2. Academics questions
3. Current affairs based questions
4. General business knowledge based questions
Let me elaborate as to how I went about preparing for each of these.
First, for the profile based questions, I prepared an exhaustive questionnaire based on all questions that I could think of after seeing my CV. I did multiple iterations from a third person’s perspective so as to add more and more questions. To make the questionnaire more robust, I also asked some seniors and peers to look at my CV and conduct mock interviews for me. This also helped me a great deal as I got to know of many new perspectives regarding my CV. It took a fair deal of time for me to do this entire exercise but I must say the effort was totally worth as it helped me a great deal. So this is something, I would definitely recommend to all the students of first-year who start preparing for their summer placements.
Next, I prepared for the academic questions. For this, I diligently read the HR compendium which was shared to us by our seniors. Moreover, I religiously studied textbooks. I was one of the very few fortunate people to have bagged live projects before appearing for summer placements, so I prepared questions around that as well. The idea was to have absolute conceptual clarity regarding the HR concepts that we had been taught till date.
As for current affairs and business general knowledge questions, I prepared these more from the group discussion point of view than anything else. I made it a habit to read the newspapers daily. I used to read 2 newspapers – one a regular English daily such as the Hindu and another financial newspaper such as the economic times. This habit I believe was sufficient to keep abreast with the latest happenings in India and the world and I managed to sail through the group discussions quite comfortably.
What was the summer internship selection process like for AirTel?
There was a CV based shortlist which as followed by a group discussion which was around an HR case study. We were given some case facts and the case ended in limbo with the HR team having to decide the future course of action. It was quite an interesting case. I made 2 entries but both of them were well-timed. I was assertive while putting my points forward and I believe my points were very well received by the group which helped me in clearing the group discussion round. The selected students were sent for interviews. There were three rounds of interviews, in the first round I was asked mostly behavioural questions around my profile. In the second round, I was asked many technical HR questions and some questions around the projects that I had done. In the third round, I was given some situations to which I was asked to respond by suggesting a course of action. The third round was the final round of interview.
What are the reasons you think you cracked the interview?
The most important reasons according to me were – sound knowledge of the concepts, not just the theory but also the application part of it and the other equally important thing is the communication skills. It is very important while preparing for interviews to practice how to structure your answers and deliver in short, crisp and precise manner. Interviewers do not like or sometimes lose track of the answer if it is too verbose.
Tell us about your day to day work as an intern
My days during the internship were pretty structured ones. It started with a morning meet up with my mentor to identify the specific areas to be worked upon during the day. As my project involved collecting a lot of data, I spent a considerable amount of time in the office conducting interviews and group discussions of the employees. I also reached out to industry professionals for external benchmarking. Towards the latter half of my internship, I used to spend a lot of time in analysing the data that I had collected during the earlier days. I was also consistently working om preparing my presentation for the final review so as and when I found time or when there was significant progress in my project, I updated my presentation accordingly so that I do not miss out on any work that I had done during the course of my entire 8 weeks of the internship so unlike other interns who made their presentations retrospectively, mine was more of real-time preparation of the presentation. It was owing to this that I was able to complete my presentation in a timely manner and I had enough time to get feedback from my mentor and incorporate all the changes that he had suggested before the final review presentation.
What did you do right to achieve the PPO ?
One of the most important characteristics which the prospective employer looks for in an intern is diligence so I made sure I left no stone unturned to portray myself as a hard-working, sincere, and perseverant person who would rise up to challenges and someone who would step forward and take initiatives. Another important thing which I strongly believe in is the fact that data is the backbone of all the recommendations that an intern has to offer. You may come up with the best possible solution to a given problem but if your recommendation or your findings are not backed by data, it simply lacks credibility so I worked very hard on data collection and analysis which I believed was the soul of my project and during the final presentation, my analysis was prepared to the extent that for every recommendation I had the backup slides fully prepared. It helped me a great deal and I left a good impression during the question and answer session of my project presentation which probably was the game changes in my case and I was finally awarded the PPO.
What are the most cherishable moments of your internship?
Some of the most cherishable moments for me have been the team outings, I was very fortunate to have been with a very supportive and caring team. The time I spent with my mentor, while preparing my presentation was also quite memorable, he was a tough taskmaster but his inputs were invaluable for my project presentation and I believe his contribution has been very important throughout my project.