While the majority of MBA students consist of engineering graduates, finance graduates in MBA also make up a significant part of the population.
We covered the journey from engineering to MBA in finance here: What should engineers do before joining MBA.
This time, we interviewed Piyush Kalwani, a finance graduate who moved to pursue an MBA.
Piyush shares some great insights with us regarding his journey in MBA so far. Let’s take a look at it.
Q) As a finance graduate, did you feel the need to strengthen your CV for MBA admissions? If yes, how did you do it?
A) In MBA admissions, apart from your academic record, a lot of focus is put on your CV too. During your admission interviews, the interviewers want to know whether the candidate will become an eligible manager in the future or not. This is why, I believe, strengthening your CV is crucial regardless of your background.
To add value to my CV, I did the FLIP Finance and Banking fundamentals course and another Mutual Funds course before joining MBA. I did these courses so that I could boast about them during the admission interviews and highlight my enthusiasm.
To strengthen your CV, there are two things you can do:
One, you can focus on a single discipline and do extensive courses on that. Strengthen your CV in only one direction.
Second, you can diversify your CV with extra co-curricular activities and different courses in marketing, operations, etc.
How you want to reflect your CV depends entirely on you and your interests.
Q) You scored an aspirational internship, how did you prepare for the interview? What was the process like?
A) The internship process started in August and ICICI bank was my first shortlist. They were offering roles in different domains but I wanted to go for finance.
As a fresher, I was confused about the questions they would ask me. So I revised everything taught to me during my B.Com (Hon) and the first term of MBA.
As expected, a large part of the interview consisted of technical questions on the concepts of finance.
They were just trying to find out whether I had the knowledge for the role since I didn’t have any work experience. I was able to explain most of the questions clearly.
They also extensively asked me questions about my graduation summer internship. Since my internship was in the mutual fund domain, I was asked questions like; what are mutual funds, what are their implications, was there any problem in your entire project that you identified or helped fix, how do you calculate interest rate, etc.
So my advice to all finance graduates in MBA is that if you’ve done a summer internship with a good project, prepare for it well. Interviewers can ask you anything related to your project.
Q) How do you think the course of the interview would have been if you had work experience?
A) People with work experience can have an advantage but it can also be a liability. This is because most of their questions are based on their work only. They don’t have a lot of chances to drive their interview towards their strengths.
So if you are clear about your work and the value you’ve added to your previous organizations, then the interview will go great. Otherwise, you’ll have a huge disadvantage.
During my interview, my strong point was my graduation summer internship. So when I was being asked technical questions, I strategically mentioned that I got this knowledge during my internship. That’s when their focus shifted and the interview started progressing in that direction.
Q) Coming to the internship season in your college, were there students who didn’t get an internship on campus but scored one off-campus? If yes, how did they do it?
A) While most of us scored an internship on-campus, those who didn’t, applied and got one off-campus.
Primarily, students applied through the LinkedIn job search. But instead of simply applying to the position, they actually got in touch with the recruiters who posted the openings. They connected with them or sent them an InMail directly to apply for the position. Following this, the formal process continued with Skype and face-to-face interviews.
Apart from LinkedIn, a couple of my friends also took part in corporate competitions. A lot of these competitions offer internships on winning. These competitions are a good platform for you to prove your enthusiasm in the field and also achieve something. But this method is not as popular as LinkedIn for off-campus efforts.
Q) What is your plan after you’re done with your internship?
A) My first plan after the internship is to try to get a PPO. That’s a priority for me right now. As far as specialization is concerned, I have already selected a double major in Finance and Marketing.
My interest in marketing piqued during my first year which is why I want to pursue that too.
Another advantage of Marketing is that it has a lot of scope. Marketing is something that is involved in each and every domain; be it Finance, HR or Operations.
Q) What kind of strategy for placements do you think your juniors should follow?
A) Firstly, not just finance graduates in MBA, but everyone should work on their summer internship well. If you have a chance of getting a PPO, don’t let it go. If you get a PPO, you’ll be able to focus on many different things during your second year. So that will be my first recommendation.
Now, to follow a strategy for placements, you should first identify the specific field you want to get into. Then, shortlist the companies that offer roles in that field and will come to your campus. Once you have a list, you’ll be able to research their basic requirements and improve your CV accordingly.
You should also do some certifications to add points to your CV. Industry-recognized certifications do get you an advantage over other candidates.
Another thing I’d like to add to this is that finance graduates in MBA should keep their options open too. Sometimes, you may not get into the vertical you were aiming for. But if you get another role with a good profile and high chance of growth, you should take it up. Placements are a gruesome process and can lead to things you weren’t contemplating. So, while you should definitely have a specific preference, you shouldn’t completely block the other options.
Well, thank you, Piyush for the great insights you’ve shared. Surely, everyone reading this now knows how to make their journey from Finance Graduation to MBA a success.