My Internship Story At Ocwen Financial Solutions – Saunak From IIM Calcutta
From the world of academics to the corporate setup – summer internship bridges the gap and provides the most crucial transformation in the life of every B-School student. After a year of case studies, projects and theoretical rigor, it is now time to apply those learnings in the real life assignments. Having a prior work experience with one of India’s leading public sector banks, I always aimed to intern for a Financial Organization and I was lucky enough to be offered a summer internship role with Ocwen Financials, one of the leading non-banking Mortgage Service and asset management companies, in their Mumbai office.
I will begin with the most important sell point of Ocwen, their tagline which says “Helping home-owners is what we do”. Indeed working for an organization whose business is majorly unknown to most of Indians including me before joining the organization, I guess this line itself sums up the major focal point of our job and working for an asset profile and loan servicing which represents a major chunk of perhaps the most significant economy of the world, USA, it has been a great addition to my resume and the experience I gained in the 9 weeks time helped me to gain a wider perspective of the global mortgage industry.
Initially I was assigned a couple of projects working for the Servicing Transaction management Team which is responsible for on-boarding of new loans and coordinating with all the departments present, though as I imbibed gradually within the setup I was handed additional responsibilities as well enhancing my skill sets. My initial projects were “Developing a Due Diligence Questionnaire and review of Loans during the On-Boarding Processes as well as enhancing the financial viability of the loans” and “Developing Logic and rule-sets to track exception reporting during on-boarding and de-boarding of loans”.
The aspect which amazes me the most is the presence of fluidity and the flat hierarchy of the organization. Even being a rookie I was assigned under the direct mentorship of their Senior Vice Presidents, and each leader including the President of India operation was easily accessible and always eager to help us out. The major challenge for me was to learn the details of mortgage servicing industry which is a highly regulated one involving legal complexities to a greater depth.
First thing I did, was a thorough review of the industry, the major challenges and the current scenario. Next I tried to understand in depth the working of my organization, the roles of various departments from a holistic point of view as well as the major stake-holders involved in my project. One thing I have learnt that whenever you wish to succeed in a corporate culture you need to clear your doubts first and never feel shy to ask questions. I was thankful to the entire leadership team for taking the pain to answer each of my most trivial doubts while guiding me through the entire assignment.
One of the major challenges while working for any overseas business is indeed the ability to blend with a different working environment, unique work hours and the markets in which you need to work for. My office hours ranges from 2pm in the afternoon to way past midnight since the bulk of my team was based out of Florida with whom I need to constantly communicate and involve in the development of the Model Questionnaire.
Also at the beginning, the jargons, the figures, the laws and even the scenarios looked a bit odd since I had very little exposure to US debt markets beforehand but once I gained the exposure, it was the most interesting as well as smooth process to work for. We have the e-learning resources, the handbooks, and the helpdesks covering all the details. They also give you the option to choose a different Business Unit on final joining and provide the delightful experience of visiting one of their offices based out on USA.
For my project, I basically needed to co-ordinate with all the departments, understand the major flaws and bottle-necks in the process, provides effective solutions, do a thorough research on the financials of the company and try to improve on the profitability and the productivity factors. One thing I understand through my job is that they need a technological upgradation and homogeneity in the process between different Business Units. I provided solutions to those issues and also tried to ensure that the risk factors associated with any loans are correctly calculated and reduced cases of defaults and delinquency. In short, with a limited resource you need to eye for quality first rather than going for quantitative improvement.
Definitely Culture is one of the most significant aspects for any job, and it is important to understand whether you are able to identify yourself with the culture of the company. Being an US based company, this place boasts of a mixed culture where we celebrate both Lohri and Thanksgiving hand in hand. Christmas is as crucial an event as Diwali is and frequent parties, team-outings, social initiatives, fun competitions like treasure hunts, pot-lucks provide the ultimate fun experience and bonding for the employees. While some may find it odd to get a holiday on US war memorial day while working at office in 15th August, it’s all about the mindset and the professionalism which drives this place. Work hard, party harder- May sounds cliché but I realized its true meaning while working here.
We often say it is the employees which shape up an organization and it is no exception for Ocwen as well. Some of the most sought after professionals in the sector which huge knowledge base has worked for the company for the past decade and a half and majority have stayed with them all through even in this age, when employee loyalty over money seems such a far-fetched idea. This shows that it is not just the pay check at the end of the month but it is also about what you love to do. Through my 2 months exposure I also learnt the values of networking, innovative and out-of-the box initiatives when the conventional approaches tend to fail, being radical at times and even learn from your failures, framing them as opportunities rather than weakness.
At the end, I would rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate (George Burns), and I can confess I loved every minute of my time at Ocwen.