I would like to keep myself anonymous for obvious reasons, but that will not deter me from telling the (tiresome but wonderful) experience that I have had during my internship.
So, basically I am a fresher. I completed my engineering in 2013 from a reputed NIT in Computer Science and Engineering and as fate would have it, I ended up at IIM-Udaipur.
After the first two months, our placement season started and there was this bank which was the second company on campus. I don’t know how, but I got the job. Ecstatic I was, that I don’t have to wear suits again for the entire year, OR customize my CV according to the company I was appearing for among other things.
Then, months passed. Location came: Mumbai it was.
Hence, during the first week of April, I shifted the base to Mumbai. I had to report at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), the corporate hub within Mumbai and also the Head Quarter of the bank.
10th April,2014 was my First day at office ever !!!
Nervous… very nervous. I remember I kept asking everyone. Do we have to take permission if we want to go out in the middle of the day? Should I take permission from my mentor before leaving office in the evening, etc…etc.
So, my project mentor was this very senior executive in my division, and he allotted two of his sub-ordinates for the two projects (Yes, I had two ) that were given to me.
The outlines of two projects were:
- Firstly, I had to find out the sectors in which there was low share of the division in which I was working. Then I had to make list of prospective clients and contact them hoping that it would increase our wallet share in that area in future
- Second was that I had to collate the data from various sources, put them at one place so that the knowledge gap that existed between the back-end resource teams and front-end sales team was reduced considerably
For the first three days, my mentor was not there, so I put my travelling boots on and explored BKC. Went to every damn office in that area … from Bain Consulting to Google to ANZ and what not! Awesome place it is with even more awesome offices.
Then on Monday, came the first meeting with Mentor and the two sub-guides. To my shock, I had to report at three places within a single week- 2 days at Mahalaxmi, 2 days at Vashi and 2 days at BKC. Voila!
First and foremost, I had to plan my travel. I was staying at NITIE Campus at Powai. The two nearest stations were : Kanjurmarg ( around 7.5 kms ) and Andheri ( around 9 kms ). So I had to wait for other guys every morning so that we can pool and reach the station. So for going to Mahalaxmi and Vashi, I took the local from Andheri. For Vashi, I had to change a local and catch the harbor line from Dadar.
So it took 4 hrs for me travel back and forth every day. This was by far the most challenging and draining aspect of the job.
For the first project basically, I had to get a meeting with the HOD of a particular department within the bank which was a task in itself. Being a strong hierarchical organization, it was particularly difficult in getting the appointment. But finally I met the person, told him about my requirements and he promised to send the data.
First day passed, then second - still nothing. No mail, no data. I went back in again. Again after explaining the case, I persuaded him to send me the data immediately. My task now was to shortlist the sectors before sitting for the first review with my project mentor. In the meeting it was decided that I am expected to work in three sectors.
So I started … secondary sources, industry publications, cold-calling - whatever I could think of. For the next one week I put in 10 hrs a day to come up with a list of 300 new customers in the three sectors and thought WOW – at least my first project is almost over.
Then, came the second review. I walked in thinking I would be praised.
Mentor: “ ho gaya?”
Me: “yes sir … COMPLETED”
Mentor: “areh … ek kaam karo… 4 sector aur pakdo… aur uss pe kaam chaalu karo. I want it to be done ASAP. And what about your second project?”
Me: "Not started Sir”
Mentor: "What are you doing yaar… start it. I want something on it also when we will sit again next Friday”
10 days in, and I got the real taste of the job !!!
Nevertheless, I started arranging meetings for my second project. For that I had to meet with the business teams that operated from Investment Bank division which sits in Colaba. I went there, had briefings with the lead managers/ BTI managers and documented all our conversations. Whatever I could jot down between the meetings I did- for my future reference.
So what I did was that I divided my 6 working days into 3-3 days for each of my project.
Mon/Tue/Wed- I worked on building up the client list for the newly allotted 4 industries continuing the same modus operandi that I followed for the previous 3 industries
Thurs/Fri/Sat- I met with people for my second project and collected the relevant documents if possible. In this project, I made a 25,000 Word Document which was basically a knowledge database. I typed and typed for hours. Then my sub-guide told me “isse kaun padhega ? ( Who will read this ?) :-P" .
Then, I had to take up all the major points from this Word Document and list them into an Excel Sheet Chapter Wise. After I made the excel sheet, then I had to make two PowerPoint Presentations- one for the internal sales team which could be referred by any employee of the bank Pan-India, and an external PPT which could be used to pitch the bank’s services to the prospective clients.
Doing this work and making revisions (which were thankfully less) based on suggestions by my sub-guides and mentor brought me to the last week of May. After getting a final approval from the mentor, I started making the PPT for my final presentation and the project report that I had to submit in my college.
All in all there were 15 deliverables – 7 Word Docs / 5 Excel Sheets / and, 3 PowerPoint PPTs.
Fortunately, the final presentation went well. My mentors and sub-guides were very supportive of me in front of the panel. And I could not have asked for more!
I feel that I got the coolest and most chilled out sub-guides. Both of them were very helpful and welcoming. They gave me a free hand in selecting the appropriate approach towards the project. This I felt was a very good thing because it gave me a sense of ownership about what I was doing. This made my project more enjoyable and satisfying.
Challenges + Enjoyable Aspects
Travelling was most challenging. For that I would advise future interns to-
If you are in Mumbai, download an app called m-Indicator on your smartphone. It gives information on Local Trains and Bus numbers with their timings and their routes
If you are travelling by local train, wear a T-shirt/ Casual Shirt and put your ironed crisp formal shirt in your bag which you can change later. It will save you from the embarrassment once you walk in and the people in your office will tell –“ kahan se nahaa kar aa rahe ho? “ or your sub-guide will tell- “ at least wear an ironed shirt, we have to go in for a meeting!”
Meeting for weekly reviews was the second most challenging thing. My mentor would schedule a meeting at 5.30 pm and the meeting would start almost around 8pm
For passing time, I would advise interns to have a good reading habit. If you don’t have then develop it because on office internet everything except news websites was blocked. So I read all the week’s news plus articles from HBR ( which I never read in-spite of the weekly subscription that we have in our college ) for passing those 2-2.5 hours
Complete your work early, but do not complete it too early. Otherwise, the same thing is going to happen – more work will be allotted to you. But then, it might work to your advantage. In my case, it did…. So it is totally your call
VERY IMPORTANT: Be in touch with your sub-mentors regularly. Don’t overdo it, but summarize what you have done in a single day and send it over in a short text message
DON’T STAY AT NITIE. WORST PLACE. EVEN WORST LOCATION. NO VENTILATION IN CAMPUS.
In the end, I would just like to conclude by saying Work Hard... Party Harder-Enjoy MUMBAI full on! Go to discs/ Pubs/ Lounges every Friday/ Saturday and make full use of your time there !!!