for my project for almost a month. The problem with this was that its always difficult  to prove your diligence and sincerity in your personal absence. But I decided to prefer my project objectives over all the sensitivity. I framed parameters on the basis of which I would collect data and also compare the corporates. The basic problem here was that this industry primarily ran on the company-agent relations because it were eventually the agents and tie-ups which brought business to the companies. To solely rely on their information would also be misguiding as their was a high chance of bias since it was so strongly guided by interpersonal relations. To beat this I made up my mind to meet as many agents and employees as possible to negate the bias. Now these agents were pretty busy humans and to ask for their time was indeed a crime. So, I had to travel in many cases with these agents to whichever place they went and extract information on the journey. These journeys made me wander most of the suburban railway system in Mumbai.

Along with the main project I also took up to CSR project for Edelweiss’ CSR wing EdelGive where I had to prepare a financial manual with a donor perspective and also formulate a simple MIS for the NGO to control their expenses and budget. For the latter I developed the Tally accounting system in Microsoft Excel for the NGO.In the mean time I got reprimanded for an accident at the guest house which resulted in damage of the LCD TV and inappropriate behaviour in the company resort related to drinking on day 51. I was totally sure that I would not get any offer from this company whatsoever. But I did not want to cause a bad image for the college and also in the process hinder the chances of my college mates, so I decided to give by best in what I was good at – presentation.

On day 56 I had my social project presentation which went very well.

On day 58 I had my final project presentation where I showed my findings to the top management, prepared a perceptual map for Edelweiss in contrast to the competitors according to my findings and also gave some strategic solutions as to develop a process communication system for the applicants to know their status during the process and also look for more agent engagement alternatives to build the interpersonal relations. I was finally applauded by the CEO of my department for the presentation.

Day 59 had come by and I still did not have the faintest of a clue of what was in store for me. I got the ‘best social project award’ on that day by the group HR. And finally on the last day I was one of the five interns who was called for a meeting with the Chairman. This was the happiest moment of the two months and I really had to wait till the last day, go through all the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ to get what I was praying for throughout. It was really coming from the bottom to the top in 9 days !

One thing to learn is that over and above all the tips you may receive to build networks and develop cordial relations with co-employees, the deal still rests on the fact that are you delivering with respect to your project objectives. The objective of performance should and must supersede all other anxilliary objectives that you may be aware of during your MBA life. To add to that summer internships are defined to be opportunities where a management student gets to practically apply his/her theoretical learning. But this definition should not merely remain as some wise words because the value that one adds to one’s simple work from one’s immense knowledge gathered over the years can really bear fruits if tried sincerely. I did not expect to have such an amazing and interesting time during my internship but Edelweiss has really given me the most memorable moments to cherish and learn – and for that fact – a lot to ‘learn’.

Thank you Edelweiss :)

 

– Sumesh Sarkar, IIFT Delhi

 

This is was one of the TOP 5 entries in the InsideIIM Summer Saga Contest 2013

To read more Summer Internship experiences on InsideIIM-

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