Hey, I’m Shubham Anand, a final year undergraduate student in the Department of Chemical Engineering. I come from Patna. Recently, I interned at Axis Bank as a Digital Product Intern and will be joining as a Product Manager next year. I’m interested in doing a lot of things, though not being exceptionally talented in any one of them. However, I try 🙂
Like most of us, I was not entirely sure as to which sector(s) to target in my internship season(something you must have already read a million times xD). However, I was sure I was not interested in coding(this…maybe a thousand times). I very well knew that this clarification would directly eliminate 60 to 70% of the total number of opportunities. So this leaves Consult, Finance, Product, FMCG and Core for me. I mainly started prepping for Consult where I solved some consult cases and guesstimates with my friends and watched some relevant videos. Apart from this, I had done a separate prep for HR rounds as well.
I was really excited about getting shortlisted in two major Day 1 firms namely, Strategy& and Deutsche Bank. My first rounds of PI went pretty smoothly and I headed towards round 2 but unfortunately, they were disasters for me. Maybe, I was a little over-confident of getting an intern on Day 1, given my candidature, but as fate would have it, I was rejected in both of them. I was hugely disappointed with my performance and started doubting myself (which is extremely inadvisable). After a couple more rejections, I started to understand my flaws and started working on them(extremely advisable). I gave a lot of mock interviews with my friends, talked to some seniors and started prepping accordingly. The same story continued for another 11 interviews, wherein some, I made it to the final round and in some, I was rejected in the first few rounds itself. To be honest, I had never faced so many ups and mostly downs in such a short span of time.
In the 3rd week of October, Axis Bank came with two profiles: Data Analyst and Product Owner. I was shortlisted for the Product Owner role purely based on my Resume. There were no pre-interview rounds like there are in other Product roles.
The job description was quite unique. It majorly talked about creating digital banking solutions, what is expected from a product intern, what can be the learning outcomes, etc. I started to map each point in the job description with my own experience. This was the basic prep I did just before the interview. There were two panels for the PIs. In my panel, the questions were relatively simple where they asked a few typical HR questions, a few questions based on my resume and the rest of the interview was about how I am suitable for the role. I explained the latter very well because luckily I had it prepared just before the interview. In the other panel, they had asked a few guesstimates and cases in addition to the above questions.
My interview went extremely smooth; I answered almost every question and the interviewer seemed pretty convinced with all my answers. To be honest, I was a little surprised that they had just a single round. And then at exactly 9:43 PM, Magic Happened! I finally saw my name in the Final Selections list and heaved a sigh of relief. Everything seemed to have stopped for the moment and the first thing I did was sit down and reflect upon my journey so far. It took me a couple of minutes to digest that Yes…I have been selected. That was possibly one of the best things I had felt in a long time.
Product Management, for me, is basically a lot of varied aspects put together under a single bracket. It involves developing a diverse set of skills and not just completely Tech or completely Non-Tech. To build a product from scratch you are required to identify the success metrics, the market launch plan, work on wireframes, brainstorm on how to make the product profitable, etc. Leadership and Problem solving are definitely at the core of PM but creative thinking was something that stuck with me.
The Project assigned to me was in the Trade Finance division wherein I had to strategize an efficient product that could act as a single view data bank for the customers as well as the bank which includes necessary insights and opportunities for the user based on their data and reports. The entire internship was divided into 3 interlinked phases.
In the first phase, I was required to understand the basic concepts of corporate finance and related services provided by the bank. Further, I focused majorly on Trade finance services and understanding the product’s core which included the benefits of the product for the customer and the bank, benchmarking the product with respect to the market, etc. This phase lasted for about 2 weeks. In the next 3 weeks, I worked on the PRD (Product Requirements Document, something every product person would know about) and connected with various teams including the IT team, Product team, RMs (Relationship Managers), etc. in order to validate the PRD. Post all the validation, I had to list down potential business opportunities corresponding to each Trade Finance Data. The last phase, which lasted for about 2 weeks, was primarily focused on preparing the final Product Proposal which included a Project Plan, a couple of wireframes (a basic design of the product), all the Business Opportunities for the Bank from that Product, etc. And last but not the least, I got the chance to present it in front of a team of seniors.
I tried to give you a glimpse of what are the things expected from a product intern. The specifics may depend on company to company and product to product but the overall journey of a product should be similar.
The internship season teaches you so many things; the most important of which for me was handling rejections. It was the first time for me when I faced so many successive rejections and I believe such is the case with a lot of us. There is just one catch to all of this – to not give up and keep searching for that one opportunity that sooner or later will arrive, you just have to be in the right state of mind and give it your best shot.
And lastly, if I were to give a tip to my juniors – Don’t idealize Day 1 interns so much, it is not the end of life but can be a beginning to something great.
Best of luck!