Summer Saga – HSBC Summer Internship (HR)

There are times when the fables you’ve only heard since come true and you pinch yourself till you know it’s real. Fearing the risk of being called an exaggerator, that’s how I recall my internship days. Shortly you will know why.

I interned at HSBC during summers. Being from HR background, frankly, I had heard of the “Chill” status quo at banks for HR dept. While that sounded like a relief as it fell on my ears, less than nanoseconds later my brain knew I didn’t want to chill out my intern. I am among those fun lovers who believe- “All play and no work makes John a rudderless guy”. But thankfully, God had planned things differently for me.

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And So it Begins

The internship induction happened at Mumbai for two days. It was a series of interesting activities complemented by the five star accommodation near marine drive by the company. We interns went crazy to see such a grand arrangement.

The actual work location thereafter was in Bangalore. Before coming to the intricacies of work, I would like you to meet my team. This was a seven person team excluding the manager. I was the eighth one and would directly report to the manager who was my project guide as well.

Culture

The team culture was infectious. Everyone laughed along everyone else, worked and solved problems with everyone else. It looked like a term definition of teamwork we find only on papers these days. As I had some previous work experience also where the team environment was very much different and competitive, I was surely surprised but extremely happy at the same time to have been fortunate enough to get the ideal collaborative work environment.

Projects

There were two projects allotted to me based on employee engagement and mentoring respectively. The first project tested the effectiveness of the existing framework for employee engagement at organization. Sitting with my guide, I figured out that there were surveys to be done, interviews to be taken and FGDs (Focused Group Discussions) to be conducted for this first project. The second one was carried on simultaneously, but the mentoring framework had to be developed and established from the scratch.

As I interacted with my co-interns in other companies, I realized there were basically two ways internships were expected to be carried out . One was to submit deliverables for every day or every week. The other was to keep working until some final analysis or conclusion was reached, and a single submission . Mine was the latter one. So I was at the constant danger of losing track of the right direction of project. But thanks to my fabulous guide and team, I never had to face such a danger.

A Typical Day

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A typical day at office started at 10 and ended around 7:30. Everyday my guide and me would meet and decide the plan for the whole day. A big concern of every intern remains to get an appointment from his/her guide. Fortunately in my case, my guide told me he would himself try to make sure things are on track since day 1 by meeting every day, be it for a few minutes on the busier ones. Thereafter the first meeting happened, where I was explained the business model, the organizational structure etc. of HSBC. Third meeting saw the plan for the projects being chalked out.  I was the part of even creating and deciding the plan with timeline events for the mentoring project and whole team had to follow the same schedule. While it felt so fulfilling, at the same time it was a huge responsibility to live up to the expectations of all senior people working with me.

Best part about the training was I was allowed to share my opinions and was heard with the huge keenness and intent. While I was very much confident of my academic quotient and abilities, I still managed to give many ideas which were coined as ‘interesting’ (if you know what British mean by interesting) . All said and done, I was always encouraged to give more of my suggestions and could see so many of those getting implemented.

My most important learning at academic front was that I can’t use all the complicated methods we study in theory. Sometimes they are not practical and instead complex enough to be sustained effectively in the organization over time. In my case I had to drop many such ideas.

The latter days of project saw intense learning and hard work on my part. As my project was survey intensive, I learnt various methods, went through detailed understanding of tools like spss and the related survey analysis. Not only me, but the whole team worked very hard and the ratio of employees to HR in South region was huge enough to keep them busy throughout their work hours or more at times. It was not like the hearsay that bank HRs have quite easy going work.

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The last and final day I had to give presentation to the HR India Head , along with all other HR divisions Heads. I was as nervous as I could be. My presentation was through Video Conferencing and I managed to give an okay presentation but screwed up at the first question asked by one of the division heads. Later three more questions were asked by others, which I managed to conquer successfully. As for the final result (PPI), it is still awaited. Fingers crossed!!

The extraordinary experience..

Since day 1, I felt the team shared more than a professional bond and I wasn’t proved more right ever. I became a part of the team soon and realized the team productivity had increased manifolds because more than team-mates they were friends barring their age groups and diverse backgrounds. Why I call it two months of extraordinary experience is because of the extraordinary people I met. Be it the modest guide who transformed the team into the super productive state or the people outside my workplace whom I haven’t mentioned here, I was humbled by the genuine, modest yet talented people I met.

 

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One of the biggest learnings I carry from these 8 weeks-You will hear people say, circumstances make you look bad but it’s not really true. I never thought the same until I saw it for myself. You choose to be who you are and what you prefer. You might/will have to make small sacrifices/compromises here and there, run for win-win situation rather than win-lose but if you genuinely believe in others, and genuinely want to help others, you will seek out to the bigger truth- one that’s bigger than your circumstances and circumvents them.

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