Thrishna has recently graduated from IIM Lucknow with flying colours. She is not only the Institute Rank holder – IR6 – but also an active sportsperson. She was the Vice-Captain of the Throwball team of IIM Lucknow and a member of the Placement Operations team. She was a Technology Strategy Intern at NatWest group and has received a PPO for her performance during the internship. In this article, Thrishna talks about the summer placement preparation and interview process, tips to get a PPO and how she managed the academic rigour being an all-rounder at IIM Lucknow. Read on!
Hello Thrishna, tell us in brief about how you prepared for summer placement interviews?
Summer placement interview preparation is very rigorous among B-schools; The reality is companies look at a candidate’s background and check how well they would fit in the company. It is that simple. I had approached my preparation in a structured manner and would categorize it into 5 phases.
Phase 1 – Introspection: During this phase, I focussed on my CV and I acquainted myself with what I have done already along with the knowledge I had gained in B-school and decided my career objectives. This is the most overlooked aspect among most B-school students but to understand oneself and her/his expectations out of a career is vital to succeeding - The candidate-company fit is mutual. At the end of this phase, I was clear about my aspiration and my near-term objectives.
Phase 2 – Learning: Having got the initial direction, I was engaging myself with general case preparation. I had formed a small case group with my friends wherein we took turns administering and solve cases. I had made it a point to solve cases with different people in order to get different perspectives. There was immense learning in this phase as to how to identify and approach problems tactfully wearing different hats to solve a problem.
Phase 3 – Awareness: The hustle of a B-school might put us in situations of slight disconnect with the everyday happenings. Hence, it is important to spend time and not just be aware of current affairs but also form an understanding from all angles to be able to take a stance if needed.
Phase 4 – Personality: Now that the technical aspect of preparation is more or less covered, the next phase involved further introspection and preparation of HR answers. Though HR answers are more or less common especially among people with work experience, it is important to mention the most relevant aspects and not beat around the bush. I had used the STAR – Situation Task Action Result- a framework for the same to deliver crisp and powerful answers. This framework is useful, not just for HR interviews but in any similar situation.
Phase 5 – Hands-on: Having completed the preparation part, it is time to get our hands dirty through mock interviews. I had scheduled mock interviews with people of different backgrounds in order to get comfortable with diverse questions. Additionally, it would be a good idea to have mock interviews with people working in your dream organization.
Though I had friends who overlapped these phases, I would suggest the above to have more clarity and a sense of progression from one phase to the next.
What is the summer internship process looks like for a bank like NatWest?
Once the shortlist for NatWest was released, there were multiple rounds of PI. We were assessed based on our understanding of the banking system as a whole, the situation-specific to India, recent technology trends, our understanding and awareness of current affairs, previous work experience, and situation-based questions. Since it was an elimination round, it was important to stay confident and give our best shot.
What are the reasons you think that you were able to crack the interview?
Having described the interview process and my understanding of their expectations, NatWest values grit, knowledge and commitment extensively. It is important to be self-confident and have a thorough business acumen along with a zeal for cutting-edge technology, especially in the Banking domain. To sum it up, Preparation is the key.
Tell us about your day to day work as an intern at NatWest?
The best thing about my experience as a Technology Strategy Intern at NatWest was I didn’t feel like an intern. I had the opportunity to connect and network with many people like a full-time employee and the kind of work and expectations out of me added more sense and purpose to what I was doing. I worked on 2 different projects which involved the integration of 2 platforms along with an MVP and formulating a long-term strategy to increase user adoption.
What according to you, you did right to achieve the PPO from NatWest?
2020 was a surprise to everybody and for interns who had to face the first-ever virtual internship, it was no different. Hence, to be able to perform and deliver Business, As Usual, it is imperative to be reachable and have a sense of purpose in your work. Having worked in another top Financial Services firm previously, my experience and interest in the sector grew which eventually translated into the work. Another important aspect is to be proactive in seeking help instead of waiting for things to fall in their place by themselves. Being in constant contact with your seniors and mentors helps in understanding the work and culture better which becomes a win-win for both sides.
