The first three months of MBA are critical. Everybody is focused on scoring that perfect internship that tends to decide their entire MBA journey. Especially, if you aspire to a finance internship which is fairly difficult.
During these months, it is extremely important to understand exactly what you need to do to get into the field you are aspiring to. To help guide you through this key phase of your MBA, we interviewed Suraj Kejriwal, for some valuable insights.
Q) How crucial are the first three months of MBA and why?
A) The first three months are extremely crucial. While you are adjusting to the new college and extensive curriculum, companies start coming for summer placements within three months itself. The environment is also highly competitive and if you don’t prepare for it well, you could face a serious setback in the months to come.
Q) How did you prepare in the first three months for the internship season?
A) Since I came from an engineering background, I was completely focused on my academics first because I needed to build a strong base. Whilst this, I also found out that I was interested in the finance domain. There were two subjects in our curriculum; accounting and FRA; which I really liked and they attracted me to the field of finance.
I also read the newspaper regularly for industry updates. Especially if you aspire to a career in finance, you have to be updated on the current affairs and industry trends.
Apart from that, I took part in the FLIP National Challenge and took up the Finance and Banking Fundamentals course. It helped me highlight my interest in finance.
On scoring an All India Rank 4 in the challenge, I won an internship with Axis Capital without having to go through any rigorous interview processes.
In fact, when I joined my internship, everyone there too followed the news aggressively. Different channels were tuned to since morning to evening and everyone kept track of what was happening in the industry, to their clients, to the markets, etc. This is why reading the news is important.
Q) If you had to list down three suggestions for your juniors on how to prepare in the first three months of MBA to crack a finance internship, what would they be?
A) Firstly, I would suggest everyone focus on their academics. This is because to get your CV shortlisted for placements, you need a good CGPA. If your CGPA is low, your CV is kept in low priority which might reduce your chances.
Secondly, follow the news regularly and stay updated about the markets and current affairs. I read the economic times and follow money control to get a basic understanding of how stock prices fluctuate.
Lastly, focus on ways to showcase your interest in finance. I expressed my interest by taking part in the FLIP National Challenge. While applying to banks for internships, I saw that my profile was matching with all other candidates. But my Finance and Banking fundamentals certification and FNC rank were what made me stand out. Such achievements can also help you drive your interviews in your favor.
Q) When did you first hear about FNC and how was your overall experience of it?
A) I first heard about FNC at my college. The Phenomena Club, that deals with most financial activities and events, was promoting it in the campus. Our seniors too had taken part in it and had suggested we do the same as it was very beneficial.
Coming from a non-finance background, I wanted to somehow showcase my interest in finance in my CV. So I took part in it. Apart from that, the finance internship opportunity as a prize too was an attractive incentive.
The learning experience was also amazing. I learned all the basics of banking and finance which helped me build a strong base. I really liked the course videos which were well presented and made it easy to grasp all concepts. It also helped me know my standing among other B-School students around. So, the overall experience for me was really great.
Q) After achieving an All India Rank 6 in FNC, you were chosen for an internship with Axis Capital. How was your internship experience?
A) My overall internship experience was really good. I got a core finance internship and my project was to make a landscape of the online gaming industry in India. The project was allocated to me on the second day itself and I had to go through tons of reading materials, including industry reports, prospectus’, drafts, etc., to get an understanding of the industry. I read whatever was available on the public companies in India.
For the private companies, since their information is not publically available, I had to curate data and get them verified from the company itself (if possible) or other sources. I also analyzed foreign companies to see if we could replicate what they were doing in India.
Q) So moving forward, what is your plan for the second year in MBA?
For now, I have chosen finance as my specialization. I have also taken up Corporate Valuation as one of my electives in the second year.
I would like to suggest this to everyone as well. If you are interested in finance and have the option to choose electives, take up the Business valuation or corporate valuation course. In a finance internship or job, you will need to valuate organizations. These courses will help you understand the various industry metrics that you need to consider while creating a landscape of an industry or organization.
Well, we wish you good luck for this year’s challenge too, Suraj. Thank you very much for the great insights you have shared with us today.