Ayush Khaitan interned at HDFC Bank Ltd this summer, and shares his experience and story of internship. Ayush is a student at Department of Economics, University of Mumbai. Read on to explore his story with a climax.
Friends: Ohhh Wow! You got an internship with HDFC Bank, you are gonna have a great time ahead!
Seniors: Aah internships! Who takes interns seriously? They are just for CSR in any organization!
Professors: Hmm so you will intern with HDFC Bank, good you will learn a lot. Work hard and be sincere!
Family Members: This is your fist step into the real world; Try to get a job there.
Mentors at HDFC Bank: The Department of Financial Control (Fincon) is the brain of the bank, and we generally don’t take interns, because you are the lucky one, so a lot is expected from you.
With different opinions and different expectations from different people, I started my internship with HDFC Bank. I was a little apprehensive in the beginning because I didn’t want my internship to end up with just a certificate in my hands, as warned by my seniors. I wanted to learn some real things instead.
So the internship started on 5th May, 2014 and on the first day, considering Mumbai’s office traffic in the peak office hours, I left early from home; to my surprise I reached office one hour before expected, I utilized the time getting to know the area. Later I reported at 9:15 A.M at the reception. I was introduced to my mentor Ms. Madhulita Mohapatra (Madhu) and every member of the department. For the first two weeks I was given some reports and presentations to acquaint myself of the functioning of various verticals and horizontals of the bank. Once I was through all this, the real work began, my senior mentor, Mr. Aashish Mundira (Assistant Vice President-Fincon) briefed me of the expectations from me and other requirements of the project.
The project was titled “Competition Analysis: Market share growth of Banks in India”. In the next three weeks, I worked rigorously towards data mining and layout. Through this I got to know a great deal about data cleaning besides several technical tools of spreadsheet. Under Madhu’s mentorship I succeeded in forming a repository of the expected data. Madhu has always been very friendly and helping, she always asked my views and opinions. I remember asking the same doubts about some technical things to her at least five times and she was always polite and helping enough to explain every time.
Indeed the whole team of Fincon was very humble, Mr. Vikrant Tandon (Deputy Vice President: Fincon), in spite of being from the other department, with no relation to my project, always helped me with his suggestions in any manner he could. Mrs. Vanita Das (Vice President- Fincon) always greeted me with a pleasant smile, indeed a couple of times she offered to drop me home in her Mini cooper after office. I was always invited to all the treats that kept on happening every other day in the office and since the first day I was always invited by everyone to join for lunch. The level of friendliness can be estimated from the fact that I don’t even remember the surname of half of the seniors as I was directed to not use surnames or Sir/Ma’am.
While Madhu looked at the developments in my project daily, Mr. Mundira followed up on a weekly basis. I was indeed shocked to see Madhu’s involvement in the project, I could have never imagined a mentor dedicating so much of her time in an Intern’s Project and that too not in a directive but a participative manner and every single meeting with Mr. Mundira was like adding a fresh perspective to the project. His outlook was panoramic as well as futuristic; such an interaction would dazzle me off the page after every single meeting. I remember that once when I came to office a bit early and Madhu or Pratik (DM- Fincon) hadn’t yet come, Mr. Mundira asked me to prepare a particular case study about the market in West Bengal, he wanted it urgently. Though I gave him the required study in an hour; later I came to know that this was going to Mr. Aditya Puri (MD- HDFC Bank) and I was like, how could he expect an intern to do something that is going to the MD?? These were the moments of pride and I still believe that I was more than lucky to be blessed with such exposure which is definitely a requiment of every brain to satisfy its intellectual hunger.
By the end of the fifth week, of my two month internship, I was ready with all the data, the next few weeks were about interpretation and analysis, which too were successful. And by the beginning of the seventh week I had the expected work ready with me after several discussion rounds with Mr. Mundira. While I thought that my work is done; it wasn’t so simple, I came to know that I will have to present the given project to different officials of the bank in the increasing order of their precedence, and then finally the project will go to the senior management of the bank. So the coming week I had a presentation every second day and the project was supposed to be corrected for the suggestions after every presentation; then the next presentation would be with a person on higher designation. During this, many a times Madhu asked me to come early to office in order to prepare for the presentation. And most of the times I was late due to the monsoons in Mumbai; she was polite enough to make me understand the same thing many times. This only led me to realize my imperfections.
