Greetings, fellow students!
I’m Sakshee Pimpale, a fellow comrade about to start her fourth year as a Dual Degree student of Electrical Engineering! Today, I’ll be talking about my internship experience in summer 2020 at Morgan Stanley, which took place amidst the global pandemic. I’ll also share what I learnt from the internship season, my experience with work-from-home, and a few internship tips that may help you out! 🙂
The first question that may come to your mind is – how did I visit the Morgan Stanley Campus, despite the series of lockdowns? Well, I indeed went to Morgan Stanley this year and had an incredible experience! However, it was a virtual visit – the above photo is indeed photoshopped (:P).
But first, let’s talk about the internship season for a bit before circling back to my internship experience.
You might have heard about the limitations in Internship Opportunities for students pursuing a Dual Degree. While this oft-spread rumour is rooted in truth, we have become masters in dealing with challenges by working with the best minds. In spite of the restrictions that come with being a dual degree student, I still had an opportunity to sign in and get shortlisted for some of the top tech companies!
I had a chance to get interviewed by Adobe, Google, Microsoft, American Express, and obviously, Morgan Stanley. Every interview was a unique learning experience that pushed me to nail the position at Morgan Stanley, which proved to be a boon at the end!
The Internship Season
Remember the famous quote ”A wise man learns from others’ mistakes”?
From my practical experience in an attempt to tackle numerous interviews by some of the best companies, here are a few tips of what you should not do:
1. Mentioning unfamiliar terms in your resume: We practically implement some projects excellently, and the theory lags. We add the words in our resume. The interviewer asks exactly that, and alas! My advice is, start writing a resume well in advance, and be familiar with the concepts you mentioned.
2. Insufficient resume reviews: Make sure to include crisp words in your resume, depict an all-round personality, and get it reviewed multiple times beforehand.
3. Barely listening to the interviewer: Be an interested listener when the interviewer explains about the company or provides more optimum answers to interview questions.
4. Preparing at the last moment: Preparing 3 hours before an interview after the shortlist arrives, creates panic, and is a terrible practice.
5. Neglecting HR interview preparation: HR interviews have tremendous value in some companies, including American Express and even Morgan Stanley. Have the answers thought out well in advance.
Here is the list of some helpful tips for the internship season:
1. Show interest in the company:
Collect information beforehand, decide the best question to ask the interviewer when he/she says, ”Any questions from your side?” Trust me; a good question has a tremendous positive impact.
2. It is okay not to know where you want to go
3. It is okay to get rejected in a couple of interviews
4. Your smile and confidence can work wonders!
5. Mock Interviews: Friends can interview each other or try to find online platforms for mock interviews. Many students have a good grasp of technical knowledge, but falter in an interview. Practicing with mock interviews goes a long way.
6. Communicate effectively: pay attention to details, and ask for more information on the questions wherever required.
Morgan Stanley Selections!
Coming back to Morgan Stanley, the selection process begins with an online test. The test has short answer questions on debugging, some logical reasoning questions, and some classical coding problems. The questions are doable, but time is short, so my tip would be “Move Fast and Break Things”! (sorry Facebook for the rip-off :P).
For the interview, there were around 18 candidates. The first round was a technical interview where they asked me questions about my CV, some DSA questions, and some real-world problems. The real-world problems are open-ended, and they mainly check our way of thinking. They liked the fact that I had a lot of projects on my resume and also some extracurriculars to deal with stress. The next round was HR, where only four students were shortlisted. Here they checked my personality with a lot of classic HR questions. Their main focus was to gauge the ability to work in a team. They realized my ability to deal with feedback and liked it the most.
Flashback to the Internship mugging
I had participated in Microsoft’s Codess Program during Summers. There were a couple of assignments, one or two online meets, and a visit to Microsoft Office with a personal one-to-one mentor interaction for a few (I happened to be one of them). Doing the assignments with the utmost sincerity profoundly helped me. That was how I began learning DSA from scratch!
I continued my self-learning in a detailed systematic manner after the program through a couple of online links and courses. All of these efforts helped me gain the required technical knowledge for this Internship.
Summarizing the topics worth preparing for coding interns:
2.Object-Oriented Programming Concepts
3. Basic coding related puzzles.
4. Classic HR questions
5. Probability and Statistics
6. Revision on Linear Algebra
7. Topics mentioned in the resume
The unforeseen WFH experience
Moving on to the actual work at Morgan Stanley, training sessions were organized in the first half of the Internship. The training covered all domains, including technical, personality, ethics, and even a finance workshop. Extensive technical training with assignments was given, covering varied programming concepts.
In the project part, I had a Java 8 project. For novice readers, Java 8 is like an advanced version of Java that uses a functional style of programming. In simple terms, I had the task to capture the description of an evaluation logic in code, produce documentation with that logic and other details. It was what is termed as a Real-World Project working on their sophisticated source code. Almost every tool I used in my Internship was something I had no prior experience with. The technologies include Java’s frameworks like Spring, Junit, Cucumber, Reflections, Regular Expressions, Streams, Design Patterns, XML parsing functions, Morgan Stanley’s frameworks, even the IDE and the thorough git knowledge. The mentors are understanding, but we do need to demonstrate an ability to handle the steep learning curve.
One important point to highlight is that Morgan Stanley handled the crisis brilliantly. We received an email from a senior authority around 10th of April, ensuring us that they would keep up with the commitment and that we needn’t worry. I received some learning material around 12 days before the Intern started, and I studied it rigorously to learn or level up in around four programming languages!
We had a full-fledged internship programme with everything that usually happens held virtually, and it was a huge success. Online meets were frequent. Fun activities like interactions with MDs, social service activities, group photographs were also organized. We also had virtual presentations at the end. I additionally had the experience to present my work and get applauded by a Senior Manager and his team from New York!
Work from home is a unique experience and has its pros and cons.
It brought the best out of me, and I worked more than 12+ hours at a stretch at times!
1. Can work at the time that brings out your best.
2. Saves traveling time and money and most importantly, our energy level remains high.
3. You don’t have to worry about accommodation or other logistics
4. Flexible work hours
1. It requires a good internet connection
2. Creating personal connections with your colleagues is relatively tougher
3. Conducive work environment may not be present at home
Tips and tricks for a fruitful internship
My work-from-home Internship was a tremendous success. My confidence was lifted high in every domain, I had a productivity boost, and I received excellent feedback from my managers and buddies. Was I perfect? Well, no. I incorporated some routines and habits, which caused an immense difference.
Some important tips:
1. Seek Help!: If you are stuck, list out possible ways to deal with it. Go through all of them quickly. If they don’t work, seek help. Otherwise, you may waste time trying to sort trivial stuff that mentors can help you solve in minutes!
2.Utilize your best time:Get the top 20 percent of the work done at your peak time without interruptions.That’s the well-known 80-20 rule.
3. Show your proactiveness: Be the one with new ideas, ask them for deadlines, show them your research when you enquire how to proceed, initiate and schedule essential meetings, and communicate well.
4. Network well: Building good relationships with co-workers and managers is given an immense value in corporate institutions.
5. Plan: Planning the next day ahead the previous night works wonders.
I hope I was able to give you some insights with this INSIGHT blog post 😛
Feel free to approach me for any questions, feedback, or even an engaging chat!