There is an atmosphere in IIT Delhi where everyone has to do an internship. I also went through this phase where there was a lot of peer pressure to get an internship as everyone around me was getting one. I would say getting an intern is not as crucial as getting the right intern. Even while applying for internships, I was very mindful of the companies and profiles I was applying to. Despite being from EE1, I did not enjoy coding and analytics work, and my passion was for finance. Unfortunately, in IITD, not many companies offering finance profiles came during the internship season. In phase-1, there were mainly consult profiles; since my passion was for finance, my preparation for the consult profiles was not very good, which was reflected in my interviews. I was a bit let down, but I realised there was nothing to feel sad about, and it was motivation to work on myself. And finally, in phase-2, Morgan Stanley came offering an internship in finance profile.
Since I was passionate about finance, I spent the time building a broad knowledge base and reading up on stuff related to the finance world. The interviewers are not expecting any specialised knowledge from your end but basic working knowledge about finance. Of course, profound knowledge about any particular area is helpful. I was interested in derivatives, and my interview revolved around that because I mentioned at the beginning of the interview that I find derivatives interesting, so I directed the interview in a way. Second, it is essential to read about the theory of guesstimates. Basic knowledge about bonds and securities is also valuable for fixed income profiles. Remember that the company has come to select you and not reject you, so confidence in the interview is vital as they want to check whether or not you’re a good fit for the company.
The first step was CV shortlist, where they gave preference to CGPA. Then there was a simple aptitude test that had a finance section that could be managed easily through basic finance knowledge. Doing MSL302 proved helpful as it covers basic accounting stuff, which gives you an edge. The English section was designed to test communication skills and had components like dictation, extempore etc., to gauge one’s ability to interact with the global team. The interview had two finance and one HR round. The interviewers were from France and Hong Kong. It was more of a conversation and discussion since they know you’re from an engg. background they are not very hard on you. There were questions related to guesstimates like profits of CCD in one week, how will you value a building and some questions about derivatives.
The HR round was also not fancy, and they asked only standard questions. You’re a good fit if you can converse with them fluently.
My experience was amazing, and I immensely enjoyed my time throughout the summer. I had to report to the HK and Singapore offices. My manager was the COO of the Asia Singapore region. He was motivated to provide me with the whole experience of the profile, so I was rotated between sales, trading and structuring desks weekly. I worked on several small projects to assist teams mainly. I took it upon myself to do a project where I tried to develop optimal combinations of NDFs and bonds for an investor depending on their geography using Bloomberg Terminal and Excel. In the end, they were happy with my work, and I also received a PPO.
Advice for candidates
Focus on what you’re interested in. It shouldn’t be precisely about the company but the profile you’re interested in and the work you want to do. A substantial amount of work done at a small firm is better than little or no work at a big firm.
Interviewed by: Adhiraj Goel