‘That Memory Called Internship’ – Niteen Bali’s Internship Experience At Axis Bank – IIM Calcutta

I don’t claim to be a clairvoyant. But everyone at some point of time experiences something deep and raw about an expectation. That was how I felt when I cracked my Axis interview. The interview in itself was peculiarly ravishing. It was like a normal discussion with friends. Reminded me of my IIM Calcutta interview. Anyways, I was flown to Mumbai (extra leg space, complimentary meal) for the internship and being a fresher, I was quite skeptical about the work. But I was in for a surprise.

Dreams are bound to disappoint. But what is life without dreams. What is Bombay without its people, their dreams and the stories they weave. This is a place where every street cries of ‘Esse Est Percepi’. This is a place where ‘we laugh at a monkey dance, until we realise that we are someone’s monkey’.

The first thing you notice about Mumbai is the evident stark inequality. A look out of the airplane window shows images of large skyscrapers surrounded by dimly lit low-rise buildings – Jhoppadpatti, that are a source of tourism to the city of Bombay. Bombay is like third world and a first world country existing side by side like brethren.

The best thing about the Axis experience was the pampering that we got. Be it – farewell party, induction games, birthday cakes, pranks by HRs. You expect a bank to be very serious and uptight. Yes, the work is professional. But the atmosphere is jovial. There is very little hierarchical hegemony, but getting data from other departments is tough owing to the intricacies of the sector.

The first week was solely dedicated to sessions by senior managers including CFO, CTO. We were given a brief understanding of banking sector and the working of various sectors. Also, there were a lot of activities which helped in breaking the ice between co-interns. After this, we were given choice to choose the department of our choice to work in. I chose the Business and Economics Research division.

BER dept was a small team – 6 people. Hence, everyone was involved in guiding me. It is sort of like an in-house consulting and research division that compiles reports on various economic and policy issues and sends it to various departments. Initially, I was given a week to understand the department and after which I could give suggestions about the project I wanted to do. I was made to sit in front of the cabin of my mentor – The Chief Economist of the bank, whose doors were always open – quite literally. I worked on priority sector lending certificates which was of utmost importance owing to latest circular by RBI. I was even given the freedom to pursue a project of my interest in development economics side by side which was of not much relevance to the bank. I would also be welcomed to the numerous informal debates about economics, philosophy and movies without any consideration that I was just an intern for 2 months.

The project involved lot of data analysis and crunching after understanding the intricacies of the lending sector. Having no prior formal exposure, there was a lot of jargons that I had learn. In banking sector, lot of standard terms are used in acronyms. Although I wasn’t proficient in MS excel skills, people in department lent me hand at times of distress. Even if my assigned buddy wasn’t available, I could ask anyone else for help without any hesitation.

Farewell party was the best. The HR was really cool. Coffee corner chats with other interns was always looked forward to. We were asked to make a magazine and a short movie during the stint. This let us ease our minds in work that sometimes tends to become mundane. We were provided with every possible logistic support by the HR. Both movie and magazine came out beautiful.

The best of the internship was definitely one of the answers we give out of thin air to “Why MBA” – Networking. All of us interns are still in touch with each other and have great laughs.

The tagline of Axis perfectly summarizes the internship axis. Badhte ka naam hai zindagi., and I definitely did grow during the two months stint. All in all, it was a flabbergasting experience.

PS: Both the HRs are in the group pic 🙂

Niteen Bali

Student at Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta