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Sheivani Upadhyay is a 2nd year Undergraduate pursuing a B.Tech in Civil Engineering.
The application process
It was around October when I seriously started to look for a summer internship. I’d always wanted to know what a consulting job was about, and this was my chance to find out. Consulting companies hardly come to our campus to offer internships, even for third year students. Well for sophomores? No even a chance!
Hence I had to look for internships via contacts. One of my mom’s friend works at KPMG. He forwarded my resume to the HR who then set up a call with me. In the first call, we discussed why I wanted to do an internship with KPMG and what profile I was looking for. She then forwarded my application to an Associate Director, who took my telephonic interview. He asked me basic questions on economics, start-ups and a guesstimate case. We ended up having a pretty nice discussion about how mobile-wallets like Paytm were going to change the world of banking. The whole process took around a month. I was offered a two month internship at KPMG’s Mumbai office.
The intern work-experience
My first day at office was pretty exciting. The office building was beautiful and everybody around me was energetic and ready to get started on their work. I had been allocated a mentor under whom I would be working for the duration of my internship. Under him, I have worked on at least 5-6 completely different industries. I went from knowing nothing about the air-purifier industry, to making recommendations on how to maximise profits in the span of a few days. Every day I would reach the office not knowing which industry we are going to work on today. The work timings were as dynamic. I’ve left office on 6pm on some days and 10pm on the other days. This kind of ever changing work environment always kept the excitement levels high.
I worked in the Strategy and Operations department. Under that, we specifically dealt with consumer durable industries. My work basically involved telling companies how they can grow or enter a new market. My favourite project definitely had been the retail industry project. In this I got the wonderful opportunity to make a demand forecasting model. Having almost no background in coding, I still successfully managed to develop a neural network based forecasting model. Reading research papers from 1989 was actually fun. Never had I thought I would be working in the field of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence when I applied for a consult intern. And that’s the beauty of the job, you have to learn new things really fast. You learn how to not give up. Because you gotta do what you gotta do.
The people and office culture
The people I met during the course of this internship are some of the brightest and most hard working I’ve met till date. Also, the office hierarchy is almost nonexistent. Everyone from interns to senior partners address each other by their first names. The one thing that I really liked about the people was they make an effort to introduce you to everyone they know. That’s how strong networks are built. Everyone knows everyone. Each floor at the office had an indoor game table in the lift lobby. My floor has table tennis. I’ve made best friends over table tennis games.There are no fixed work timings. Employees can also work from home. As long as the work is done, nobody cares where you’re doing it from.
- If you’re looking for an intern via contacts, start early. Start looking around by December at the very least.
- If you’re planning to do a consult intern it would really help if you have your economics fundamentals cleared up. Try and do some introductory business and finance courses on Coursera and EdX too. They’ll help you during your internship.
- Pay attention to the little things in life, like how Ftcash has changed the way we pay our canteen bills. These are the kind of things which make for interesting interview conversations.
- The people you meet and the relationships you build will probably matter more than your actual work in an internship. Work hard, but make it a point to meet as many people as you can.
- Start reading newspapers, articles and nonfiction books. Every minute you’re not reading you’re losing out on a ton of knowledge. Try and learn a new thing everyday and talk about it at lunch time. You’ll be surprised to know how much more you can learn by just starting new topics of conversation.
- Invest some time and make your LinkedIn profile. Leaving aside how bad the interface is, it’s practically the only place you can connect to everyone you meet at your intern.
Overall, my experience at KPMG has been a really great one. I finally know what a consultant does and how they work. I’ve made some great friends. I’d say that’s an intern well done. If you have any further queries do feel free to get in touch with me via facebook.