Decision Making and Preparation
During October and November, most of our batch was aiming for a foreign internship, and I started thinking about what I should do in future. A couple of seniors recommended I explore what I wanted without restriction. They told me that I could mail foreign universities for a research internship or go ahead and try working in startups that look for people in my year with minimal niche skill requirements. I started looking for research internships in Management, Digital Marketing, Business,and Finance. I used the QS Rankings list and worked upwards from the 40th ranked university; on each university website, I found the faculty in the department I wanted to work in, read briefly about professors there and added the contact details and summary in an excel sheet I was maintaining. After creating a list of around 50 professors, I sat down and scheduled emails to professors to read first thing in the morning on a weekday. I also made sure to abstain from sending emails in December because of the winter break.
I didn’t have much interest in coding, which I had realized through a course and a project that I had undertaken. I then had in mind Analytics, Management, etc. I had experiences from my PORs that helped me decide; for Enactus, I worked to educate underprivileged students who dropped out of school to work menial jobs in canteens and call centres. They worked for 12 to 15 hours a day, for very low pay. We talked to industry experts, figured out what skills to equip them with, and began working with a community in Munirka with our pilot project based on Digital Marketing. I found value in the work, and was motivated to pursue Management. In the end, I chose to pursue an internship in Product Management.
Internship selection process and Motivation
The process of my getting an internship was quite different from the usual. I was the campus director for “Hult on campus”, conducted by the non-profit organization Hult, and was involved with the logistics of a sponsorship from MakeMyTrip. We had invited Deep Kalra, the CEO of MakemyTrip, for an event, and he offered a pre-placement interview for the entire team, after which I was selected for an internship along with two others. I chose to intern in Product Management after interacting with a senior who worked in Product Management at Flipkart. When he explained the work he does, it interested me because it was similar to what I saw in Enactus, and I was intrigued by the problem solving aspect. In a Product Management role, we devise solutions to potential flaws in a product and work with a specific team for the implementation. If I saw an issue in the UI/UX of a product, I worked with the UI/UX team to implement the solution. This interested me, so I applied for the role and got selected for an offline internship in Gurgaon.
It was a short internship, around 40 days long, with 10-12 days taken for the onboarding process and training because the interview process was quite drawn out.
After they got us accustomed to the processes that occurred in MakeyMrip, I had to work on three aspects of the customer experience and post-sales sections:
The IVR automated caller response
To reduce the number of inbound calls and increase the number of outbound calls.
The training process included studying these processes and referring to courses they suggested we go through. We worked for around 20-25 working days, which was too little to learn any major core skills in product management.
Takeaways and Future Prospects
I gained valuable corporate experience and networking from the interactions I had with the managers, giving me exposure to various fields and clarifying what I wanted to do further in life. It streamlined my thoughts, familiarized me with corporate processes, and helped me decide whether I wanted a career in Product Management in future.
Currently, I have an internship at Bain & Co., a consulting firm. Before applying for it, I was in a dilemma as there was no company looking for a Product Management role, which I had done my internship in. I had the option to apply off-campus, but I settled for consulting on the recommendation of seniors who recommended I try consulting and told me I would still have a year to decide later on, based on my experiences in both. So, it all depends on how well that works out.
If you aren’t sure about what you’d like to do, you should prefer applying foreign for internships or working on a startup offline because those kinds of internships add a lot more value to the experience, providing you with a lot more exposure to a field. You’re also more likely to figure out what you want to do in life. I recommend everyone take this very seriously.
People who are sure they want to do something in a startup can apply through LinkedIn. They can start right now to connect with people and ask for guidance. rather than directly asking for an internship in December. They’ll have to build connections first, and I recommend trying to connect with IITD Alumni first, because you then have a higher chance of a response. Later, you can request they mention if they have an opportunity for you. This way, you have your network, and the chances of landing an internship are higher.
Interviewed by - Adnaan Mansoor