At the end of my second year, I had decided that I wished to give the tech field (corporate) a try. Other than that, I had applied for companies such as UBER and a few consulting companies such as Goldmann Sachs but didn't get shortlisted in any of them on Day 1.
I bagged the internship on Day 2 through OCS after many tests and group discussions. I focused primarily on the technical aspect of things, such as coding, quantitative analysis, etc. I had very little knowledge about business analytics in the corporate world, and I was not sure about the extent of my knowledge, but that didn't matter in the selection process.
Your CV is the first look the companies have. For interns, you need to try and ensure that your CV is as impactful as possible. Also, different profiles prefer different aspects of CV. Consultancy firms prefer ECAs and PORs, and tech firms prefer projects. For this very reason, OCS allows you to make six different CVs. As far as CGPA is concerned, if you are 8+, then you don't have much to worry about. Most companies set the bar at 7.5+ or 8+ to shortlist candidates. Some companies, such as UBER, don't shortlist candidates having CGPA below 8.5. During some interviews, you may be verbally asked, "Your CGPA is a bit low. Why is that the case?" But that's where it ends. Even if you're below 7.5, your window of opportunities closes slightly, but you do get chances.
The entire schedule got haywire due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns. Everything was clumped into one month, which I believe is a pretty short amount of time. We had just one week to prepare our CVs, two weeks for the tests, and the whole thing was over within a month. It was cumbersome, we had tests every day, around 3 or 4 of them, and this was in addition to the college work, which was already pretty rigorous on its own. However, I do realize that this isn't usually the case. So I don't think I will be able to give a fair opinion on what I want to change in the whole selection process, simply because our batch was uniquely subjected to such extraordinary circumstances.
In general, departments such as CS, MnC, and EE have a broader range of opportunities than the others, as far as internships are concerned, and it's rightfully so. Anyone in the top 20% in those departments is almost guaranteed an internship by Day 2. However, students in departments such as Textile have a limited number of areas to apply. Some companies may have biases towards specific departments, but I know Ab InBev didn't. They took six people at AB InBev, and three were from Textile. It didn't matter that they were a tech company. All they wanted were smart and interested people.
I interned at AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, which controls hundreds of beer brands, including the major ones, such as Corona and Budweiser.
The profile that I interned in was Data (Business) Analysis, and my position at that company was the Principle Analyst intern. I was given several problem statements and asked to solve them. I dealt with a lot of data involving different countries and our reach, and I needed to figure out the optimal values of certain investments in various parts of the world. It fell under the tech field, and I interned for two months.
My overall experience was terrific. Before this, I had very little knowledge about business analytics in the corporate world, and I wasn't sure about the extent of my knowledge. My buddies were very nice and helpful, and they gave me time to learn things. Because of them, I realized that work wasn't a race. All my technical knowledge about problem-solving came from that internship. My learning curve was steep, but it was good.
Before this internship, I was unsure whether to join tech as a career option, but that's no longer the case. The corporate world is very different from college, but it is a highly encouraging environment with the right people. We had lots of fun assignments, team-building exercises, and fun quizzes. There was a lot of bonding within the team. We could text our teammates whenever we felt like, and often played games together.
During my intern period, the most memorable incident was the PPO announcement, which happened a couple of weeks after the final presentation. We got an email from Siddharth, a guy from HR. This came as a surprise to me because Siddharth has this reputation of telling people, "I'll get back to you," but he never does. He mailed half of us, informing us about an urgent meeting with some super officials. It was very sudden. We got the email at noon, and we had to give the presentation at 6 in the evening. We were grilled with difficult questions. We were even asked to explain the entire presentation in just one slide. Later, we realized that it was a prank. Following the presentation, we were sent to breakout rooms where, suddenly, the Avengers theme started playing, and the names of those who had been offered PPOs got displayed one by one. Everyone had switched on their videos by then, and Siddharth was wearing funny goggles. It was hilarious.
I badly wished that the internship was offline. It would have been much more fun. There is a ritual of buddies throwing parties for interns. Besides, a lot of offline exercises get planned, such as quizzes and trips. There would have been a lot of interaction offline, and we couldn't meet some of our seniors because of the online mode.
Takeaways and advice for juniors:
In internships, usually, what matters is your technical knowledge and communications skills. But, in AB InBev, what alSo mattered was whether you could think on your feet and whether you could stand up for yourself. They hired people if they were convinced that "This guy can code, and he can speak for himself".
I had an internship in my second year, but it got canceled due to covid. The same thing happened with many people in my year. They got into random internships (through sites like Internshaala) to pass their time or possibly for exposure, but they weren't that beneficial. Having an intern after your second year certainly helps, but it's just one criterion. But at the end of the day, it's just a CV point and shouldn't be taken too seriously.
There certainly are advantages of the IIT Tag. Because of OCS, we get more opportunities than someone from IIIT, or NIT. But, I don't think it matters to your company during the internship period. Once you've bagged the internship, it doesn't matter where you've come from.
I would advise my juniors not to take too much stress about such things. I hurt my mental health in trying to bag the internship. Having got an internship, I know that it sounds hollow when I say it, but it's perfectly alright even if you don't have any internship. The whole purpose of a third-year intern is whether you want to do it or not. There persists a herd mentality about such things, but at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter.
Interviewed by: Sampan Manna