Hello there, I am Rishi Rathi and I’m pursuing a dual degree course, in an unconventional major, from a new department, which had zero representation in the PT Cell, and for someone who sits at this peculiar intersection, boy was I hopeful! *insert clown face*
It was towards the end of my 4th semester when I decided to start preparing for the coveted internship season. I had worked hard to pull up my CPI, bagged some decent PoRs, had a couple of internships ongoing and everything seemed to be going just fine. I was confident about my resume and getting shortlisted didn’t seem like a biggie (provided I’m eligible to apply *another clown face*). It was then that a friend of mine advised me to have a look at the previous year’s internship blog to decide on the sectors and profiles of my interest. Now I always knew that getting an internship as a DD is tough but the blog was another level of disappointment altogether. I figured things may not be smooth for me so I would have to make the best use of the few opportunities that might come my way. I focused on preparing extensively for cases, guesstimates, a bit of coding, puzzles, probability, HR questions, and pretty much everything under the sun (you know, just in case). ‘Non-core’ is what I was looking for, if it wasn’t already clear.
It was the start of August when all the big firms started appearing on the internship blog. I knew that I wouldn’t be eligible for a majority of them but not being eligible for even one was just heart-breaking. For reference, here’s what Day 1 looked like for me:
Alas, this wasn’t just Day 1, but pretty much the entire season. A few firms would occasionally mention ‘open for all’ on the blog and then put up shortlists with no DDs. A few others opened for all except our department while some opened exclusively for all DDs except ESED 🙁
I know it hurts when you get rejected by companies but it’s a different kind of hurt when you aren’t even eligible to apply.
By the end of September, the prospects of securing an internship through the PT Cell seemed bleak so I started to focus elsewhere. I had read about apping through Linkedin but had no previous experience of doing the same. I started off by creating a good profile and drafting a decent introductory message. In the meantime, not having to worry about PT Cell tests and interviews gave me enough time to read up and I had developed a penchant for Impact Investing (silver lining much?) I’ve written about it in detail here. So I started looking up firms in India, Singapore, Vietnam and Kenya (IBs, NBFCs, PE firms) that work in the said sector and as it turns out, having a B School degree is a must to be eligible even for internships in Impact Finance. Another bummer.
By the start of November, as luck would have it, I was offered a winter internship with ECube Climate Fund (a green NBFC based out of Mumbai). The internship was to start a week before our end-sems but since I did not want to miss out on this hard earned opportunity, I said yes. In the course of those 4 months, I helped the firm build a model to measure the climate impact of their prospective lending across 5 sectors and learned a lot about impact analysis. Moreover, this internship gave me a much needed breather and I was less worried about my summers now.
As I was approaching the end of my project with ECube in February, my perception on internships really changed. I was keen on getting a summer internship, not because,that’s what everyone does during summers, but because I genuinely wanted to explore the sector better. And I think this is what the motivation should be. Recklessly applying to the firms that come in through the PT Cell with little research about the profile, the sector, the company and its culture is just like an extension to the herd mentality that led us to pick our college and branch after JEE. The idea of ‘security’ is so heavily ingrained in our desi minds that it blocks out every other passion or even the prospect of pursuing it. I could orate more on this philosophy but I know that’s not what you’re here for :p
So with the intention of exploring social impact and/or environmental consulting, I started with the second round of apping in March. Apparently, this sector required a B School degree too but I was lucky enough this time around (perhaps because of the winter internship) and got the chance to sit for a few interviews. At the start of April, I was offered a summer internship at Frost & Sullivan in their TechVision vertical. Within a few days, I also got offers from some other firms that I had interviewed for but I chose to go with Frost.
During the 2 months of my internship here, I had the opportunity to work on 3 different projects based out of Europe and the Middle East. I also contributed to Frost & Sullivan’s emerging technology research where we profiled upcoming startups in the energy and environment sectors and assessed their business landscapes and market potential. Overall, I’d say I had a great learning experience. Interning at a firm outside of an internship programme can be challenging at times because you aren’t given an official training and are expected to know a lot of things beforehand but on the upside, it also gives you a sense of responsibility and ownership towards your project, skills that are key when you join the workforce.
All in all, the internship season was one heck of an experience for me. In retrospect, I’m glad that I took the time to figure out what actually drives me instead of taking the more ‘secure’ path. Lastly, if you, my friend, are pursuing a dual degree course, in an unconventional major, from a new department, which has zero representation in the PT Cell, take it as an opportunity to carve out your own niche. It’s a nice feeling tbh 🙂
PS: This Summer Blog would be incomplete without me mentioning a personal project that I started out this summer. Do check out this link. Thank you! (and no, it’s not a Rickroll)