Location: Han and Yangst Conference Room, Crescenzo, Bandra
Everyone was very excited. Being a fresher, for many of us like me, it was the first corporate experience which added to the excitement. It started with the ice-breaker where we were divided into teams of two and were given a celebrity name and it was not known to the person but his partner. Everyone was given this task of identifying their celebrity name through the hints given by their partners. It was really an innovative ice-breaker.
Standard Chartered International Graduate Interns 2012
Later, the top management of the bank introduced us with the various functions and business units of the bank. The whole induction was very interactive. None of the speakers showed any PowerPoint presentation. Whoever asks a question or answers a question got a Cadbury. It was wonderful to see how young people like us that too from top B-Schools in India die for chocolates even at this age !!!
We also got to interact with IGs who were one year senior to us. The session was informal where they shared their experience at Standard Chartered with us. The day ended with lots of goodies and a Liverpool T-Shirt for every intern.
The Real Day 1: Internship started, first day at work
I woke up at 7 am. I live at Churchgate and my office was in Chembur L. I had to change three local trains to go to the office (I was perhaps the most hardworking intern in that sense !!!). The location given to me was actually a branch of Standard Chartered. I kept half an hour's buffer and reached the branch at around 8.30. The branch was empty. Then a person came who had an ID of the bank. I told him about my internship. To my surprise, he already knew about my internship. Immediately, he gave me a temporary ID and told me to wait for my project guide to come. At around 9 am, my guide came and within five minutes, she gave me a briefing on the project I was going to undertake. The next minute, she called everyone in the branch and introduced me.
Within first fifteen minutes of my day 1, I actually started working on the project (After hearing internship experiences of my friends, this was really surprising for me !!!).
Let me tell you a little about my projects. I had to device a branch level micromarketing plan for my branch (which was supposed to be a pilot) and then based upon its effectiveness, device a nationwide plan which can be implemented at any branch of the bank. My second project was on modern channels of banking and increasing their utilization to benefit the customers and the bank.
Initially, as every marketer does, I went out for analysing the catchment, visited other bank branches in the vicinity and surveyed the customer base of the catchment. I even interviewed branch managers of other branches (Needless to say, I did not reveal my identity of a Standard Chartered intern to them !!!).
Apart from the internship…
In the meanwhile, the bank had organized many activities for the consumer banking interns. We had a video conference with the CEO of the bank and a session with the CMO and the ManCo of the bank. It was a great thing in itself that the senior management who are supposed to be the busiest people in the organization were willing to spend time for us. We felt privileged !
But, there was something more exciting than this, “the Volunteer's Day”.
The Volunteer's Day
We, the Standard Chartered interns, had decided to take a day off from our work and do something for the society by spending part of our stipend. We undertook two activities: Visit of a children's home to the Prince Charles' Museum and toys distribution at a municipal school.
We arranged for buses to take the children to the museum. But, there was a problem. The museum did not provide us with a guide. Suddenly, someone said, “Why can't we become their guides? After all, explaining sections in the museum is not rocket science”. And, here I was, ready to explain everything about 500 birds and animals whom I had never seen in my life (Believe me, I had no interest in Zoology or biology !!!). We divided the museum into sections, read up the material written around every section and explained it to the children. The children loved the visit since going out of orphanage was a rare phenomenon for them. Later, we took them for lunch at a nice restaurant. It was really great to see their happy, joyful faces after the whole activity.
We collected toys through a toy collection drive. We kept a few boxes for employees to donate toys. We were sceptical about the response, but the response was amazing and we could collect around 1000 toys. Later, on the Volunteer's Day, we distributed them to the children in a municipal school.
It was a great feeling for everyone to do something for the society. Both the activities were highly appreciated by everyone at the bank and the HR department. And more importantly, I experienced what "Here for good" actually stands for !!!
Encounter with KKR (yes..the IPL 2012 champs)
And couple of days before the IPL, I saw a bus outside the bank. One person stepped out of the bus. He was a foreigner. Wait...not any ordinary foreigner....he was Brett Lee....yes....the Brett Lee. Whoaaaaaaaaaa.....I could not bellieve my eyes. It was him. He went to the Barista next to our bank. Wasim Akram and Gautam Gambhir were accompanying him. I shook hands with them and wished the team all the best for the IPL final. The bus was carrying the full KKR squad. I felt lucky to be at the right place at the right time. It was one of the most amazing moments I experienced during my intership.
The Bharat Bandh and the pastries' lunch
31st of May, 2012 was declared as Bharat Bandh for protesting against the steep rise in petrol prices. Our branch was one of the few bank branches which were open on that day. Everyone had a hard time reaching the branch but we all did reach on time. When it was time for lunch, we realized that no restaurant was open in Chembur except a small pastry shop around the corner. We had no option but to order pastries for lunch. We almost emptied the shop. I had not eaten so many pastries in one day in my life. Nobody had!
Back to work:
My project was going really well and my guide was very happy with my work. The whole team was very supportive and co-operative. They never made me feel that I am not a part of the organization.
As a part of my project, we did two major micromarketing events: One was a golf tournament at a golf club and a drawing competition at a premium school. These two events brought us a database of around 800 HNIs and ultra HNIs which in turn helped the branch to increase its book size and overall revenue.
At the same time, I worked on the modern channels of banking and came up with suggestions of utilizing these channels more effectively to give the customers a better and more convenient banking experience.
Internship Presentation: The Grand Finale
Yes, that's true! Ask any intern. The internship presentation is just like a grand finale for an intern, since it can be a milestone in his/her career. I was no exception.
My presentation was scheduled in the evening. At Standard Chartered, the guide also has to be present for the presentation. The panel consisted of the senior management (ManCo members). I was the first one to present in my batch of interns. My guide and I had spent a lot of time on the presentation as well. It reflected there; the panel liked it and congratulated me for successful completion of the project.
I was very happy with the whole internship experience. It was an experience of a lifetime where I got a blurry picture of the corporate life that I am going to live for the next few decades.