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Shreya is a 3rd year Undergraduate pursuing a Dual Degree in Energy Science and Engineering.
When Mayfield came to campus in September end, I applied for 2 reasons – One, there were just 3-4 companies which had opened up for DD students till then, and what with everyone posting the Craxx statuses, we’d actually gotten worried about how late it already was, how the semester was going to end soon and we’d be remaining intern-less, how it was too late to begin apping etc – It was hence a no-brainer and we just signed it. Two, some seniors who were already working for VC Firms told me that it would be a good idea to get a feel of the working environment as an intern and that the smartest people work in VC Firms!
This was the first time a Venture Capital firm had come to campus for internships, and the selection process involved 2 rounds of interviews after resume short-listing.
My interview was a lot about the activities I’d listed on my resume, and then it was a discussion on the Chennai Study Circle banning controversy. They basically need to judge one’s people-skills and communication skills. Then there was a discussion about successful vs. unsuccessful start-ups – It was all based on logic and common sense and general awareness about the start-up ecosystem. They basically want to hear your opinion on matters, and how well you’re able to articulate it.
Mayfield India Advisors’ work involves sourcing deals (Finding the promising startups, making calls/having meetings to understand their business), showing due diligence for a particular sector/start-up/market and managing their portfolio companies (The companies they’ve already invested in). It is the Indian office of the silicon based VC Firm. In the US, they’ve invested in Elon Musk’s Solarcity and are very focused on Tech-Startups. However, in India, they’ve invested across genres from Food delivery to logistics to Security Systems.
The work is very dynamic, as is the case with any VC Firm. I worked on a range of things – including a study of the US FinTech space and its Indian counterpart, financial modeling and market sizing, an analysis of investments made by automotive giants like BMW, Mercedes, GM etc. What I want to highlight is that the work I was given ranged from Googling to financial analysis, and across varied sectors. It has added to my general knowledge and awareness immensely – There’s so little that we know!
I also got to interact with some startups through calls and meetings – Understanding their business, how they make money, where they’re headed etc. This would be followed by a discussion about the startup in the office, where you got to hear some really interesting perspectives and opinions about the team.
I got subscribed to a dozen of finance newsletters, and we’d be discussing their statistics and findings whenever we got the time. It is a very good medium to get to know about the business & finance world for beginners, and I’m still hooked to a couple of those newsletters!
It is a whole new experience to be on the other side of the table. As students, we have absolutely no idea what others think about us, how they judge us, what is the ideal way to think, how to present ourselves and a lot of such things. There are a million blunders we make – and have no clue about. We’re analyzed very, very carefully, judged by the way we laugh and the things we say. They really DO know how to gauge whether something is going to work or not, they have it at their fingertips! You tell them 10 ideas you found interesting, and they’ll have enough of knowledge to reject 9 of them with such perfect logic and facts, that you’ll be amused how you found them interesting in the first place.
It seems like the people I worked with know everything about everything – literally! Well, that IS a part of their job, and they do it pretty well – So it’s always a pleasure to talk to them – Anything ranging from bollywood controversies to Global markets. It’s like they’re a small well-knit family (A really sophisticated one, though!) And the people are quite chilled-out.
The downside is that since the work is very dynamic, there used to be days when I’d have to sit with very little or no work. The office is sometimes eerily quiet, and I miss having a co-intern! Also, I had to travel to Parel daily, and it is simply a nightmare travelling by the local in peak hours – First there’s the summer with 50 sweaty human bodies pushing you into the local all the while shouting “Andar chala andar chala” – and then there are the rains – 50 Sweaty & mildly-wet human bodies pushing you in. While it is a bit entertaining initially and you laugh at the people who ask everybody where they’ll be getting down, within 2 weeks, you become one of them.
On the whole, it was an experience that gave me a very good peek into the real corporate world, along with a very sound knowledge of the global startups in my sectors of study and the basics of finance. Also, I got a fair idea about what investors or anybody who’s present to analyze you and estimate your potential looks for in you, and what they expect. Yes, the local part was damn irritating every day, but the experience was definitely worth it!