When fishermen can’t go to sea, they mend their nets…this quote summarizes the philosophy I have been following from the day I came home in the middle of my fourth semester.
The lockdown hindered a lot when it comes to the amount of social interaction I can have, but at the same time, it unlocked a lot of time to learn the skills I always wanted to but didn’t have the time for earlier.
Hey!!! This is Shivansh Bansal, a fourth-year mechanical undergrad. From the beginning itself, I didn’t have much inclination towards core, so I wanted to explore other options. So, I planned to take a minor in computer science and then think about my interests. And yeah! I was fortunate to identify it when I started trading just a couple of months before covid, FINANCE it was 🙂 After this, I finally decided to focus on careers which offer a blend of finance and tech. Just a couple of weeks ago, I completed my internship with Barclays Investment Bank (Global Markets Mumbai) as a Summer Analyst where I worked in the Electronic Trading Division.
Being a guy with not much in the POR domain (Just TAship & Convener xD), I was a bit concerned if my resume is strong enough to get me through the shortlists I was hoping for. So I planned to go heavy on the part of the internship (peaks in the resume concept come really handy). In my fourth semester, I did some apping and I was able to bag a research assistant internship in the field of finance and NLP at Telfer School of Management, the University of Ottawa in Canada. Sadly, this internship turned out to be WFH and I didn’t get to go to Canada due to this covid thing ://////// Alongside, it used to pinch me to have this much free time in hand (which apparently I love right now), so I opened my LinkedIn, dropped a couple of messages and I was able to grab an analytics internship opportunity at Reliance Industries Limited. My aim over here was also the same, to keep my internship as aligned with Finance and coding as possible. And I got a data analytics role for the crude oil indices prediction model.
The two companies I aimed at with full conviction were: Deutsche and Barclays. But I didn’t even get an interview shortlist for Deutsche. Lol. Why? I am gonna plead the fifth on this one (Psychometric test xD). Then came Barclays, and fortunately I got a shortlist in it. With one case study, apti/quant/coding/English test, and freaking three rounds of interview, it was indeed a bit of a rigorous selection. Although, the funny and exhausting thing was, I gave three rounds of interviews within 2 hours, with a 5 minutes gap between the rounds, where the first 2.5 minutes were spent thinking that I messed up and the next 2.5 minutes to get ready for the next interview.
Now without any further ado, I will come to my….
Welcome Party, lots of networking, fun with alums in the company, Lonavala trip (since it was in Mumbai), Fun Friday nights, Farewell party and yes at last, obviously the project I worked on too…..
Could my internship BE any better?
No…but I just hope everything I wrote above was true, it could have, if this would have been an offline one ;(
Now, opening the doors to reality…
[10th May 2021 to 2nd July 2021]
It was an 8-week internship, so as expected it was one hell of a roller coaster ride with a lot of fun.
Working in an IB (Investment Bank) means you have to adhere to a lot of compliance requirements and this starts with a lot of restrictions in software, data sharing, etc. So it takes at least a week to get the technical setup done.
Over the onboarding, we also had sessions with multiple people to understand the business of Barclays, a couple of fun sessions for ice-breaking between the interns, etc.
Also, in the beginning, I spent a lot of time exploring my desk (Electronic Trading Desk) and getting an in-depth understanding of the ET products we deal with, the clients, etc. I was also coordinating with our counterpart at the New York Division of Barclays. The working hours were a bit odd for my desk (usually afternoon to around 11 PM), since I just told, we coordinate with the New York Division and there are adjustments that need to be made accordingly for that. As part of my daily routine, I used to have one or two daily review meetings (usually at 1:00 PM and 10:00 PM) where I used to get my day’s progress reviewed and decide the tasks ahead.
