“Internship at Darashaw was one of the best experiences in my MBA life”, says Saket Salvekar

Internship experience at Darashaw Company Pvt. Ltd by Saket Salvekar, Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research, Mumbai
Well of to start with my internship experience, l should say it was one of the best experiences in my MBA life. I am a typical MBA Finance student with engineering background and seeking career in Investment Banking. The summer internship helped me to arrive at the decision of choosing finance as specialization and to end my dilemma of choosing between finance and marketing. In mid-august last year, placement council in our college had asked us to prepare resumes for summer internships. I was in obvious confusion about what I should write in my resume apart from IT related experience so that my resume looks catchy for finance companies. Unlike other B-schools, summer placements in Mumbai based B-schools starts from November.
Darashaw & Company Pvt. Ltd invited applications for summer internship in December, last year. By December, the only concepts I knew were basic accounting and economics. In the month of January, the company shortlisted me and I was asked to attend the interview. I also had to fill one form seeking information on my detailed background along with SWOT analysis about myself. I took this form very seriously as this was going to be the base for interview questions. And finally the day arrived when I had to visit the company’s head office in Nariman Point.
The company officials asked me to wait in conference room where I met 8 to 10 other candidates. One of the senior managers from Darashaw delivered the presentation about the company to us in the conference room. The one thing which got stuck to my mind was “Darashaw offers PPO with bond of 3 years“. Darashaw has two offices in the same building and the conference room and interview room aren’t in the same office. I was the second candidate to face the interview and finally that moment arrived. The interview was based entirely on the form they had given earlier along with very basic finance knowledge .It went smoothly but had an element of stress interview added to it. It lasted for 15 minutes and then I was asked to wait in another room. At the end of the day, 3 of us were shortlisted for the next round which was also scheduled for the same day. It was a general HR round. The overall interview experience was nice where we were tested on basic analytical skills, communication skills and whether we were suited for company values and job profile. Two of us were selected for summer internship which was followed by offer later and stipend details that arrived two days later in college. The team which I had been allocated to was Retirement benefit sales. I was very confused and apprehensive about the profile and the team I was allocated to as sales and retirement funds were not very familiar to me.
My 3rd trimester exams got over and finally after 4 days of break, my summer project began on 2nd May, 2014. On day one itself most of my queries were resolved and I was given fair idea about how my two months tenure in the company is going to be structured. The project given to me was Investment analysis of exempted provident funds and understanding investment behavior of fund managers. The team head briefed me about the project, basics of this retirement benefits industry and key deliverables from my side and introduced me to my mentor. My office timings were 9 to 6 and they asked me to read the company manual and understand the sector for the next 2-3 days. I wasn’t very happy with the location as I had to travel for over 1 hour daily and with the available facilities (as there was no canteen) but the work that I was supposed to do for next 2 months overshadowed all my concerns.
Slowly the picture became very clear about how my two months in Darashaw are going to be structured. I was asked to learn basics of fixed income markets, investment structure of provident funds and what are the factors that leads to a particular investment behavior. One more thing I realized was that I would be speaking the language of ‘Crores’ as  investments by PF trusts from companies is normally as large as 800 to 1000 Crores annually. My mentor was very supportive and he never had any problem solving any of my queries ranging from budget, dollar vs rupee or equity market. In the subsequent week, I was given training on cash flows and I came across many fixed income securities from liquid papers to 30 year bonds. In the 3rd week, I studied the investment guidelines currently being followed by exempted provident funds and how RBS team does the bond placements to these trusts as a broker. I also studied the past changes in guidelines and how it is becoming more flexible and changing conservative investment behavior of these trusts in each revision. My project was exactly to understand the proposed new pattern for the same and analyze probable changes in the investment structure in wake of the new pattern and how it will create opportunities for Darashaw. I had to meet all the existing clients of Darashawand gather the data on current investments and explain them the current market trends, movements in Government security yields, opportunities to increase return and understanding their preferences. So it was basically a comparative analysis of the investment structure of these funds.
After getting fair idea about the project in 3rd week, I prepared the questionnaires which would seek information regarding the investments. As the target PF trusts were existing clients, I prepared the list of all the clients of Darashaw in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and East Region and scheduled meetings with them. In the fourth week I faced a viva to check my concepts on bond markets in India, the various fixed income securities, rating policies along with investment pattern for provident funds. After successfully clearing the viva, I started meeting with the clients. For the initial seven to eight meetings, my mentor accompanied me to these meetings. From the 5th week onwards, I started visiting PF trusts on my own and on each Saturday I used to fill up the excel sheet with the responses to the questionnaire. Excel was very much needed because I needed to present the comparative analysis which involved bar graphs, pivots and charts. In addition to this, I also used to coordinate with the team head to show him the current progress and plans for the upcoming week. By end of 7th week I had done around 45 meetings, following which my mentor asked me to cover few more clients from Delhi and east region. I used to spend 4-5 hours on meetings daily and for the rest of the time I was asked to study bond markets, auction process of bonds, private placements of bonds and how to prepare portfolio for clients for my knowledge. After completing 8 weeks I presented the report and findings to Head of Investment Banking team for Darashaw along with the RBS team. My mentor and other team members helped me a lot without which it would not have been possible to successfully complete the internship.
To sum up all my experiences, I must say I spent a quality time interning with Darashaw where I went through a confidence boosting selection process, very supportive HR and RBS team, extremely helpful and encouraging attitude of my mentor and tremendous learning with awesome view of ‘ Marine Drives and South Bombay’. 

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