Hello, I’m Shardul Burde, a fourth year dual degree student in Mechanical Engineering. I recently finished an internship at IndusInd Bank (Summer of ‘21). And yes, maa was elated to see me in formals:)
My Intern Season
Let’s skip this (please ? 😐 )
As one should be, I was filled with enthusiasm and hope at the start of the season. From spending too many hours on resume making to reading “Interview Prep Books.” I did it all(I think). Shortly (around August 2nd week), the season officially began. I signed IAFs, not after looking at the Job Description, but after looking if I was eligible(yes, that’s about it).
Naturally, this meant the season started appearing for tests of all sorts, left, right and center. As you’d expect, I didn’t get ample time to prepare for any of them. My lack of preparation aptly showed up in my shortlists (lack thereof, of course).
To my fault; I could not figure out what was going wrong for my entire 5th semester. I still kept applying for all the firms that let DDs (mech that too) apply. Thoughts like “what even was the point of building a resume” had become common. By the time I did get to an interview shortlist(winter), I had given up and convinced myself that “sab moh maaya hain.” Moreover, I just wanted to take a break and go on a winter trip(Aavhan :* )
Admittedly, this was extremely frustrating and demotivating. I won’t say, “Eventually, all things fall into place.” But I do stand by. “Things will eventually shift. Things may not get better, but there is one certainty in life: change is constant. ” Have faith in yourself that your efforts will affect a shift towards a better trajectory.
Apping- The next logical step?
The winter trip helped a lot in rescuing my drive to get something done. Moving on, I felt like there was an ocean of opportunities still available out there. But before that, avoiding the same mistakes was crucial. I first narrowed down where my interest lay. My “interests” were a function of my peer group (helo mechanics :-} ). All that was discussed was Day Trading, IPOs, and other finance jargon. Naturally, I got the finance bug and delved into applying for similar profiles.
Finance seems narrow enough now? No? Argh. I learned the hard way that many firms offer finance-based roles to students in the business domain. Hence, applying to specific parts that look at an engineering background as a strength rather than a weakness would aid my application. One such profile was Derivatives. If you’ve heard about F&O(Futures and Options), you’ve heard about derivatives.
The Selection Process
The first “round” was a test(aptitude/technical). Questions were based on market concepts, and it encouraged using any tools needed(Calculators, Excel, or even Googling). The emphasis was not on testing specific ideas but on checking how quickly one grasps new concepts and problem-solving ability. The test even included a sum on a completely unheard (to me, at that time) financial instrument. Again, I was not expected to know it already, but to understand it and solve the problem.
This financial instrument was an Interest Rate Swap(IRS). I’m saying this not to explain what it is, but because my next round was based on this. My second round was a technical interview (which thankfully didn’t include coding). I was formally introduced to the concept of an IRS and provided actual market data. I was then asked to make an Excel model on a real trade deal that the Bank had done earlier. I thought this was a super cool way to interview and was very happy with how comfortable the interviewer made me feel.
My last round was sort of an HR round. I was asked some puzzles and some personality-based questions. A cool thing that happened was that my offer letter arrived after my last endsem was over. What a fun way to finish the year :>
Summer of 2021
Before my Internship started, I reflected on how an interview round was purely based on solving a problem in Excel. I even researched (read: Reddit binge) on how most Banks use Excel and VBA. Thus, out of enthusiasm, I finished a crash course on the same before my Internship started, which proved to be extremely useful (at least in the sense that I was not behind on tasks?)
Oh, didn’t I mention? Haa, my intern was offline(Banks are essential services), a flex in this lockdown :p I was super, super stoked about my 1st day. I even woke up at 6 am to reach early on my first day and click infi pictures 😐 The fantastic thing was that on the day I joined, a new employee joined on that same day. This coincidence meant two good things. I had a friend on day one and, of course, a much better learning experience.
My work hours were 9-6, and due to covid guidelines, trading hours were limited from 10-3:30. These guidelines just meant that my mentor got additional time to train us. For the first three weeks, we would be taught market concepts from 9-10. Following this, we would be asked to make models based on what was taught and given reference materials( textbooks, research papers) to read up. These models were to be validated with the firm’s past deals. These were sort of like mini-projects, which helped in rapid and hands-on learning. Understanding the financial instruments in a mota-mota sense (the one lingo I caught on) was also encouraged.
After the three-week training, I was given projects that were supposed to contribute to the firm and my learning. This part was mainly to validate a few of the firm’s exotic instruments and develop a python script for some new ones.
Reflecting on my experience, I surprised myself with how extroverted I was this summer—initiating conversations with anyone and everyone. Getting a chance to converse about “life” with my VP was my highlight. The team lunches were also something I looked forward to every day.
I took out some time for fun activities this summer. I watched many TV shows to get the motivation to paint something. Reminiscing, spamming people after every 5 minutes worth of drawing progress was fun but probably annoying as well.
Moving on, I hope you take away the following (Some suggestions now – if you disagree with me, that’s okay; these have made me a happier, and maybe a better person). Surround yourself with people whom you can rant to about anything. Talk. Talk with everyone. Form your own biases and views, and keep validating or debunking them. Trust the process. Trust yourself and your efforts. That’s all one can do, isn’t it? When you do have down days, try remembering that the only way is up from there. And lastly, have fun!
Thank you for reading this blog (my first piece, and yes, of course, that’s my excuse). Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, and I’ll be glad to help.