In this article, Prerna Raj, a student of IIM Calcutta who interned at Mastercard in Consulting Domain talks about her summer internship experience. Find out about how she prepared for the summer placements, her onboarding process, her experiences & what her 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.
A month-long series of buddy calls with hours of case discussions and guesstimate solving was finally paid off when I got the first slot of Personal Interview on the day. After 2 rounds of interviews which involved not only case-solving but also a varied personal questionnaire, I was finally raised an offer. This was my first interview in the placement cycle and I managed to get through. The feeling is still fresh and irreplaceable.
On joining the company as an intern, how has your onboarding experience been like?
It is an absolute delight to be associated with a brand as ubiquitous as Mastercard, as a member of the Summer Interns Cohort of 2021. This opportunity along with its privileges also stimulated enormous pressure and to help us sail through the orientation phase of our tenure we had a remarkably helpful team throughout our onboarding. From walking us through the company, culture, and values to actually giving us a sneak peek into the world of Mastercard was the very first thing extended to us as an Intern. In fact, my onboarding has been so cordial that I feel more like an employee than an Intern at Mastercard.
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?
The culture at Mastercard is very welcoming with any Intern being able to reach everyone in the organization for help. I connect on a weekly basis with my manager and my project leads are just a text away from me at any instant. I could connect very easily even with my Cluster lead. The ease with which I could connect with people at all hierarchies is something that amazes me. I just make sure that I have a well-drafted agenda whenever I am trying to connect to any of the supervisors and I believe that along with my work, articulation, and communication, this is the only thing required to cast a good impression on anyone at our organizations.
Tell us in brief, about the project you are currently working on and how is this project going to help the company?
I am currently working on two projects but was staffed on a short-term project for some urgent deliverables. This project requirement included the usage analysis of two banks in the MEA region which was a part of an ongoing merger. I analyzed and drew insight from their Credit, Debit, and Prepaid card portfolio and drafted a deck based on the same for the client.
Give us an overview of how you prepared for your summer placement season.
Case discussions form a major part of Consulting prep. Apart from that, I worked on personal questions which are asked in most of the interviews. I made sure to get a hold of the current issues going on in and around the world. I was also confident of my subject knowledge of term courses along with the case study competitions that I had won. I had a story framed around my major live events and was very thorough with my CV.
Based on your internship experience till now, what are some necessary skill sets one must be prepared with before starting an internship?
Broadly grouping one needs five key skills for the internship. They are Domain knowledge, Analytical skills, Interpersonal skills, Basic Tools, and Organizational Acumen. The most important of all being your PPT skills and basic Excel knowledge. Storyboarding is something that adds those extra feathers on your hat.
A major part of most of the internship is Powerpoint and client presentation which requires a culmination of all the above skills and can help you sail through the intern period very smoothly.
What are some new skills that you have developed while working in the company?
I have learned to derive insights after analyzing data and how the same can be used for presentations. I have perfected the skills required to make a consulting presentation. I got to learn Thinkcell(a tool to make graphs and charts on Powerpoint). I also learned about cross-cultural multiple stakeholder management. I explored the payments ecosystem and took a deep dive into its terms and terminologies. I sharpened my prioritization skill by working on two different projects simultaneously as well.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your internship and how have you overcome them?
This internship is mostly a very distinct and fresh experience exposing us to lots of challenges and learning opportunities. One of the most basic challenges that I faced during my internship was learning new tools and techniques for working on a project efficiently. The deliverables for projects vary according to the client requirement and no one can be equipped with all the skills required for its fulfillment and hence doing a good job in a very short span of time is really challenging. The way out is the basic formula taught at all the B schools which tells us to be persistent and agile.
The other major challenge during the internship can be working adeptly on more than one project simultaneously which is about better communication and reaching out to the right people for help.
Tell us about a situation where you were complemented by your Manager for your work.
I was working parallelly on two projects of the varied domain. During the second week of my internship an urgent client requirement came up and my project lead asked me if I could help. I took the opportunity despite its urgency as this would be an altogether different exposure for me. Initially, the project was very challenging but I managed to complete it within the given timeframe by devoting my weekends to the project. My manager complimented me for the same during my reviews and told me that she really appreciates my zeal to work and that we would not be able to meet the deadline if I had not stretched my working days to weekends.
What have been your major learnings during the internship?
I learned analytical skills, domain knowledge, working with clients from different geographies, stakeholder management, the culture of an organization, understanding key deliverables of a project, multistakeholder management, and the payments ecosystem as a whole.
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?
Before my final presentation, I had a mid-review presentation with my manager as well. One of the feedbacks that I had received during my mid-reviews was regarding my deck formulation and I worked on that very sincerely during my end review. My end review required me to make a concise 4 slide presentation for the entire 10 weeks of my journey. This was a massive challenge as Consulting is a domain that is very particular about its decks and their formatting. I managed that part really well but the toughest part was the questions asked by the panelist. One of the toughest questions was when I was asked about the position of my client in the region and their way ahead in the market. This was a generic question and did not fall exactly within the scope of my project. I was able to answer that question only because I was very curious during the project and had overwhelmed my Project lead with many questions including this which made me do some secondary research about the client and thereby helping me during my final review. I believe my will to learn more about my project was something that helped me answer all questions during my final presentation.
Some advice that you would like to give to your juniors based on your internship experience.
The internship experience is one of the most enriching encounters that one comes across during the entire MBA journey. 'Be curious' is the basic thumb rule that everyone should abide by during their internship journeys. 'Ask questions, take help from the people around you, connect well with your peers, team members, project leads, manager, and also with your senior leadership. Try to leave a mark, not only on your work but also on your presence there. Be proactive and have multiple touchpoints during your internship. One of the things, that I was complimented about was my emphasis on 'drafting an agenda' before all the meetings and calls that I was a part of. This enables others to see your clarity of thoughts for your work.
What was one of the best moments according to you during your internship?
The best moment according to me during my internship was my last day. I made sure to connect to everyone and have a last conversation before leaving. I learned that people were happy with having me as their team member. I was appreciated for my hard work, sincerity, proactiveness and the best part was when my manager said that I have been an asset to the team. I feel really elated that I could not only do my work but also make my presence felt even in an online internship. My project lead said that my traits and values are very well aligned with what is required for the job and that moment of acknowledgement was like the cherry on top of the cake.
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.