What are the most cherished moments of your internship?
At NatWest, work-life balance is given significant importance. It is more often than not overlooked and especially after the 2 years of MBA rigour, “hustle” becomes a way of life for B-school graduates. NatWest was kind enough to offer Friday-connect sessions which helped us take a pause and have some fun even in a virtual set-up. As much as I looked forward to the week to work, I looked forwards to these Fun-Fridays at NatWest!
One piece of advice to the candidates who are looking for a Technology Strategy role in NatWest?
As much as preparation is important, having a zeal for the latest technology – automation, digital transformation, Open APIs- especially in the banking and financial services space is a plus. My best wishes to all aspiring candidates!
You have secured Institute Rank 6, One advice you would like to give on managing academic rigour as well as preparation for Summers?
Dreams don’t work unless we do – It is essential to set our priorities and make sure we work towards them. “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us” - I believe in forming habits more than planning long-term, notwithstanding long-term goals are very much essential to set our direction and momentum. Keep working towards your goal and never give up as great things take time.
Also Recommended For You→
- How I Bagged A PPO From BCG | Ft. Raghav Sally
- How I Bagged A PPO From Marico With A Sales Internship - Deepika Gupta, IIM Indore
- How To Get Into Amazon, Uber, Microsoft, BCG And More | Tips From PPO Holders
InsideIIM presents the 8th Season of Summer Saga where you can share your bizarre, enriching, a-little-difficult-yet-fun experiences with everyone and win prizes for the same. We have changed the rules in the eighth season. You don't need to wait for your internship to end in order to share your experience. Instead, it will be a digital diary, where you will be able to document your learnings and experiences, during your stint.
Take part in Summer Saga 2021 now! Fill out Digital Diary 1 below using this link!
TIMELINE, PROCESS AND RULES
- You don't need to register on InsideIIM.com or on the Kampus App to take part in Summer Saga Season 8. Simply share your experiences in the Digital Diary. To maintain standardisation, every Digital Diary will have a few questions that you'll need to answer.
- Access all the Digital Diaries forms from here. You will receive Digital Diaries from us on the following dates:
-Digital Diary 1 - 02.05.2021
-Digital Diary 2 - 09.05.2021
-Digital Diary 3 - 23.05.2021
-Digital Diary 4 - 06.06.2021
-Digital Diary 5 - 20.06.2021
- After 20th June, we will collate your entries as a single article and share the same with the same.
- Your overall submission will be evaluated on the following parameters:
-Completeness: This depends on the number of Digital Diaries you have filled.
-Value Addition: This depends on how in-depth your answers have been. The score for this parameter will be given by our Judges.
-Reach: This depends on how many unique people have read your internship experience once we publish the article. We maintain fair play, we will publish all the articles on the same day, so that you can also share the same in your network.
- There is also a title called, ‘Campus With The Most Interesting Interns’ that will be awarded to (a) the campus that submits the maximum number of entries and (b) the campus that submits the best quality entries (based on the score given by our judges). The minimum entries from campus to be considered for this title is 10. So, if you want your campus to win the title then make sure your classmates and other students from your b school share their experiences in this year's Summer Saga Competition.
PRIZES TO WIN
This competition is broadly divided into four categories. Refer to the table below to know more about prizes in each category.
Banking and Finance
Sales, Marketing and General Management
HR, Consulting and Others
|1st Prize||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000|
|Runner Up||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000|
The 1st Prize winner will also get a one-hour 1-on-1 career guidance session with an industry stalwart, from our panel of mentors in Kounsel.
ABOUT THE JUDGES
Every year, we have Campus Managers from some of the top companies (such as Reliance, HSBC, Flipkart, ABG, HUL, TAS, etc) judging the annual Summer Saga competition. We will release the details of the judges of Summer Saga Season 8 soon!
Check out the previous year's winners!
Maybe this will help you reflect and recall these two months as well (which can come in handy when appearing for interviews in the future). InsideIIM is the perfect platform to chronicle your experiences, your highs, your lows and everything in between.