Achintya Kunj Goyal - NRI

Hello, I am Achintya, a to-be-fourthie in the Chemical Engineering department interning at NRI in the Automotive Industry Consulting Group (AICG). Also one of the current Chief Editors of Insight and I definitely had an option whether or not to write this blog (:D)

Get, Set, Go (July 2021)

Would be really great if someone actually said this and let you know when the intern race had begun but sadly it does not happen. No matter at what point you start your preparation, you will always know someone that is 2 steps ahead of you, such is the curse of being in this institute :P. For me, the season started around late June when I tried to figure out what profiles I can apply for. I eliminated profiles after talking to seniors/figuring out eligibility (I found FMCG boring and was not eligible for a ton of finance companies because I did not know anything about finance :D). Finally landed at Core, Consulting, and 2 or 3 financial/trading firms that did not test my financial prowess. Keeping that in mind, I started doing case preparation and spent most of my time in July jumping between case groups and trying to make a resume.

Cannot stress this enough, but get your resumes reviewed. Send it to seniors and your friends, do not be worried about how they will look at whatever holes you think there are in it but trust that they will only improve it. I won’t elaborate much on how to start case prep because I am sure you have already heard that in 3 different sessions. Just make sure you are regular and have a group as dedicated to the cause as you. Conduct mock interviews, and let people point out your shortcomings. Better now than looking back at interviews and wondering why you did not spot them before.

The coveted Day 1 (August 2021)

Come Day 1 and I had no consult shortlists. I had an Optiver interview shortlist in which I did not clear the technical round (Advice: Ask for a different interviewer if you cannot understand the accent) and pretty much ended the weekend with disappointment and anxiety. I had applied to 3 core companies by this point and hated all their HR rounds, I struggled to convince the interviewer I wanted to join them because honestly I was not convinced I did. Make sure you prep for HR questions for each company differently and do not have a generic answer - make it unique

For Nomura, the process was fairly simple. They had only one interview which was HR + one case and a guesstimate. My interview lasted for around half an hour and the case was non-conventional based on a point in my resume, they did not play out the entire case but stopped me when they were convinced with my approach. The HR part of it was pretty chill, we had a discussion about football and why I wanted to join NRI. What I felt helped me was having a connected answer to HR questions like why NRI and why consult. Do not just prepare generic points, relate them to your introduction or resume. Try and knit a story that allows you to join all these questions together. Takes trial and error that is best done in mock interviews with friends and seniors but pays dividends in interviews.

The intern

For all my excitement to start consulting and explore Delhi and go on weekend trips, life had other plans. Due to medical reasons, I had to spend the first 2 weeks of the internship working from home. The company was extremely helpful, everyone in my group was considerate and factored in my condition, tweaking my workload to ensure I had proper rest and recovery time. Once I finally reached the office, things got much more hectic.

For one, the AICG group does not have a lack of projects. Your inputs on which projects you want to be a part of are also taken into account to some extent (in the end, we were interns :P). I was lucky enough to sit in on client meetings (a rare occurrence for interns) and also got to be a part of offline expert calls. I have been staffed on 2 projects (one from the very beginning to completion) and a proposal till now (3 weeks to go in my internship at the time of writing this blog), so in short, have had a very complete experience

Another great aspect is that the work I did is being used by the firm as is, presentation slides that I (and other interns) made are there in the final client deliverables (with minor changes if any at all) regardless of how big or small the client is. The work culture and people here are great, with everyone from the partner to your immediate senior equally approachable

Skills learned: I can make decent presentations and take really accurate minutes of meets now :)

Some unsolicited advice

This is something you would have read multiple times and will read in every blog after this one so the words dilute a bit, but it will really all be okay. Worry about stuff but do not put yourself under unnecessary stress. Check on those around you, be happy for your friends that get interns and celebrate with them. It gets much easier if you have good friends around you, so remember to be a good friend to someone else first.

Stick to what you decide, do not panic apply to every company coming through. There will always be a company with a higher stipend or someone getting an intern before you or someone with a company that is seen as better than what you are targeting. All of these things might seem extremely important right now but if you get an intern in one of these firms, a year from now you will look back and regret applying out of FOMO when you are doing work that you actually did not want to be doing.

Trust your seniors; call us, trouble us, remind us if we forget, and learn from our mistakes as much as you can. We did it to our seniors and they did it to theirs, I assure you, you cannot possibly be any more annoying than we were so have no shame.

In the end, the entire season is about how well prepared you were. Practice everything from your introduction to your handshake to how you will sit. Have mock interviews with friends and get your talking points reviewed. Have a routine before your interview, refrain from accessing anything that might be a source of stress

Finally, the interview slot is your time. These companies have come to the campus to hire interns so while you have to impress them, remember that they are also looking to impress you. Do not make yourself crazy over what could have been - learn from your mistakes and be ready for the next challenge. Before you know it, you will be the one writing one of these :D

Feel free to reach out to me if I can be of help, I don’t think you will have a tough time finding my contact ;)