In this article, Sonali Sehnaz , a student of SIBM Pune who interned at Axis Bank in Product Management Domain talks about her summer internship experience. Find out about how her onboarding process went, what her learnings are and her experiences during this internship.
Hi, Tell us about how you got selected for this internship? Take us through the moment you realized you had got the internship.
After facing a couple of rejections, this was another interview. I was told about the company and the role it was offering right before entering the interview room. Knowing that it was Axis Bank, the first thought which came to my mind was “I don’t know anything apart from full of BFSI”. The interview lasted for around 8 minutes (shortest of all the interviews I appeared for). After 30 minutes, I was intimated by the authorities about the offer & finally, my interview journey for the season had a happy ending.
On joining the company as an intern, how has your onboarding experience been like?
It was my first corporate experience; I was anxious about how the internship would pan out. The HR’s rolled out the first communication around 10 days before the actual date. A WhatsApp group was created where various ice-breaking activities were planned. All of it provided a great opportunity to interact with fellow interns in virtual mode. The project & mentor details were given 3 days before which gave us enough time to settle down. On the first day, more activities and sessions were planned with the senior leaders throughout the day and since then the organisation has made sure to have had more such sessions in due course of time. It has been a great experience.
How has your interaction with the team members and colleagues been like? How will you make sure to leave the best impression on your supervisors by the end of the internship?
So far so good! The interaction has been great. Everyone from the mentor to the team members is very approachable in Axis and always ready to listen to you. The tagline “Dil Se Open” aptly fits here. I try to involve myself in the discussions surrounding the current ongoing projects in the organisation and regularly take feedback from my mentor to make sure the work is heading in the right direction. I will try my best to deliver up to their expectation by the end.
Tell us in brief, about the project you are currently working on and how is this project going to help the company?
The project given to me revolves around enhancing the Customer Experience for Affluent customers of the bank. Affluent customer is a valuable asset to any organisation in terms of business. These customers are an image-conscious and ambitious group. Therefore, it’s important to align the products and services with the customers’ expectations at the same time ensuring a superlative experience at every touchpoint. The work mainly included interacting with various stakeholders to identify the gaps in products and services and finding solutions to fill those gaps. This will ultimately help to improve the CLV & retain customers.
Give us an overview of how you prepared for your summer placement season.
My preparation was divided into two parts: Resume building and Interview preparation. It’s important to have a resume that stands out to get noticed by the recruiter. I crafted the resume by putting relevant skills and achievements crisply. Being sure of the branch I would opt for; I did a few certifications from online platforms like Coursera. This helped me to gain knowledge as well as add value to my resume. The second part was interview preparation. I did a thorough introspection of myself to build clear & confident answers. Knowing details about the company you interview with is a very important aspect of Interview preparation. I referred to multiple resources like newspapers, company website, blogs to have a well-rounded understanding of how the company operates and what traits are valued. This strategy helped me ace during the summer placement season.
Based on your internship experience till now, what are some necessary skill sets one must be prepared with before starting an internship?
One must know about conducting Market Research, especially in virtual internships when a lot of work is dependent on secondary research. Market Research is generally taught in the first year of an MBA. Knowing the basics of Data Analysis and Data visualization proves of great help a lot of times. MS Excel and MS PowerPoint are the most common software used. These tools help during Mid & Final reviews when one has to present the deliverables of the project in front of senior leadership.
What are some new skills that you have developed while working in the company?
During my 8 weeks tenure with Axis Bank, I carried out interactions with a lot of internal stakeholders. I truly believe that this experience has helped me to develop my communication skills. I can now communicate more clearly and thoughtfully. I learnt to prioritise and organise my work in a way to complete the tasks given well within time. The internship introduced me to real-life work problems and hence developed problem-solving skills. The internship helped me understand how business value is derived from a project.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your internship and how have you overcome them?
My product dealt with High-Net-Worth individuals. And banks being very protective about their data. There was no way for me to approach and talk to the customers directly. So, it was a bit difficult to empathize with the customers and understand their perceptions and expectations. The only way out was to perform secondary research and talk to people within the corporate office to form a clear picture of my audience.
Tell us about a situation where you were complemented by your Manager for your work.
During the first 4 weeks, I was mainly conducting primary and secondary research, trying to map as many sources as I could. All information garnered; I had put it on my mid review presentation. My manager gave the feedback that I was all over the place and needed to form a storyboard to create meaning out of it. So, I worked on reconstructing the deck in next week and presented it to my mentor afterwards. She was really happy with the way things were put across the slides and complimented me for the same. It was one of the best moments during the internship.
What have been your major learnings during the internship?
The internship had been a steep learning curve. It helped me learn things on a professional as well as personal front.
2 months stint at Axis bank allowed me to closely witness the processes that go behind any product to provide a superlative experience to the customers. It helped me understand the nitty-gritty of product management. The discussions with mentors, senior leaders gave deep insights into how business value is derived from any project.
The internship helped me grow personally by making me understand that no question is stupid and You will only learn. Everyone has their first time and that can be at any moment, at any age. Being curious and wanting to know about something is more than enough. I learnt to organise things and manage my time in a better way.
Tell us about your final presentation of the project to your manager in brief. What was the toughest question asked during the presentation and how did you answer it?
Departmental, cross-departmental heads along with a lot of other members were a part of the panel during my final presentation. I was a bit nervous as this was my final chance to present & prove the worth of work done in the past 2 months.
After I finished presenting, I was asked by one of the panellists “If given a chance to choose only one recommendation out of the all suggested which one will you choose and why?”. I took 5-10 seconds, analysed each of the recommendation basis impact and feasibility in my head. Aligning the same with short term and long-term benefits, I answered the question clearly and thoughtfully. The panel & my mentor seemed satisfied with the response.
Some advice that you would like to give to your juniors based on your internship experience.
Stay Positive and Be Yourself. Doesn’t matter whether you are a fresher or someone with work experience. The internship opportunity in MBA gives you a chance to start afresh. It lets you witness the real corporate world closely which is different and way ahead in terms of what we study in books. So, make the best out of this precious opportunity. Try finding your strengths and areas where your interests align. There will be times when you are lost, feeling helpless and frustrated but trust me you are not alone. Hard work and perseverance will help you find your way out and win over the situation. Most importantly trust the process and enjoy it to the fullest.
What was one of the best moments according to you during your internship?
My mentor had fixed a meeting with one of the departmental heads before the mid review. I was to present the approach being followed and work done so far to accomplish the deliverables of the project. The aim was to be sure that we were heading in the right direction. I had done the initial research to understand the existing process to draw actionable insights and gaps. After I finished presenting the same to the departmental Head, he complimented my work mentioning that the gaps found were on point and he was glad that I could do it this quick. This particular meeting boosted my confidence and was one of the best moments during my internship.
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: Digital Diary 1 | Digital Diary 2 | Digital Diary 3 | Digital Diary 4 | Digital Diary 5
- 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.
So guys, what are you waiting for? Start writing! You have a voice. You have the experience. Make the best of it!