20 Sep 2016 19:25 IST

Aligning expectations and reality

Being someone with an engineering background, I always thought marketing was my future. I hadn’t even considered finance due to lack of prior knowledge or work experience. But this internship changed that view.

The internship made me realise what I really wanted to do after graduation

Summer internship is one of the most important and crucial phases for an MBA student, both at a career and at a personal level. It is a stepping stone to the corporate world, where one can test the waters before deciding what one wants to do in one's career.

This applied to me as well. Being an outspoken city girl with an engineering background, I always thought marketing was my future. I hadn’t even considered finance due to lack of prior knowledge or work experience in the field.

Unexpected placement

However, during the summer placement process, I landed an offer from the investment banking division of a reputed bank — one of the most coveted financial roles on campus. My interview experience was one of the most memorable and interesting ones I have had till date; probably a story for another time!

Given my lack of expertise in the field, I was sceptical before starting my internship. However, this summer proved otherwise.

The experience

Packed with thorough and rigorous training sessions, assignments, and deliverables, the internship proved to have a very steep learning curve. While it helped me expand my technical knowledge, it turned out to be a lot more than that. It helped me develop my personality and hone my skills.

The bank I interned in boasts of a very positive culture within the organisation. Being on the floor, I realised its importance. No one on the floor was ever too busy to help us, the interns. Their commitment was so strong that some people ended up staying back for over two hours just to help us with our work, teaching and guiding us. No question was too dumb or stupid to ask.

They had an open door policy, where anyone could walk up to anyone, including the VP, to discuss anything, ranging from the problems being faced by employees and suggestions, to doubts and even cricket! They stressed on having an eye for detail, making me learn perfectionism in everything I did, including seemingly insignificant things like font size, colour, or spacing.

De-stressing opportunities

Despite having a hectic work schedule, the team made it a point to provide regular de-stressing opportunities. There were weekly cricket matches, regular parties and networking dinners that gave us an opportunity to bond and connect with senior management from other divisions. These sessions helped us become more confident, improved our networking skills and enabled us to interact with highly successful and intelligent people, apart from the de-stressing they were primarily aimed for.

There was a regular feedback mechanism in place, which helped me improve and learn from my mistakes and, with more awareness, plan the next leg of the internship.

The flip

Personally, this period made me a more confident, stronger individual. It helped me approach people without inhibitions, and improved my communications skills, along with my technical capabilities.

There are many instances where we feel that a particular domain is our forte but soon after entering the corporate world, realise that the reality is very different from what we had envisaged. Summer internships are a great way of aligning the reality with our dreams and expectations.

Never having imagined a future in the banking sector, let alone think of being an investment banker, this internship made me realise that this is what I want to do after I graduate from the institute.