Summer Placements – Part 1 of 2
Whether the summer internship placement season is the most anticipated or most dreaded event of the first year is debatable; but very few will disagree that it is one which is most talked-about! Every year, as the process looms closer, hapless first-years fight to stay afloat in the sea of information that engulfs them. Let me try and list down the key things that one must keep in mind during the preparation phase to sail through.
Since the summer internship process happens rather early in the academic year, it is quite understandable that students haven’t made up their mind about what kind of function/industry they would like (Heck, many haven’t figured this out even by the final placements!). However, my opinion is that indiscriminately applying to ALL companies that visit campus is a bad strategy. Many will put forward an argument of “de-risking” in favour of this apply-to-all strategy. Point taken. But I believe that one must have at least some theme or plan in place – it would help a lot to prepare well for the companies you do apply to. Here are some sample approaches you could use to decide which companies to give preference to.
-Function-oriented: If you are very sure about what function (finance, marketing, operations, HR, consulting, general management) interests you most, you can focus on applying only within that sphere since the practical experience in summers would give a good insight in the day-to-day responsibilities.
-Mostly function-oriented: If you have a decided interest in a particular function, but are not quite sure, it would help to have a larger number of applications in the function you like and a few other applications spread out in reputed companies from other functions. This way, wherever you get placed will be a win.
-Big Names: If you care mainly about the final placements and want something which will only add sparkle to your resume, focus on the big names. Just remember that big names doesn’t mean only the famous brands – a company may not be popular in the masses but could be one of the best within its industry.
-Good internship programmes/Good future employers: This one requires a lot of research. Talk to seniors or recently graduated alumni to get their feedback on the companies they have worked at. If you are keen that your internship experience should be very enriching, spend time on doing the research. If one gets a good fit with the company, it might very well turn out to be a long-term relationship.
-Mixed Bag: If you have no preference whatsoever, or for any reason feel that your chances of getting a shortlist are very low, then it might make sense to go all out and de-risk your applications. However, a word of caution – it is possible that during the actual placement process you may be tearing out your hair running from one process to another.
Prepare Hard Smart
Students are barely 1.5 terms down into their MBA when the summer internship process happens. Rest assured, recruiters too are alive to this fact and expectations are adjusted accordingly. It is NOT necessary to know your course material/text books back-to-front. Consider the following things while drawing up a list of areas to prepare.
-Academics: Yes, it is necessary to know something from academics point of view about the function/stream of the role to which you are applying to. However, recruiters will be more interested in your application or interpretation of concepts, rather than the fact that you know all topics in the book. Therefore, don’t worry if you haven’t read the entire Brealy-Myers despite being a Fin enthusiast. What matters is whether you can apply whatever you have learnt to real-life situations. If you have cared to gain some learning outside the book by being abreast of the latest analytical tools or concepts in that function/industry, it is sure to win you brownie points.
– Miti Vaidya
The author is an alumnus of XLRI School of Business & Human Resources (Class of 2011). Currently working as a TAS Manager, she has worked with Goldman Sachs (Global Investment Research) in the past. A graduate from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics (Class of 2007), Miti has also completed her C.A.