When I was told that I will have to present the project to the Senior management of the bank, I felt that I am extraordinarily lucky to have this opportunity that my work will be on the table of these high dignitaries, and as an intern it’s an extraordinary credential to achieve. On 3rd July, finally my project was presented to the Senior management of the bank, and they gave a positive feedback. The internship was supposed to end on 4th July and I was happy to deliver what was expected from me along with the pleasure I had for gaining the invaluable experience of spending time and getting my work appreciated by the most intellectual bankers in India; On my last official day at office I thought that since every dawn has a dusk, so now it’s time to move to college again which had already started. Madhu was kind enough to arrange a feedback session for me. She conducted this session in a very official manner where she demanded for my feedback about the internship and my experience with the department.
Her feedback about my performance (detailed strengths and weaknesses) really helped towards gaining a perspective about expectations of a company from a campus recruit. In fact, in this one long hour of talks we realized that we both had a mutual experience of doing something new, for which we both were apprehensive in the beginning but, at the end, it proved to be worth it, the talks ended with her statements- “At Fincon we generally don’t take interns because the data that we deal with is very confidential, but seniors said that we should do it this time for this project which we couldn’t give much time. We were apprehensive considering the performance of interns that other departments employ, as this was a project which was new to us too and we wanted an intern who could carry it with the required level of sincerity. Many students came for the interview from some premier B-schools and one of them had a very strong recommendation too, but me and Vishal (Mr. Muttha: SM Fincon) decided to close on you and we are happy that you have done all the justice with your project ” I was speechless after hearing these words.
Though 4th July was supposed to be my last day of internship and all that was expected was delivered, during the feedback session Madhu asked me to come on the next working day as Mr. Mundira was on leave that day. When I came on the next working day, there was no less than a bomb waiting for me, Mr. Mundira told me that whatever I have done till now is great but now it has to be taken at the next level. He told me that the whole of the database that I have created detailing the financial indicators of the bank (with in-depth comparison with market) refined to state and population group level has to be reworked to set a particular format. He showed me some works that an engineer from Microsoft India had done for them some time back. I thought, it’s a difficult thing “How can he expect from me what an engineer from Microsoft has done? Moreover my classes had already started and I had taken some very tough electives so staying at work sounded like compromise towards college. Attendance was not an issue but making up for the concepts delivered in class was very difficult. Dinesh (AM: Fincon), Madhu and indeed the whole team was shocked about Mr. Mundira’s expectation from me, they were like “how can he expect this from him? He’s an intern after all? “Indeed no one in the whole department knew how to exactly complete this thing.
Initially I told Mr. Mundira that I won’t be able to continue because of my classes, but later he persuaded me to do the work by saying that the bank has deposits of Rs 3,67,000 crores in its books, and this project has to be sent to the eight regional heads who helped bank get these 3.6 trillion rupees. This will help in their policy decisions. He reminded me that I had presented my project to the senior management of the bank, and some of his own team members have not seen the senior management yet, he said Madhu took Six months to present something to the senior management I got the opportunity being an intern. I have always believed in filling the gap between industry and academia I thought that it’s an amazing opportunity to learn something new, so I just jumped into it. The internship extended for three more weeks and I am still making up for the losses of bunking classes, but the quantum of things that I learned in these three weeks, far exceeds what I learnt in the preceding internship. I could complete this unexpected task only because Madhu was always there to help. The Project was finally shown to Mr. Mundira and he was satiated with it. Today I feel obliged to him for forcing me to extend it. On my last day Dinesh invited me for an outing cum farewell where the whole team was going but I couldn’t join because I had already missed a lot of classes.
My seniors there, Madhu, Mr. Mundira, Pratik, Devang, Aamogh, Kshitij, Mr. Muttha and Mrs. Das treated me more like a beloved colleague is treated. From HDFC Bank (Fincon) I have got not only a certificate, stipend; and knowledge of banking, work philosophy & work process; But an excellent mentorship, grooming and warm hospitality, for which I will always be indebted. Even today wherever I see a HDFC ATM or Bank branch I get nostalgic of my internship days.
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