NSIT to Wall Street

NSIT to Wall Street : Esha Puri

Esha Puri

MPAE, Batch of 2013

IIM Kozhikode, Summer Intern at Deutsche Bank

In this interview of the NSIT to Wall Street series, we talk to Esha Puri who gives us insights into the life at IIM Kozhikode, the procedure of securing a summer internship at Deutsche Bank, a typical work day in DB and much more.

What according to you is the reason for the trend of people completing their graduate studies in engineering and moving to the financial sector?

The financial sector does give people good quality work, good future prospects and of course, money. As the work involves number-crunching and analytical skills, engineers find the sector attractive. But I would beg to differ to the posed stance, as I believe there are various different sectors providing such attractive features so to say. Avenues in Masters in Engineering, civil services, consulting, marketing and e-commerce are also very popular and gaining ground. It depends a lot on one’s nature and the kind of work one is interested in.

How would you compare IIMK with other IIMs? What kind of societies are   there at IIMK? How is the atmosphere there at IIMK campus?  

IIMK is set in the enthralling city of Kozhikode in Kerala. It’s a real delight for a nature lover as it’s a beautiful experience studying in valley-facing rooms. The MBA vigour continues through the year and one is constantly involved in academic and extracurricular activities, as in the other IIMs. In terms of the vertical, IIMK is usually celebrated as the marketing campus. Various committees are active and work to create an alumni network, cultural and management festivals, entrepreneurship exposure, merchandize, media network, social service and sporting opportunities. It is the only IIM to conduct a city-wide and student-run marathon (Calicut Marathon). Apart from these, interest groups in the domain of consulting, marketing, finance, operations, human resources and IT operate actively. Dance, music, photography, quizzing, theatre and literary clubs keep the year alive with various activities. I was involved with the Konsult interest group and the Calicut Marathon. There’s something there for everyone and the student-run activities keep the school buzzing with activity. As IIMK is soon completing 20 years into existence, the activities rise to a whole different level every year. It is nice to be part of a growth trajectory and one gets to contribute immensely in the process.

Could you explain to aspirants wanting to make it big in the financial sector, how you managed to get an internship opportunity at Deutsche and subsequently travel to London regarding your work at Deutsche?

There are various channels through which one can grab a role in the financial sector. Few of which are off-campus processes, masters in a finance stream or a chosen field while pursuing an MBA. I got the opportunity to intern with Deutsche Bank as part of the summer internship programme in IIMK. The London stint materialized as I chose a UK desk and DB, as part of the internship, sends people for the onshore stint. I worked with my onshore team in London during the stay and could interact closely with them. I could understand how it is working in the finance field, working abroad and whether I would like to do this in the long-run.

Could you explain to us the selection process involved in Deutsche? Did your academic record and subsequently working at Smart Cube help in the selection?

Deutsche Bank visits IIMK for recruiting summer interns for its Corporate and Investment Banking division. The division has two areas – Global Markets and Corporate Finance. DB selects people from IIMK for a role in the Corporate Finance Department.

The selection procedure is pretty extensive and consists of various stages. The process is kick-started with the company’s initial workshop. About 60 students are selected for the workshop and it is conducted a month prior to the placement process. The workshop apprises students of the various divisions and functions of the DB Centre, and concepts of corporate finance. Along with the workshop, a pre-placement talk is conducted for the entire batch. It is recommended to be cognizant of the bank’s business, clarify any questions on the process or otherwise and interact with the company heads who come down for the process.
Following the workshop, formal applications are taken for a shortlist for the summer placement process. About 60 students are shortlisted and subsequently the mentoring process is commenced. Some students from the shortlist are taken for an informal dinner where they get to interact with each of the business heads at length. For the final selection, many rounds of interviews are taken. Interviews covered a wide range of topics like finance, accounting, recent mergers and acquisitions, puzzles and self-awareness. I had a total of 3 interviews where I was quizzed about points on my resume, interest in finance, questions on valuation techniques, financial ratios, puzzles, financial statements and general HR questions.