In IBs, usually only one programming language is expected from you and i.e. Python. But the interesting thing is, it might not be of direct use when it comes to your specific task. The programming languages or software you will need depends a lot on the IB you go into and more often, even varies from team to team. For e.g. I was familiar with Python, but had to get a bit used to Pyspark (Python API which uses Python and Spark, mostly used for Big Data). I had some idea of SQL but we were supposed to use another query language which is KDB+, extensively used in the financial world. Also, there was another enterprise-specific software I was supposed to use (which had a niche application and quite a few teams in Barclays itself using it), and I had to reach out to a guy in another branch of Barclays to solve my queries for that. So all in all, my experience was loaded with learning and its application going on parallelly.
I can’t go into the technicalities of my project due to compliance-related bindings. But I can tell this much that my task mostly revolved around automating the analysis of the data generated from the Electronic trading products of Barclays.
Saddest moment: There was this goof-up I did in my second week, where, due to a blend of my fault, miscommunication with HR, and some technical issue, I legit got a bit of a scolding from my line manager. And I remember calling my friend after that and saying the words “Bhai PPO ki to ab durr durr tak soch bhi nahi sakta, sirf project poora bhi ho jae to hi badi baat hai”.
Now the Happiest Moment: On the penultimate day of our internship, we had a Best Intern Award ceremony and as obvious from above, I didn’t have many expectations. But my name was indeed there and listening to the speech my mentor and buddy gave in my appreciation, I was literally on cloud nine.
Workload: In the beginning weeks, it was pretty low (6-7 hrs per day) and I legit had the time to watch Family Man season 2 within two days of its release.
But over the end, there were days when I worked for more than 10 hrs a day. But it was still a lot of fun, I was enjoying what I was doing and there’s no greater feeling than that.
Key Learning: One critical learning I took from my experience is that stuff like work/technical skills and all will go on forever, but what you take from somewhere are the connections you build and the business understanding you develop about the things around you. Because one can enhance their technical skills at any point in time, but it’s the business acumen and network that takes a lot of time and requires opportunities to build.
Here’s how the farewell party actually looks like in an online internship xD
Now let’s cut the chase and come to the most relevant part for most of you guys 😉
Teeps and Treeks:
I will try to be crisp over here and will lay emphasis only on the ones which personally helped me and the ones which tend to get sidelined in the hustle-and-bustle of the internship season preparation.
- Take a print-out of your resume, and circle the things you think a question can come from. Then spend time on those concepts/points and be prepared over those questions.
- Send your resume to your best friends/well-known seniors (because this task is a bit of an effort taking one) and ask them to take a closer look at your resume and write-down all the questions that pops up in their mind. As you send it to more and more people, you will have an exhaustive list of questions that are possible from your resume.
- Prepare something which is not on your resume. It is seldom but still, an interviewer can ask you a question like “Tell me something which is not on your resume”.
- Several times, the projects we write in our resume seem to have solved a problem, but many of its details are just brushed under the carpet. It might be that results didn’t come or they aren’t lucrative enough or the project couldn’t be fairly completed etc. So if you are still writing that project in your resume, then reading about those unsolved things of the project and having an answer ready for them is a must thing to do.
- “Walk me through your resume” or “tell me the most important or most fascinating thing in your resume”, prepare a well-structured answer for these two.
- Being confident is the key. It’s the best attire one can wear. Cliche but true 😉
- Be good with the opening, in most of the interviews, the first thing the interviewer asks is “Tell me about yourselves” and prepare this extremely well. This is where you can use the bread crumb strategy and try to have a hold on where to drive the next 20-30 minutes of your life.
- Try to have a subtle smile on your face with a few hand gestures in the interview. Sets a positive tone
- Be extremely ready for the repetitive HR questions, I know none of us want it and they are extremely boring but think of them as a full-toss, if you can’t hit a six, just don’t get out over it.
That’s it from my end, I am gonna hit the sack now. Feel free to ping me on messenger/WhatsApp if you want to know about anything in detail, would be glad to help.
Goodbye and Cheers!! 😉