Once in a while, every MBA student comes across a time when he starts seeing his fellow placement committee friends (aka placecommers) as the angels in disguise. This is the time when you are supposed to get out of your comfort zone and move out to the world for which you were preparing so hard. So, after a year of rigorous academic conditioning, making hundreds of presentations, a number of discussions with mates and faculty about possible career opportunities, the time I mentioned above finally arrived.
Discussions over the table regarding our dream companies, the best management profiles, myths and facts about the corporate culture etc. became a common sight. Students started talking less about the latest shows on Netflix and more about their performance in mock interviews. Desktop screens were now providing shelter home to draft resumes, SOPs, and cover letters. After much preparation and the sincere efforts of the placement team, we all got placed in the profiles of our choice and got ready to embark on a new journey called Internship.
Like every other finance fanatic, I also wanted to join a Big Four firm. And somehow, I managed to get an opportunity to work with Ernst & Young as a summer intern! It would be a lie if I say I was not nervous.
I was nervous but at the same time excited to learn things practically which I have read in the textbooks till now, and to get hands on experience amidst the typical corporate setting. I joined my internship with high hopes and great zeal and I must admit the experience I got while working in the organization was more than enough to do justice to my hopes and expectations.
The first day of my internship, I was told about the work culture of EY as well as how to converse with the clients and the learning objectives and outcomes of the internship. It was really fascinating to see how much the organization cares for its cultural sanctity and its human resources. I was later assigned to a team working on an internal audit project for a company.
Though I was totally oblivious to the concepts of an internal audit, the team members helped me gaining the relevant key insights into the whole process from the scratch. Being an intern, the work initially assigned to me needed less rigor which grew exponentially in proportion to my internship time period. The most interesting phase of an internal audit is the brain storming part. We used to have sessions over coffee concerning the internal financial controls of the company and what can go wrong if they are not properly followed.
I was also involved in the preparation of the risk matrix wherein the possible risks along with the severity of the loss is mentioned corresponding to every financial control. As the days passed by, my work grew, both in rigor and hardness, involving much more precision than before. Reaching home at 10 became the new normal. Leaving the office at 12 AM was not uncommon. Now, I was communicating with the various stakeholders at the client side on a daily basis for the relevant data.
The work required continuous focus, and the scope for error was negligible. But, that’s what it was supposed to be. The internship is to an MBA student what a test match is to a cricketer. The ultimate objective of an internship along with honing your business acumen is to prepare you for the unprecedented deadlines, the harsh competition and to strengthen your will so that you don’t breakdown so early. It was not easy for me to stare at the laptop screen for hours and hours straight, nor was it convenient to wake up at 8 in the morning but I never expected it to be.
Whenever I stumbled across a difficult task, my team members were always there to help me out. Times when I used to feel like the things are getting unmanageable, my mentor always supported me in every way by accommodating my requests alongside the work. He used to tell me to look at it as a learning and take a lesson on how to manage the stress and work load and still deliver the tasks assigned in the given deadlines.
By the time my internship approached its end, I had learnt about the various facets of an internal audit, how to leverage the excel tools to make tasks easier, how to streamline and schedule the workflow to make the maximum out of the time, the importance of maintaining the relations with your seniors and colleagues, significance of taking out a little time out of the busy schedule to have some snacks late in the evening with the team members and last but not the least the art of perseverance and endurance when the going gets tough so that you can shine later.
I intend to incorporate the learnings in my life and leverage the knowledge gained as I advance in my career path.