An interview with a Capital Placement intern on his experience interning in one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
Nirav recently completed his first year of BCom in Finance and Marketing with Strategic Management, at McGill University, Canada. Nirav applied for Capital Placement’s Finance internship programme in Bangalore. In this Blog, Nirav will share his experience interning in India and his thoughts on the city of Bangalore, tips and recommendations, and his overall experience in the city.
Where are you now and what kind of internship are you doing?
I am currently doing a 10-week internship at Deloitte in their Bangalore office. I’m in Deloitte’s Clients and Markets department, which gives me a great insight into the world of both auditing and finance.
What was your first impression of Bangalore?
I currently live and study in Canada but I’m originally from North India and this is my first time coming to Bangalore. It is completely different compared to other cities in India!
You said Bangalore is unlike any other city you have been to in India, can you elaborate?
One of the first things I noticed was how liberal and diverse the culture is. Bangalore or Bengaluru as it is known now, is known as the Silicon Valley of India, with its diverse range of multinational companies, especially tech companies.
When I was walking around, one of the first things I noticed was how young the population in the city was. Also, it feels like a city you would find in a Western country because there are people here from all over the world so I was really surprised by that.
How is the place you are staying? Is it far from the office?
The accommodation is extremely comfortable; it has all the facilities I’m looking for and the location is amazing. It is very centrally located and best of all, it’s a stone’s throw from the office.
I am moving at the end of the month to new accommodation. The original plan was to stay at a different hotel but there was a large Indian wedding taking place and the entire place was booked for a week, so I am here until the end of this month! I have been told that the new place is Capital Placement’s usual accommodation option. I will tell you more about it once I have moved there.
What has your first week been like? Your first day especially?
Lisa, who is Capital Placement’s Operations Manager in Bangalore picked me up around 9:30am from the hotel (The working day starts slightly later here than they do in Canada), and took me to Deloitte’s office. On the way, she showed me her office in case I ever needed anything, which I thought was a nice touch.
We arrived at Deloitte’s office around 10:15 am, where I was introduced to a person from Deloitte’s HR Department. I then had to sign some legal documents like a non-disclosure agreement, a contract for the internship, etc. After these formalities were done, I was handed my access card for the office building. I was then taken up to my department and introduced to my supervisor, the team, and other interns whom I’ll be working with during my internship.
Each intern is provided with a work laptop and their login details are generated from Deloitte’s head office in Mumbai, which can at times take some time to set up like it did in my case. So, while I was waiting for my login credentials, I started on some work that did not require a laptop for my supervisor, this took me until lunch.
When I got back to the office after lunch, I realised that I still couldn’t log in to the laptop provided and so while I was waiting for my laptop to log me in, I was given a tour of the office, and later in the afternoon was called in to meet the Senior Manager who was in charge of the Clients and Markets department. We had a brief chat regarding the project I would be working on and he wanted to customise it according to my interests, preferences, and expertise which was really thoughtful. I then got back to my desk and luckily everything was set up – I dived straight into the work I was set and before I knew it, my first day was over!
The rest of the week was hectic. I was busy understanding Deloitte and adjusting to the work culture here, as I have never worked for any large firms in the past. I am working on several projects at the moment, including an assignment involving the pharmaceutical industry, where I have had the opportunity to speak with the CEOs and CFOs of these companies. I can’t disclose more or I could get in trouble with the HR department for potentially breaching my NDA! Other work involved developing market intelligence- it’s a bit like commercial awareness where you understand the market and see what is happening, capture news, and provide my analysis via a report to my supervisor.
How is everyone at the firm and the work you are doing?
The people here at Deloitte and especially in my department are amazing – they genuinely care about my experience with the firm and have always been proactive in offering help. The senior manager took time out of his extremely busy schedule to sit down with me on my first day to understand my goals and and tailor the work so that I am constantly learning and developing new skills which are relevant for my chosen career path.
I also get a lot of opportunities to network with employees within Deloitte and I am pretty eager to soak in as much information as possible! They are all so friendly and more than happy to tell me about what they do and help me with my work when I need help.
How are the hours? How is the office?
