Hello, I’m Aman Mishra, a fourthie in the Civil Department. Since I, like many, have absolutely no idea what I want to do in the future, I’ve adopted the strategy of trial and error. The “trial” part has been quite adamantly restricted to non-core for most of my insti life (is it still called insti life if I haven’t been in insti for 18 months?). I bumbled my way through extracurriculars, PoRs and academics, kept coding at arm’s length simply because “nahi karna”, and was handed an internship by the PT Cell for my valiant efforts (which, fortunately, I enjoyed a lot). I’ll try to keep the gyan to a minimum in this blog and recount the summer internship that unfolded through my laptop screen.
The internship season
As the internship season started, I signed every IAF that fit into my extremely specific filter. After many memorable rejections, I got shortlisted for Citi’s Graduate Management Associate (GMA) profile. The selection process was fairly straightforward. The first round was a group discussion, the topic for which is neither very relevant nor something I recall. I do remember trying my best to be vocal and engage in back and forth dialogue with the group. Moving onto the interviews, I mentioned that I had an interest in marketing, which then became a base for my interview and later my project. After a few basic HR questions, I was given a couple of cases to solve (my ongoing marketing course turned out to be very helpful). At the end of the interview, I was asked if I had any questions, and I inquired more about the role and what kind of projects would be assigned.
One thing I’d like to mention is the importance of an often ignored factor in getting selected (and ending the gruelling process of shortlists and rejections). While micro analysing every single detail of interns-that-could-have-been might and often does lead to improvement in the quality of your interviews, in the end, it’s simply a matter of how well you fit what the company’s looking for. Or maybe, sometimes it’s just not your day. So my advice is to just keep at it and everything will turn out for the best.
In April, Citi announced its decision to exit 12 global consumer banking markets, which included India. A couple of days of stress-induced googling and venting passed, and a call set up with HR to address our queries assured us that this would in no way impact our internship offers. The official internship start dates were delayed multiple times and I finally started in early June as a Consumer Summer Analyst in the Customer Experience Unit.
I was given an overview of my project during an introductory call with my manager – the goal was to increase the uptake of Citi’s insurance and investment products by leveraging its chatbot. An induction session was conducted to introduce the interns to Citi’s culture, followed by onboarding. Figuring out how to set up the virtual desktop was tiring, to say the least. It did not directly affect my project since most of what I worked on did not need access to the internal network, but the numerous forms incoming interns needed to fill could only be accessed internally. Being a bank, everything is extremely confidential – I even had to complete multiple training modules on information security.
I had a healthy exposure to product management during the course of my internship. The initial few weeks were spent researching competitors and understanding chatbots, while simultaneously identifying useful features to the project. The work I had to do was much to my liking – most of it was examining the chatbot landscape (googling) and making a note of features I thought were cool (screenshotting). It was a solo effort for the most part as I did not work in a team – I would just have regular calls with my manager to discuss my findings and address my doubts. One of these doubts was what the output of my project would be given Citi’s upcoming exit – a quite existential dilemma. This proved to not be that big a deal since my project did not deal with the long term, I was free to make my recommendations as I saw fit, and exiting a business is not something that is done very quickly.
After the initial few weeks of researching and collecting data, I spent the last two weeks preparing my final presentation. This went through a number of drafts and mock presentations and I finally demonstrated my findings and recommendations, to which I received feedback from senior management.
All in all, my experience at Citi was very enjoyable. I learned a lot through my first corporate experience, and have a slightly better idea of what I’d like to do. I’m still continuing to try out new things to challenge myself, a habit I wish to keep for the foreseeable future. Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.