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Rituj Jain talks about interning at Credit Suisse, an investment bank founded in 1856 and currently amongst the top 10 in the world.
Credit Suisse is a Swiss multinational financial services provider (No, it’s not one of the “swiss banks”). It provides services like Investment Banking, Private Banking and Asset Management. Founded in 1856, it has operations in more than 50 countries and employs people from over 150 nations. It is among the top 10 investments banks in the world.
Getting there: A long journey
An internship is a relatively important milestone in any college student’s life. It gives you a glimpse of how the professional or corporate world actually works. Luckily for us we have a wide array of choices to choose from. We can opt for either a core intern or a non-core one. And if you are someone interested in research work, there are numerous foreign universities to select from.
I was certain from the beginning that I wanted to do a non-core intern. After getting shortlisted (and rejected) by various companies, I finally got selected for Credit Suisse during the middle of the Spring semester. One of the reasons I decided to apply to Credit Suisse was because it is a renowned and established firm, and thus would have provided me with a great corporate exposure, which I was primarily looking for in any internship. This was further confirmed after I talked to some seniors.
Now the important part- the selection procedure. Credit Suisse does not have a fixed selection process. It first shortlists students based on resume and does not have a CPI cut-off. The shortlisted students then have to participate in GDs followed by interview sessions. You have to clear the GD in order to appear for an interview. As for me, I had to go through one GD and three rounds of interviews. The GD had a non-technical topic and was meant to test our thinking process. The interview rounds were also on the same lines. They were meant to test the analytical and logical skills of the students. So, I was asked a number of puzzles. I would emphasize here, that they were not looking for answers, rather just wanted to know how I went about tackling them. If you get the correct answer, it just strengthens your impression. There were some basic HR questions, so it is important that you have a strong command over your resume. Although financial knowledge is not a pre-requisite and you may mostly get through without it, it helps if you are aware of the recent happenings in the market. Again, it just helps them believe that you have an inclination towards the financial sector.
The ‘Corporate’ life
The internship started around mid-May and the first day was our induction, which included presentations that described the various facilities provided by the firm and the rules & regulations that we were expected to follow. I was selected for the ‘Prime Services’ division of the firm. Prime services are a bundle of services that investment banks provide to their clients. These include lending, trade execution, cash management, advisory services, among other things. So, the first few days were spent learning about the nitty gritties of the business and basics of the financial world.
The Prime Services department has several teams working on different things like risk analysis, stock loans etc. The best thing about the internship is that you can work with any and all of the teams. You are given a PC to work on (and no, you can’t access Facebook or YouTube). A typical workday starts from around 10 in the morning and there is no fixed time for leaving. You can leave anytime you want as long as you complete your work, but you will seldom leave before 9. Yes, that’s right, you will have to work for 10 to 12 hours a day!! I can’t get in the details of the projects that I am working on as they are confidential but they are pretty exciting and I get to learn a lot. I usually work on Excel (VBA to be specific) and some other finance specific softwares like Imagine, Slate etc. If you are wondering that you need to have prior knowledge of all these, then you are wrong. You don’t. You will learn while you are working and you can always ask anyone for help. The people are very helpful, no matter what post they hold within the company. In fact the entire work area is just one huge wall-less space. The work can sometimes get a little monotonous and if you are bored with it, you can always ask for a new and different project.
Credit Suisse treats its interns pretty well. We have regular video conferences with the big shots of the company. We even have a video conference with the Global CEO of Credit Suisse scheduled in a few days. The office building has a cafeteria, a TT table, a coffee machine on every floor and other such facilities. To top it all, the office is located in Hiranandani itself, so commuting is not an issue.
The biggest takeaway for me was the corporate experience, which was my primary motive. Apart from that I learnt how to use Excel in a proper way. The financial world is fast-paced and you need to deliver results. So, I started respecting deadlines and also acquired strong logical and analytical skills combined with critical decision making abilities. I also found new friends in my co-interns who are from different colleges of the country.
So, for my concluding remarks, I would like to say that the financial sector is full of excitement and if you are into that, this intern would provide you with a good glimpse of it.