The world of finance as deemed by many is a challenging one. It requires not only intelligence to grasp concepts, but to apply them in a real world scenario where even a shift in decimal can lead to loss or gain of billions is altogether a different challenge. The commercial banking industry in India is considered by many interested in finance as a lucrative long term career option. Axis Bank, being one of them, has been hiring from some of the top B-schools of the country for their various divisions be it treasury, corporate banking or retail banking for some time now.
This edition of Internship ‘K’ronicles brings to you the summer internship experience of PGP18 student of IIM Kozhikode, Vicky Pande who interned in Axis Bank, Mumbai. Vicky, has completed his honours in Economics from St. Xaviers’s Kolkata prior to joining IIM Kozhikode. Vicky is a fresher and is currently a member of the Economics, Politics and Social Sciences society of IIM Kozhikode.
Q1. What was the domain and role offered to you by Axis Bank?
I was offered a summer internship project in the Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) which is a part of the Corporate Banking division of Axis Bank Limited.
Q2. Was any prior preparation necessary for the role that was given to you?
The role that I was given required a complete understanding of the Reserve Bank of India circulars on Special Mention Accounts (SMA). So prior to my internship I had to read a bit on the current changes introduced by RBI in SMA accounts. It required me to understand the current NPA(No performing Asset) situation of the country’s leading banks.
Q3. Describe the project assigned to you in brief. What were the main challenges you faced?
The project that was assigned to me was in a new domain altogether. The whole idea of Special Mention Account has been introduced from the financial year 2014-15. My role was to analyse the industries and the regions where most of the SMA reporting has taken place and to identify the early signals of stress in some accounts that could have served as a precautionary measure. I was also required to give recommendations to safeguard the credit interests of the bank.
Q4. What were the main challenges you faced in your summer internship project?
The project topic was a little complex and required a thorough background research on the NPA situation of the country as SMA seeks to create a pre NPA stage which is used to prevent NPAs from occurring. This is where my project buddy and mentor sat with me and helped me grasp the essence of how the SMA system functions.
Q5. How much relevance did the internship have with what you learnt in your 1st year of MBA, esp. in finance? Was there any specific course which helped you?
A part of my summer internship project required a deep understanding of financial ratios, viz., activity ratios, liquidity ratios, solvency ratios and profitability ratios. These ratios were being frequently used to analyse the financial health of the banks and other institutions. Therefore, knowledge of financial accounting proved to be very helpful during the course of the internship.
Q6. The PPI/PPO process is one of the most sought after aspects about the summer internship. What was the process like for you?
Axis Bank has a policy of offering PPIs to the summer interns on the basis of their summer projects. There were quite a few evaluative criteria to determine whether an intern would get a PPI or not. Firstly, the project buddy and mentor would be marking us on our performance in the 8 week summer internship. Secondly, there was a significant weightage on our project presentation that was evaluated by an external team to make the process unbiased. Thirdly, we were also required to carry out an extra-curricular activity of either making a video or publishing a magazine in order to describe our internship experience at Axis Bank. Finally, we were also being evaluated by our program manager continuously.
Q7. How has your understanding of the commercial banking industry evolved during your internship?
In the first week of our internship we had an induction program that provided us about the holistic knowledge about the different departments at Axis Bank and how it has been performing vis-à-vis its competitors. Sky is the limit for the commercial banking players at the moment as the government is increasingly focussing on financial inclusion to provide banking services to the underprivileged section of the society. This not only provides the commercial Indian Banks with a lot of opportunity to increase their business, but the opportunity comes with additional risk to the bank as well. Hence the need to devise special products to cater to the section.
Q8. Axis Bank recruits from some of the top B-schools in the country. What was your experience of interacting with other B-school interns?
I had healthy interactions with a lot of like-minded interns during my summer internship stint. The ice breaking session during the first day of internship was very unique and a great way of being introduced to several new people. The extra-curricular activity that we took part in helped the interns bond very well with one another.
Q9. Since you were a fresher, what were some of the challenges you faced in your first professional experience?
The way my project guide and the HR mentored me, helped in easing any pressure or tension that I had prior to joining. My summer internship never seemed like a formal work experience due to the way it was structured. I was given full autonomy to steer my project towards successful completion whatever way I wanted.
Q10.What was the most significant takeaway from your summer internship in Axis Bank?
The most significant takeaway was the new relationships I formed with a lot of people and made great friends besides the exposure that I got from working in one of the top private banks of country.
Q11. Suggest atleast three key points why the commercial banking sector can be a considered as a good career option for a finance enthusiast?
The commercial banking industry is experiencing an unprecedented growth phase and hence is a good career option for those interested in entering into finance roles. The commercial banking sector offers a diverse set of roles including business banking, transaction banking, wealth advisor, treasury etc. which provide tremendous opportunities to learn and grow. Commercial banking is about focussing on companies as well as individuals and use the expertise in spotting opportunities to provide benefits to the customers.
Q12.What were some of the other roles/divisions that were given to other interns?
The interns were given a wide variety of roles spread over several departments. In corporate relationship group, interns got roles under the strategic initiatives group and syndication departments. Under corporate banking roles were also offered in the treasury department as well as the stressed assets department. Interns from across B-schools were offered roles in human resource, strategy, retail lending and digital marketing.
Q13.What advice would you like to give to your junior batch about internship in the commercial banking sector of India?
The commercial banking space has very high growth prospects in the context of the Indian economy. Taking the example of Axis Bank specifically, it is an organization that has one of the best work cultures. The work-life balance aspect which people often crib about being absent in the finance industry, is perfect in Axis Bank. Our project guides and mentors were very helpful and always motivated us throughout the tenure of our summer internship.
Interview Conducted by
Koustav Pal - Media cell, IIM Kozhikode
This article has been complied by the Media Cell of IIM Kozhikode as part of the ‘Internship Kronicles’ series. For further information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org