In this article, Akshay Krishnan B, a student of IIM Shillong who interned at Deloitte USI in the Consulting Domain talks about his summer internship experience. Find out about how he prepared for the summer placements, his onboarding process, experiences & what his learnings are 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.
We had a comprehensive screening process which involved 3 rounds of interview. The first round was a mini case cum guesstimate round, the second round was a full-blown case study and the final round was a personal interview with a mix of questions on our profile, interests, and questions testing domain and Deloitte fit. During the course of the second round, I started feeling really good about the interview, with the way the case interviewers were working along with me and I started feeling confident and knew that this was the company I wanted to land and I was on track to crack it.
On joining the company as an intern, how has your onboarding experience been like?
We had a week-long induction process which initially started off with assistance from the support teams to get our digital workspace set up. We were handed our official laptops well in advance and the firm ensured that all of us were well placed for the internship without any technical hassles. During the course of the inductions, we were allotted to teams consisting of individuals from a variety of institutes and provided a case to solve. This exercise was intriguing and enabled us to develop strong core consulting skills. We were provided training sessions at regular intervals and then made to work on the same case to apply our newly acquired learning and augment the solution.
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?
One of the best things about my internship is the people that I am working with at Deloitte. The firm has a very open culture and a relatively flat hierarchy. I have felt very comfortable in interacting with anyone from senior managers based out of the US to the consultants with whom I work day-to-day in my project. The candidness with which I get feedback is absolutely amazing and has helped me in molding myself as I navigate through my project. The only effort that I need to take is to make sure that I seek feedback and continually improve myself based on the feedback that I receive. Willingness to learn and providing evidence of being coachable is seen as some of the most important traits in an individual by senior Deloitters.
Tell us in brief, about the project you are currently working on and how is this project going to help the company?
I have been working on multiple project engagements. Deloitte interns are considered as first-year consultants and directly assigned on client projects, which is not something very common during internships in other firms. I get a first-hand experience of the day-to-day life of a consultant for 8 weeks.
One of my projects is a daily deliverable that goes out to over 500 key stakeholders including clients and other CXO suite members in the firm. The report is a comprehensive consortium of relevant analysis for clients and hence is key in maintaining strong ties with the existing customers and enables the firm to bring new business.
In the other project that I'm a part of, I have been working on developing a go-to-market strategy for a Fortune 500 company.
Give us an overview of how you prepared for your summer placement season.
The preparation for the SIP process was a comprehensive one. I started off with a 10-pager exercise that was given by our Institute on understanding "Self". Answering the questions in this document really helped me in answering the general self-awareness questions that are asked in the interviews. The second part my preparation was domain specific learning. As a consulting aspirant, it was important for me to be at the top of my game when it comes to guesstimates and case studies. I referred to various consulting case books and other online sources, which provided me an exposure to the different types of questions that we commonly encounter and it also provided a basic framework that we can use for these problems. The third and most important part of the SIP preparation is to know the company that we are appearing for in detail. This is a recurring process before every interview and understanding the different businesses the firm is into, where it fits in the larger economy, and how the role that we are appearing for would affect the larger business can go a long way in showing our interest and commitment to the job offered.
Based on your internship experience till now, what are some necessary skill sets one must be prepared with before starting an internship?
According to my Time-management, Consistency, Coachability and Professionalism are the most important skillsets for any intern. Companies are keen to recruit interns and convert them into full-time employees only when they exhibit the above characteristics. An intern who can do a timely delivery of consistently high-quality work, who is ready to take feedback, and is able to show meaningful improvement over the course of 8 weeks is the most valued intern by any firm.
What are some new skills that you have developed while working in the company?
Brevity, Efficient communication, Storytelling
What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your internship and how have you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges in my internship was handling multiple projects. As Deloitte considers interns as first-year consultants, we are provided the opportunity to work on multiple engagements. While the deliverables tend to overlap, high quality and timely delivery are expected in every project. Thus, prioritizing the right tasks and ensuring all the workstreams are attended to and competed was crucial and challenging. Speaking to the project leads regularly and providing them an action plan on how I was planning to approach the different tasks and obtaining their thoughts on it was of great value.
Deloitte is a highly entrepreneurial organization, where the onus is on us to be proactive and seek for more opportunities to explore. Thus, building those networks quickly to get a hand on different workstreams and developing holistically as a consultant in an 8-week period was another challenge. Setting up time with managers from different verticals and understanding their work would be of value, this provided me an understanding of different projects and what I could take up in those projects, and what I could gain out of those workstreams.
Tell us about a situation where you were complemented by your Manager for your work.
In the span of 2 months, I have been given the due recognition where ever deserved by the project leadership very publicly. It definitely helped in boosting my morale and aided me to perform better.
One such occasion was, we had to prepare a quick insights document which was to be presented later in the day to the VP of our client. This was a very quick ask which needed some detailed analysis, and creative visual models like the spaghetti model. Fortunately, I was able to complete the analysis and put the insights together and I was invited to be on the client call. During the call, I was introduced by the senior manager to our clients as the "Star-Intern" responsible for all the work that has been presented today.
This was definitely one of the highlights of my internship.
What have been your major learnings during the internship?
One of the major takeaways for me was logical structuring and effective communication of insights. My projects were heavy on research, so it was important for me to drill down to the "so-what" (as consultants love to call it) of my research and present it succinctly to the project leadership. Distilling 5-6 of research to 2-3 lines of key insights that the client expects was my biggest learning.
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?
The evaluation process at Deloitte is a continuous one and the final presentation is only one component of the review process.
Interns are asked to present a one-slider for the review covering the important contributions made, and the impact created to the firm and clients during the 8-week period. The process is conducted by a comprehensive panel consisting of senior leadership.
One of my deliverables was to identify target markets for our client. The markets were spread all across the US and had varied demographics. I was asked to explain on what basis I narrowed down on the selected priority markets. It was a complicated question, as it involves multiple layers of categorization and evaluation of all the markets in these selected criteria.
I structured my answer into three major parts, one on what the most important criteria were, why they were selected for this prioritization, and how each of these markets was rated in these criteria to arrive at the final priority list.
Some advice that you would like to give to your juniors based on your internship experience.
Deloitte as a firm highly values individuals who are entrepreneurial and coachable in nature. It is important to be proactive to seek opportunities and feedback from important stakeholders and work on it to show meaningful improvement in the internship period.
As students from top B-schools, all interns generally have the aptitude to get the work done. But, the real differentiation comes in the attitude towards work. While all of us can deliver high-quality work, delivering it on time, consistently, being humble in taking feedback and developing ourselves, is what differentiates a great intern from a good intern.
What was one of the best moments according to you during your internship?
As internships can be taxing and loaded with work, we often tend to forget the people that we work with. Especially in this work from home setup, where almost every interaction is virtual, the human element goes missing.
I was glad to be a part of a team, that always put people before work. My team had a separate farewell for me, where we engaged in games and self-made memes. There was a shower of praise and wonderful farewell messages. It was a memorable experience. They always had my back and we covered for each other. I was made to feel like a part of the team right from day one, and not as an intern who would leave in 8-weeks.
It is indeed these experiences of "people before work", that drive employee satisfaction and motivation.
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.