This article is an account of the first-hand experiences of a senior who tried to figure out a lot on the go. So, hopefully after reading this, you won’t have to 😛 Let’s get to it!
Hello everyone, hope you are all doing well, daydreaming about getting back to the institute ASAP.
I’m Hiya Vithlani, a final year undergraduate from the Aerospace Engineering department. Not a lot to say here, I was just one of those hyperactive ones in the institute who tried out everything, because FOMO 🙂
July ‘20 – We had been sent home due to the pandemic, and the fun element of returning home had started to wear off as the intern season was just around the corner. I had taken up an internship at Airbus via PT Cell in a data science role and was playing around with the idea of pursuing a career in the same field while also figuring out what other options I had. I wasn’t one of those people who just knew what they wanted. So the preliminary preparation process for me was a little all over the place naturally. I was trying to learn the art of excelling at coding tests, while simultaneously practicing guesstimates and cases, also trying out probability questions at random, and continuously wondering what more could I cover just to be prepared enough for almost everything. I know, directionless at best. Interestingly though, this was both- a recipe for disaster and also the plank that saved my boat.
August ‘20 – The much awaited day 1 had arrived and I had zero shortlists, and was switching between calm and ‘Parkour’ mode continuously (brownie points for getting the reference). By this time I had started making a list of all the firms that are coming to campus week 1 onwards and had started to plan out exactly which firms I need to prepare for.
Fun(ny) fact: I had written- “NRI Consulting – won’t get a shortlist” in that list that is still there on my notes app 😛
And when the shortlist finally did come in, I wasn’t prepared – courtesy of my directionless preparation plans – although I had some idea about cases and guesstimates.
I had four days’ time between the shortlist and interviews and decided to make the best of those four days to prepare. Special thanks to Ameya, Mudita, Akshat, and other seniors who took the time to help me expedite my preparation as I was low-key panicking, and also my amazing friends who helped me throughout.
I started off by talking to a bunch of seniors who sat for NRI or other consulting interviews last year and the year before that, to understand what these interviews actually look like. Soon I realized understanding the company and consulting culture is one of the key points to answering the HR questions, so I made a point to do that. I rather enjoyed the entire interview preparation process, since cases are generally fun to solve once you get the hang of things. It goes without saying that the case preparation series by Victor Cheng on YouTube and case preparation books like ‘Case Interviews Cracked’ were pivotal in the preparation. Planning out the outline of your answers to the basic HR questions is always a good practice in my opinion – helps you handle the interview much more confidently. Overall, being energetic through the interview and trusting your preparation always works well.
Finally, when I sat for the interviews, I was surprised. The interview was fun!
It was very conversational and other than the points on my resume, I also interacted about football, movies, and Benaras with my interviewers!
Being interesting and interested goes a long way for consulting interviews was my takeaway.
I got a rather unusual case, but I was comfortable and could come up with a workable approach after a few random ideas. So that worked out just fine. Interviewers anyway just care about the approach.
I got the selection news in the evening and well, I was happy 🙂
May – July ‘21 – Carrying the carcass of all the eating and shopping plans in Delhi, I started the internship in a virtual setting. The first week was mostly orientations and interactions, and soon after we were allotted our projects. The project I was working on was extremely interesting (details can’t be mentioned for confidentiality purposes) and was with a leading Japanese firm. I began by learning how to handle one task at a time, and eventually, by the end of the 8th week, I was able to handle much bigger stuff on my own.
The project was on a very large scale and by the time I joined it, we had moved into the later phases. So just to come up to speed, I closely followed a lot of the work that was already done by NRI. I was involved in a lot of market queries for the proposed business initially. The fact that the country is currently recovering from Covid-19 and markets are experiencing unexpected changes made it interesting. After having worked on a project for two months, I could confidently say I understand the industry in question fairly well and can see why consultants become experts in their domains!
Thinking and researching exhaustively is indispensable in this profession and often brainstorming with the team to figure out a plan of action was stimulating and interesting.
Tangible learnings from the experience – I can make presentations now XD
Jokes apart, I learned a lot about presentation techniques, research tactics, and structurally approaching queries. People at NRI were genial and more than willing to help at all points.
Another key learning point for me was the client interactions that we as interns got to be a part of. That is where the real action happens in consulting!
Having had interactions with a lot of people at the firm, I got insights about the consulting ways, how projects progress, the much talked about Japanese culture, and also a better understanding of my own future plans. Sharing work BT with co-interns was also one of the most satisfying parts of the entire process. I have my final presentation for the internship approaching as I write this blog, so the cribbing doesn’t stop just yet 😛
‘Work from home’ mode of functioning definitely made me a procrastinator at worst, and comfortable at best XD. Also, it’s not good for your back :’)
I have a lot of thoughts about the corporate culture but would save it for maybe another blog.
Despite the online nature of things, I had my fair share of interaction, learning, and fun moments in these two months and I am glad.
Lastly, I hope the coming season works out well for all the incoming thirdies too!
Despite being directionless at first, things do work out sometimes. Having been the stressed out kid during my season, let me assure you it does not help.
And for those with plans other than the conventional roadmap, often paths other than the most obvious ones work out amazing too! So keep at it 🙂
Feel free to reach out to me if there’s anything you’d want to discuss. Goodbye and cheers!