When I had decided to do my MBA, I was very clear that my specialization has to be finance as I had a background of commerce. When I got admission in IIFT Delhi, I checked out all the companies in the BFSI sector coming to IIFT and I had set my target to get either into JPMC or Goldman Sachs.
Preparations started accordingly- talking to seniors who had interned in these companies, learning the concepts which may be asked in the interviews, doing courses to build a CV worthy enough to get a shortlist and what not.
How it all began I still remember the day when JPMC came to our campus for the summer internship process. It was a long and arduous process where approximately 60 of us attended a workshop for around 7-8 hours. We were quizzed on our concepts. We also learnt new concepts of valuation followed by a test focusing on the same. Students were shortlisted on the basis of the test and approximately 20 of us went through an interview on the spot. Further shortlists came later and we were reduced from top 20 to top 10 and then to top 6 on the basis of 2 more personal interviews on the later days. We were asked everything- from why JPMC to aptitude questions you face in CAT to world news to concepts like Minority interest through the 3 rounds of interviews.
What is a journey without a twist! Results were declared that very evening and I was heartbroken that day! I did not make it to the final candidates who made it to JPMC. The next day, Goldman Sachs came to our campus for its pre-placement talk and I was desperate for all the face time I could get with them- asking questions, trying to answer what they wanted to know. Then came the evening and my placement committee informed me that I have been selected for JPMC-CRG- I was waitlisted earlier. I was contended and joyful and was looking forward to joining the floor in Powai Office soon.
We all had booked our tickets and were planning to land in Mumbai 2 days before the start of internship when we were informed that the internship would be virtual till 22nd April as lockdown was supposed to be lifted by 15th April. However, the whole thing turned virtual when lockdown was extended. I was pleased to be associated with a company which had started the summer internship as scheduled on 1st April when other companies were either delaying the process or had cancelled the offer altogether.
The journey begins with a week long induction Our virtual onboarding was a new experience for us as well as the company. The efforts made to smoothen the process was commendable. We had our regular trainings- from the very basics of balance sheet to MS-excel to the whole process of how a pitchbook is formed. We were taught every step we were supposed to do in the whole duration of the internship and we were assigned buddies- someone who we could ping with any of our silly doubts. I was amazed by the patience of my buddy and how he was always there whenever I faced a roadblock to ensuring that I never felt like I was alone working in this virtual scenario. I have not met him personally but he became my friend from the very beginning.
Although, it was a virtual internship, I never felt like I was not connected with the company. We had fun sessions with HR, gained beautiful insights from the sessions we had with the senior leaders in the firm, had weekly team-catchups and received call from my VP personally to ensure I was enjoying my time with the firm!
What was my responsibility Initially, we were given research project in which I dived deep into the automotive sector and looked for IB opportunities. I started from scratch covering the whole industry and evaluating the various possibilities of the IB opportunities therein. My mentor and my buddy were always there with their insights on my project and what all I should be focusing on. It was a huge learning curve for me- I went in as a student of MBA knowing basics of finance and I came out as someone with huge knowledge of the industry, the innovators and the leading companies and what kind of business we could do with them.
I had my ups and downs There were times when everything seemed to be overwhelming- working on the project, trying to understand how the team works, attending all the sessions along with the technical issues of a WFH internship but my team was always there with me- helping me out with all my doubts and issues I faced. Then there were my fellow interns- we were all in the same boat acting as support to each other whem we were total strangers and having our own fun whatsapp groups!
Life-long learnings My 2 months with JPMC flew fast and left me with the learnings I will cherish forever!
Subjectivity in Objectivity- World of finance is formed from numbers which are objective but a lot of subjectivity and judgements form the very basis of these numbers. In order to give sound judgement, one should stay updated with what is happening and gain as much knowledge as possible. There is always something new to learn!
Always form a story- I learnt how to ensure a flow in my ideas and form a story with the numbers. Numbers without a story can be irrelevant.
It’s okay to make mistakes- No one is infallible. It’s okay to make mistakes even in a company like JPMC- the key is to learn from those mistakes.
Communication is the key- Not only your team but the other teams should also know that you are working in that firm. Communication doesn’t have to be formal all the time. The analysts and associates were also interns earlier and would cherish their memories with you.
It’s okay to ask for help- Do not be afraid of how the team will perceive you if you have a doubt- how silly it may sound. Don’t sit back for them to review your work. Keep other informed of what all you have been doing and take their feedback on regular basis!!