Things here in India are slightly more laid back than it is back in Canada, where the work hours are 9-5/ 9-7, depending on where you work. My official working hours are from 9:30-6 but I often find myself staying in the office until around 7 because I prefer to finish all my work before I leave the office.
Have you had a chance to explore the city much? Also, any plans for the weekend?
After my first week, I spent Saturday recovering from the week I just had. I then spent the Sunday around the Brigade Road/ MG Road area, which I would highly recommend. It’s famous for its social scene – there are so many shopping centers, bars, and clubs in the area and you can easily spend a whole day around there.
Have you found any interesting places yet? Especially restaurants or bars?
I am a total foodie, and I cannot explain how amazing the food scene here in Bangalore is! I try to find a new place to eat for every meal and there is definitely no shortage of restaurants or bars around where I am staying. One thing I have fond memories of, but something you don’t find in Canada, is the Indian street food which I now have at least once a day! You have not experienced Indian food until you have tried the street food.
How much do you spend on food a day?
I usually spend somewhere between 70 rupees to 100 rupees [£0.70-£1/ $1-$1.50] a meal if I am having street food. I usually go to a restaurant for my dinner and I find myself spending between 250- 500 rupees [£2.50-£5/ $4-8] for a meal at the top restaurants here.
Have you been to any of our socials here yet?
Yes, I did go out once for dinner with Shoum this week, who is the Bangalore-based Partner. Shoum’s background is in investment banking and we ended up talking about various things for close to 3 hours that night where I learnt a lot of things from him.
What can someone do to prepare for an internship in India or Bangalore in particular?
I think there are a few ways in which you can prepare yourself –
- Expect hot weather, the weather here is close to 30 degrees!
- India is most probably going to be unlike any country you have previously visited so I recommend people come here with an open mind to get the most out of the experience.
- Plan ahead so that you have things planned each weekend. A visit to the Taj Mahal is a must and there are so many other things you can do during your time here, so plan ahead!
- As I am working in an audit firm, I wish I spent some time brushing up on my Excel skills. It’s something I rarely use in my day-to-day life but as I have learnt, it is vital to have excellent excel skills when you are working at an auditing firm. We usually get a lot of data and it comes in super handy.
Interns get the chance to explore life in the real world, and this means taking on a certain level of responsibility. Individual tasks and projects are a fantastic way of getting the responsibility and real working experience you need to make your internship a success. But, what exactly is the role of an intern?
It’s not a stretch to say that internships have become indispensable. The competition for jobs has never been stiffer. When making hiring decisions, we note, employers will lean heavily towards students who have at least some internship experience under their belts.
Contrary to popular belief, completing an internship isn’t easy. If you think internships are about fetching coffee for everyone and generally riding on the team’s coattails, toss your expectations out the window. Modern intern roles – even the support kind – are as taxing and responsibility-ridden as full-time jobs!
It’s important to enter your internship with the right mindset. If you don’t know what to expect from your internship role, you’d better prepare yourself so that you know what you need to succeed. Also, carrying out your intern responsibilities successfully will help you build up a potent skillset.
What is an intern?
An intern is a trainee who has signed on with an organisation for a brief period. The goal of an internship is to gain work experience, occasionally some university credit, and always an overall feel for the industry they’re interning in.
Internships may be paid, or unpaid. The engagement period may range from a handful of weeks up to 2 years. With long-term internships, you’ll almost always be compensated in some way. The compensation may include a monthly wage, accommodation, travel expenses, and/or a food allowance.
Many companies require you to complete an internship with them before they even consider you for a full-time role.
What do interns do?
So what does an intern do exactly? That depends on the industry in question and the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. Research internships come with a different set of roles and responsibilities than, say, an internship geared toward easing you into a full-time role.
An intern is primarily a support role – at least in the beginning. When you join up, your main job will be to assist, learn, and grow. After you’ve settled in, you’ll be expected to pull your own weight.
Here’s a general overview of the work you can expect to do as an intern:
Assist in day-to-day tasks
As an intern, don’t expect to spearhead a critical project anytime soon. But that’s by no means a bad thing. You’ll be trained to spearhead projects in the future. Your boss will give you general errands to educate you on the ins and outs of the organisation, to gauge your general skill set, and also to bring your skills up to par.
