The finance domain is highly aspirational and a core finance internship is a great way to get into it. However, for engineers, cracking a finance role with absolutely no background in it can be a tough grind.
We interviewed Amit Agarwal to get some clarity on how engineers can prepare themselves in the first year of MBA to get into a good finance internship.
Q) How did you prepare yourself for the internship season, specifically to crack a finance role?
The internship season started within two months of joining MBA. With no background in finance, I was quite scared.
I did NCFM certifications to build my base, but each of them focused on a very niche area. I needed to broaden my horizon in a short period of time.
Then, I checked out the FLIP programs and found that most of these courses were very relevant and important for someone new to finance.
First, I took up the Finance and Banking Fundamentals course to understand the fundamentals of the industry. The course was beautifully presented and covered a lot of important topics.
Then, during the FLIP National Challenge, I took the more advanced Wealth Advisor course. The course had wide coverage and included concepts on derivatives, strategies, PMS, mutual funds, insurance, etc. and very real-life applications. This helped me gain an edge over my peers and prepared me for the conceptual part of core finance internship interviews in all major areas.
I will be taking part in FLIP National Challenge Season 10 also to add value to my CV for placements.
Apart from the certifications, I also read the newspaper and various financial blogs like Investopedia. This was to prepare myself for the general awareness part of the interviews.
Q) How did the FLIP courses help you in your interviews?
I’ll share an interview experience with one of the companies that came on-campus. In the technical interview round, most of the questions were based on derivatives and different strategies like straddle, butterfly, bull call, etc.
Until then, no subject in MBA had covered these topics. Studying the wealth advisor course helped me answer those questions.
There were a couple of other similar experiences with topics like insurance and PMS. Learning about them early in my education was hence, very beneficial for me.
Apart from this, the very obvious benefit for me was getting an internship directly without any GD or interview at Sanctum Wealth Management after scoring an All India Rank.
Q) As an engineer, were there any challenges that you faced in your first finance role?
I didn’t face any such challenges because of my engineering background.
In one year, IMT Ghaziabad prepared me well enough in all financial concepts, industry workings, areas of focus, etc.
Moreover, the Wealth Advisor course and my preparations for the CFA level I exam also equipped me with the knowledge I needed for my project during the internship. Even during my term exchange program through Neoma Business School, France, I chose Investment Management and International Finance as my electives.
These subjects helped me get a broader perspective of finance which was relevant for me. So I was completely prepared for my internship.
Q) What are the top 3 pieces of advice would you give to your juniors aspiring to a core finance internship?
My first advice would be to start preparing as soon as you join college. In college, time flies away quickly and you could miss out on a number of opportunities if you are unprepared.
Secondly, do certifications to groom your CV, especially if you’re not from a commerce background and want a core finance internship. FLIP and NCFM are the best short-term modules available. Aim to do at least two modules of each. Reading CFA Level I books will also equip you with the information to prepare for the internship season as well as your classes.
Lastly, read a lot of financial newspapers and blogs. Your general awareness of the domain is tested rigorously in interviews and these are your prime sources of relevant information.
If you work diligently, it will show in your preparations. So don’t worry about the results, just believe in your preparations and the results will definitely show.
Thank you, Amit, for the wonderful insights you’ve shared with us today. There is no doubt that your inputs will help your juniors have a more clear understanding of their path ahead.