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.


Apply Prudently

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.

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– 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.


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Miti Vaidya

Miti Vaidya is an alumnus of XLRI School of Business (Batch of 2011). She is currently loving her job as Product Manager of Konversations.com and is part of the leadership team at InsideIIM-Konversations. Prior to this, Miti spent 5 years with the Tata Group as part of the prestigious TAS programme. A graduate from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics (Batch of 2007), Miti has also completed her C.A.



Stammering genious

Thanks for this! Comes at a right time…I'm not from IIM but still helps, placements underway at my campus

Planet-I Student

Need your take on this – for some functions (like HR), not many companies open up those profiles at all campuses. Considering that in summers one can't be as sure as final placements (of getting the desired company/profile), how to approach in that case, if one is 99% sure of doing in that function only ?

Can taking up Marketing profiles prove productive (as Marketing & HR are seen as relatively more related fields) ?


Nice article but its too much generic. Hopefully the second part will be more specific giving company information across domains and how to prepare for a specific set of companies.

Team InsideIIM

@Sayan – It is against our policy to focus on companies. However, we will try to help you with a variety of things a series of articles. Just be a little patient.

@Planet – I student – If there aren't enough HR profiles on offer , you may want to look at an industry where you think you might want to be a HR manager. It might help to work for a couple months to be say in Finance,if you see yourself wanting to be a HR manager in a Finance firm after graduation. I am not sure if people are so clear about the industries but you must have a few preferred options. Being an HR manager For e.g. in a manufacturing firm is fundamentally different from being an HR manager in Finance/Consulting. We don't agree with the view that Marketing and HR are related functions.

Ankit Doshi

If you're on a campus like Indore with 450 batch mates my suggestion would be to go with the big brands strategy. Your summers will remain on your resume forever and a good brand will give you better chances of conversion during your finals in a domain of your choice


Hi Planet-I Student,

I dont think that marketing and HR are related functions as such. I can relate to the fact that the function you want to be in will have very little representation in the summers. If I were in your place, I would try to get into one of the reputed names in some other function. Irrespective of the function, if you manage to get good feedback (PPO/PPI in this case) from a good company, it shows that you are a worthy candidate (from final placements point of view). Team InsideIIM's suggestion also sounds good, but perhaps you may not be so sure yet of which industry you want to be in.

Hope this helps!

Planet-I Student

Thanks for your views Team, Ankit & Miti.

I have decided for now that I will try and do summers either in the function of my choice or a function I'm comfortable with. Its not easy to get a big brand especially with their weird shortlisting criteria, but I will again try for 2 options – A comfortable function in a big brand, or a good profile in my function of choice. And if both these options combine, nothing like it !


A trivial question – the previous article by the author(XL-ent Facts) mentions she has completed C.A. – Inter while this one mentions C.A. Is this a discrepancy or she qualified in between the two articles?


Hi ArB,

Yes I got my CA final exam result recently – a little while after I wrote the XLRI article.


Oh Congrats!! Its great to hear that…Even I am currently pursuing CA and keen on a MBA from a Top B-School (will be appearing for CAT/XAT 2011). But not sure about about the ' right time for the MBA.' To maintain the relevance of the comments sections, I ll stop the spam now. Hopefully, we can continue the conversation through another forum.