Here are some day-to-day intern roles and responsibilities:
- Performing clerical duties: It’s almost a guarantee you’ll be taking memos, maintaining files, organising, creating PowerPoint presentations, drafting reports, and the like.
- Managing social media and emails: You may be asked to handle the company’s social media accounts, write emails to customers, talk to clients on the phone, and do similar duties.
- Event handling: Interns are often asked to oversee the scheduling of meetings, including organising conference rooms, and taking care of the food and drink.
- Research: Also, Interns fresh from a university education have a great deal of up-to-date knowledge. Your organisation may put this knowledge to good use by placing you in a research role. You may be asked to assist in streamlining an organisation’s work process in some way.
Learn and gain experience
You’ll be expected to learn as much as you possibly can while you work, regardless of the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. What kind of learning will you be doing? That can be broken down into two main areas:
- Picking up hard skills: Hard skills are the technical skills you need to successfully carry out your intern responsibilities, and eventually job duties. Examples include learning how to operate a computer program, drafting a company report, handling the company inventory, and maintaining the company database.
- Brushing up on your soft skills: Soft skills are as important as hard skills. Soft skills are all about your ability to relate to people and building mutually beneficial relationships. Examples are talking, listening, diffusing conflict, time management, and the development of empathy. You need soft skills to manage clients, not to mention get along with your bosses and colleagues.
Job shadowing has become the norm recently. As the name suggests, the practice involves “shadowing” someone as they perform their daily duties, observing their activities, and learning what the role entails via indirect experience. This is an especially popular practice in hands-on fields like engineering and healthcare.
How does this work exactly? When you join the organisation, you may be assigned a mentor. During the first few days or weeks, you may be tasked with following them around. They’ll show you the ropes while they work. You may be asked to assist with light tasks here and there and will be encouraged to ask questions. Eventually, you’ll be trained to take over the position.
Take on an increasing amount of responsibility
As time goes by, expect to shoulder an increasing amount of responsibility. Initially, the company will gauge your current skill set and reliability with “grunt” work. Eventually, as you prove yourself to your colleagues and bosses, you’ll be entrusted with more crucial tasks. The better you perform, the more the responsibilities you’ll be given.
When you join as an intern, it’s always smart to give it your all. The work may feel uninspiring at first, and that’s understandable. But if you can demonstrate enthusiasm and perform without complaining, you’ll slowly but surely work your way to the good stuff.
Interns who really impress their bosses can expect glowing recommendations, if not an offer for full-time work.
While networking isn’t an official requirement as such, it might as well be. Networking involves building relationships with your bosses, colleagues, customers and clients. You’ll need the backing and support of people in different places to build a successful career. Also, building good relationships with customers is always good for the organisation.
Here are some examples of the kind of networking interns do:
- Finding a mentor: Mentors act as anchor roles for interns. If you find a good one, you can follow in their footsteps and build a successful career just like them.
- Forming a peer support group: Interning is hard. Finding a peer support group that is going through all the ups and downs with you will make it much more enjoyable for everyone involved.
- Getting in with bosses and coworkers: Interns who can build strong individual bonds with their coworkers and bosses become a part of the “family”. You’re much more likely to be offered a full-time role at the company in the future.
Make a career call
Finally, usually at the tail-end of your internship, you have to make a career-defining decision: continue in the field you interned in or try your hand at something else entirely.
You got a taste of what working in your industry full-time would be like. Did you love the experience and can’t wait to dive back in again? Or do you feel you’d be happier doing something else?
Internships are usually short-term. They’re smaller investments in time and energy than full-time jobs. Consequently, they’re perfect opportunities to explore your options. You deserve work that’s fulfilling. If necessary, you can sign up for a different internship role with another company in the same industry to see if you’re happier there.
Your internship is going to shape the course of your career. It’ll help you acquire the skills you need to perform up-to-par when you’re hired full-time. It’s essential to use your internship as the training opportunity it represents.
You’re sure to have a bright future if you work hard, build positive relationships, and remain grateful for the internship opportunity. Capital Placement can assist you in securing a life-changing internship opportunity abroad, in line with your talents, skill-set, and career goals. Reach out to us now!