Mostly all companies recruiting for finance roles do give a high weightage to academic record with respect to other verticals. I was involved in consulting projects in 3-4 different industries during my stint at The Smart Cube. I believe that the experience was instrumental in my selection as the Corporate Finance role requires that bent of mind as well as attention to detail that one develops during a consulting role. Apart from these aspects, it is crucial to understand one’s nature, style of working and if the finance roles will appeal to the person. The Corporate Finance role means long hours. One’s comfort level and cultural fit are reflected while one works, and this is something the interviewers try judging during the selection process.

Tell us about your experience at Deutsche – the kind of work you had to do, kind of people you had to work with?

The experience was great, to say the least. The company has a very structured internship and it kept me on my toes throughout the 8 weeks. I was working in the Mumbai office where I had exposure to the Corporate Finance and Global Markets departments. On the basis of preferences filled, I was aligned with the UK Mergers and Acquisitions desk. In simple words, the Corporate Finance department is involved in helping its clients go for IPOs and M&As. DB pitches to the company for the suitable strategic move backed by financial analysis and research. Once it wins a mandate, DB works on the due diligence and the complete execution. All meetings with its clients proceed with the help of what is known as a pitchbook. A pitchbook contains the logic behind the proposed solutions to the clients and the necessary analysis. It is often a lengthy document and takes months to prepare.

As an intern, there were two major parts of the work I was assessed on. One was the desk (day-to-day) work and other was the individual project. Desk work was my work on the ongoing deals the team was involved in. I was required to take up only parts of the complete pitchbook and do justice to it within the deadlines. So, this part gave me a hands-on experience and flavour of what analysts work on as full-time hires. The project was something I worked on individually where I had to design the entire pitchbook. I learned how the pitchbook needed to be structured and how to tie the analysis with the conclusion. My project was a sell-side pitch to the client. My work was to understand all the reasons/logic as to why the sale/merger makes sense for the company and why this particular time is a good time for the same. During the final week, a presentation was done to the heads of the Corporate Finance department.

Throughout the internship, I got to interact with the Vice President and division heads. Exposure in that respect was quite incredible. My colleagues were all from premier institutions of the country. People working on the floor were from different desks and had exposure in different markets (Asia, UK, Germany, China, US). On my desk, I had a mentor and the rest of the team was in the London office. It was indeed gratifying to be working along with them.

You visited London as a part of your internship at Deutsche Bank. How is the office at London different from that in India? How different are the working conditions there different from that in India?

The 2 week stint in the London office definitely stood out. London is a financial district and the DB office there was a much larger one. As the entire team was present, the working environment was way more dynamic and abuzz with activity. Discussions and meetings that happened over the phone call in India were happening in the nearby meeting rooms. It was a whole lot different as I could walk up to my onshore mentor at any time and discuss the project or the current deals taking place. I could also personally interact with the Head of the UK M&A desk. The exposure was tremendous. Apart from this, it was very interesting to understand cultural differences and how people approach their work in that part of the world.

Any advice for your juniors at NSIT who want to pursue a career in Finance?  Any suggestions for this project ‘NSIT to Wall Street’?

Something that I would like to suggest is that it’s better to get one’s hands dirty as soon as one starts thinking in this direction. Online courses, internships, basic reading up and learning as much as one can, will make it clear whether finance interests you or not. Coming from science backgrounds, people often have limited knowledge in a) one’s aptitude in this field and b) the various roles finance has to offer. Not all finance roles are like the ones you watch in The Wolf of Wall Street or Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. So explore, try it out and see how it works out for you!

‘NSIT to Wall Street’ project is indeed an initiative worth applauding. I would love to see people from different roles within the finance domain to be interviewed. This way, the differences will be glaring and as an engineer in NSIT, one can be better informed about what’s in store in this sector. I am sure my Alliance juniors would do a wonderful job! Good luck!