Internship Experience of an IIMA Student @ Citi, Mumbai: Great Learning Experience, Received Women-in-Banking Scholarship!

This has been submitted as an entry to the Opportunitycell Internship Experience Competition.

Name, College, Course, Year

Soumya Kushwaha, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Masters of Business Administration (MBA) 2nd Year.

Internship Organization and location

Citi Markets and Securities Services, Mumbai (India)

Duration of Internship

April 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019 (two months)

How I applied

  • It is a part of the MBA curriculum at IIM Ahmedabad to undergo an internship for two months after completion of the first year of study and before the beginning of the second year with a view to explore one’s area of interest and get hand-on corporate experience. The institute invites companies on-campus for hiring students for internship.
  • I applied for the Citi Markets internship through the Summer Placement process that took place on campus in October 2018.
  • Having worked hard for months to secure the internship, it was a great feeling of relief and accomplishment to have finally gotten the internship offer.

First Day Formalities, Infrasctructure

  • As the time of internship was nearing, I was getting increasingly excited about the same. It was more because the location was Mumbai, which I was very curious to know more about by visiting the place.
  • The first day of the internship was April 1, 2019. We were seven interns and an interesting fact to note was that six of the seven were women.
  • I specifically appreciated the company’s policy to increase gender diversity at the workplace, not only by hiring more women but also by providing them with an inclusive environment at the workplace so that they stay on for longer and break the ‘glass ceiling’.
  • After reaching the office, we were all escorted by our manager to the trading floor, followed by a short 10-minute brief and a quick show of the entire trading floor, with a lot of screens showcasing news and market movements. It was a unique experience, especially because I had never seen a trading floor before.
  • I particularly liked the energy and excitement that prevailed on the floor and the way everyone used to react to any new turn the market used to take. It was very happening and lively.
  • Later, we attended a full-fledged induction program wherein the senior leaders explained about the different business verticals of the bank and addressed all our doubts and queries.

Main Tasks

  • I was given two projects to work on for the two months, one in trading and sales vertical each. I thoroughly enjoyed working on both the projects as they complemented each other quite well in terms of learnings and exposure.
  • My first project was in the trading vertical in Commercial Real Estate industry. It provided me with a lot of learning opportunities as I had never studied this industry in detail before. Not only this, my supervisor for this project was a managing director at Citi, so his rich work experience of >20 years in the industry was an additional source of learning for me. I got to meet many of their clients and speak with senior management people to understand their needs and structure the products accordingly.
  • I also interacted with over 20 people working in different divisions within the bank to get a wholistic view on my project and receive valuable inputs from people who were expert in their own field such as law, taxation, real estate industry etc. The whole experience was very enriching and fulfilling.
  • The second project was in the sales vertical, wherein I was working to create better understanding of accounting guidelines around derivative products offered to the clients by Citi. Since many clients have doubts about the accounting treatment of the derivative products they purchase, Citi sale’s team is expected to have a basic understanding of the same so that the quality of their engagement with clients is improved and they feel more confident while pitching the products to clients and get better client buy-in. Thus, my job was to better equip the sales team with the knowledge of the latest accounting guidelines relevant to client engagement and handling their concerns.
  • This project gave me a very good understanding of the various derivative products being offered by Citi, the purpose solved by each of them, how they are priced and pitched and how deals are made. I particularly enjoyed the second project because the team was extremely fun to work with. Everyone was smart, yet jovial and ensured that the work environment doesn’t become dull, stressful or boring. This specifically helped me in giving my 100% despite everything being new for me.

Good things

  • I really liked the work culture. The workload was not overwhelming for me. I could easily manage work with sightseeing, hanging out with friends etc. Although one would expect that by the virtue of the job being in markets, there would be stress and tension around but I personally never felt so. It was not because I was just an intern there but because I genuinely felt everyone enjoyed what she/he was doing without worrying too much even during the days Monetary Policies came out or election results were announced.
  • Moreover, despite having hard time-bound jobs, everyone was willing to help whenever I approached them. In fact, my manager even went out of his way to stay up later than usual in the office and help me do a mock and make the final amends to my PPT just a day before the final presentation before the panel including South Asian Head of Citi Markets. He gave me useful pieces of advice which came in really handy on the D-day and I could present well to gather the entire panel’s appreciation.
  • Now when I look back at that time, I feel contended about the learning I got, people I met and befriended, the various placed I got to visit in Mumbai- Elephanta caves, Marine Drive, Kanheri caves etc., the 2-day stay in a 5-star hotel and five-figure stipend I earned!

Bad things

Although I feel that the experience would have been more convenient had the company also arranged for our accommodation for the entire duration of the internship because being new to Mumbai, I found that bit to be a little challenging.

Overall Experience

  • However, the overall experience was really good. In fact, Citi also gave ‘Women in Banking Scholarship’ to all their women interns post successful completion of the internship. They arranged for a farewell party with the entire Markets team and gave us parting gifts (Mi-Band).
  • Recently, my manager visited the campus to deliver a talk on Fintech and we met and chatted for a while. He asked me about my second year and I asked him about his work and family everyone else in the office.
  • Thus, this internship was a great experience for me and I am eagerly hoping to receive a ‘Pre-Placement Offer’ from Citi. 

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