About the Author: Suraj Kamath is pursuing MBA from SIES College of Management Studies, Mumbai. He shares insightful details about his journey of bagging an internship at Deloitte.
Asian Paints is one of the top recruiters on campus and was coming for hiring summer interns. I had rigorously prepared for the same. My company analysis involved detailed scanning of their website, annual reports, organizational structure, strategic news, and ways to tailor the interview. I practiced rudimentary interview questions from YouTube and had every justification for what I had mentioned in my CV. I made it to the final round of Asian Paints after a group discussion where only seven people were shortlisted out of three hundred plus students. My interview was good, but I wasn’t selected. It was probably because of my prior IT experience and their sales profile which did not resonate well. I was completely bogged down because of my rejection, but I held on to my dream of interning at a big brand.
The other companies which came on campus didn’t excite me much. I decided to apply off campus either through company websites or different portals. This frustration fueled my inner fire to participate in B-school competitions, and I won several of them. During these competitions, I realized that my core competence was technology, market research, management consulting, and analytics. Once I understood this, I started applying accordingly. I did several rounds of cold calling but just got one reply, “We only recruit from tier-1 B-schools”. I applied in more than twenty-five companies and even went personally to their offices, but to no avail. At one point, I was so humiliated that I even started questioning my decision of doing an MBA from a tier-2 institute. One fine day, I got a lead from LinkedIn about an HR at Deloitte. I approached him, but there was no reply initially. Finally, after continuous follow ups, I got an email. I tried to approach people from the firm who could refer me through a referral drive. After some efforts, I was referred by an employee. I got a call for the telephonic interview from the same HR. He asked me about my interests and the roles I was looking for. I answered this question like a story teller and narrated my past experience in an effective manner. He was impressed; however, I wanted a pure strategy and operations (management consulting) role which is generally offered only to top B-school students. This wasn’t possible at the time, and the HR asked me to be patient or to look for a different profile.
When I had completed my engineering, I had applied at Deloitte Hyderabad for the role of a business technology analyst. However, I was instantly rejected due to no prior work experience. Deloitte had been a dream company, and I didn’t want to lose the opportunity this time. I kept sending him follow-up emails and finally, after a couple of months, I got a call from the same HR about a vacancy in the Clients and Industries Division, and an in-office interview was scheduled. I thoroughly prepared for this interview which began by seeing their videos on YouTube, understanding their culture, their services, and what made Deloitte a special workplace.
My first interview was taken by a senior HR in the firm. The questions were mostly situation based and tested my analytical abilities along with technical competencies like proficiency in Excel and databases. I was also questioned about my leadership skills and the ability to handle a crisis situation. I talked about my experience as a fire and safety warden in TCS, where I had worked for two years. I narrated an instance when a short circuit had taken place and how I had initiated and led the evacuation process by staying calm and composed. She was impressed by the way I narrated my experience. For the next round, I was told to meet a senior manager who, later on, became my mentor during the internship. He asked me how I was different from the crowd and what value I could add to the firm. I expressed all my past achievements like being a topper during engineering, prior work experience, awards, passion for photography, competitions which I had won, my coding skills for automation, and proficiency in MS Office. After two long weeks of waiting, I finally received the confirmation that I was selected for the internship. My joy knew no bounds! My role was related to strategic account management wherein I handled key strategic clients.
After a formal induction, I was introduced to the entire team. I used to come half an hour before the start time and leave an hour late. My manager used to give me routine tasks which I used to complete way before the deadline. However, I saw that they did not expect much from me. One day, I saw that my manager was facing a problem of manually consolidating and mailing worksheets. He said that no one in the team could find a solution and asked whether I could help. I was glad to assist him and started working on the problem. I automated the entire process which used to take around four to five hours of manual work to just ten minutes using my coding skills in Excel macros. My manager was elated and this was the turning point in my internship. Post this incident, he started giving me important tasks.
I also started working cross functionally with other teams and got to learn a lot. I learnt the techniques of market intelligence, proposal management, designing newsletters, and making impressive presentations using pyramid thinking. I worked on market intelligence for different companies and sectors along with competitor benchmarking. I learnt how a limited liability partnership firm functions and its core difference from a private limited company. Deloitte also has an amazing repository of industry thought wares which provide in-depth insights. I read more than thirty thought wares to gain sector knowledge. During the last phase of my internship, I prepared a complete newsletter on my own. The entire concept and layout were planned by me. This template was presented to the CEO of Deloitte India and the senior management. After multiple rounds of scrutiny, my template was approved and it became an asset. My internship was extended by two weeks after they saw my performance. I gave my final presentation which included four key recommendations based on my analysis, related to process automation, ideas for employee wellness, process documentation, and a 360-degree client assessment model. It was appreciated by the whole team and I even received a letter of recommendation from my mentor! I learned a lot about the corporate world in those two and half months and hope to join one of the consultancy giants permanently after completing my studies!
Are you also looking to enter the corporate world? Apply to these MBA internships and kick start your journey!
Editor’s note – If you also have an interesting story to share, you can now participate in Your Internship Story Contest 2017 and win cash prizes and goodies worth INR 1 Lac!