Hello everyone! I’m Panshul Rastogi, a Junior Undergraduate in the Dept of Economic Sciences, and I’ll be penning down my journey of how I secured a research project under an IIM-Indore professor and an internship at Inflection Point Ventures as an Investment Analyst in my 2nd year.
Since my first year, Finance was one field that I knew definitely interested me. The first time I got exposure to that was through the Winter Projects organized by then hobby group, Finance Discussion Group (FDG). Although the projects were primarily readings and beyond my scope but still introduced me to topics of Mean Reversion trading and helped me get started. Building upon my newfound interest, I took up an online course on Equity Portfolio Management that I completed with my academics in the 2nd semester. This was my first formal introduction to the basics of Finance.
How to get started?
The best way to get started in your first year is by doing Summer projects offered by various clubs in the SnT council. As I was keen to explore Finance and had also been made a Secretary at the club, I applied for summer projects in the Finance & Analytics Club and ended up completing two projects on Technical Analysis.
Another way to skill up in your field of interest is by doing some projects under Professors. Now, here I’d like to highlight some points. I’d advise you not to bulk mail profs randomly, it rarely works, and you end up wasting a lot of time that way.
Instead, identify your field and develop some basic skills to get started. Once you have acquired decent knowledge about the topic, start mailing profs and personalize the mail to some extent. I mailed IME profs for my 1st-year summer break and did a project on implementing a futures trading strategy.
Now here it’s important to note that as my first year ended, I had a sufficient amount of stuff to write on my resume (in terms of projects). So now, when you start applying for companies/ other colleges for projects, you need to make sure that you have basic knowledge regarding the field.
That basic knowledge can be anything ranging from courses, self-projects, certifications, hackathons or internships. This helps you get a clearer idea of the tasks they assign you and obviously, enables you to stand out from the other applicants.
Application Process and Advice
In my 4th semester, I started aiming for corporate internships. In order to apply for corporate internships, you need to have a resume. So, have a resume ready, get it verified with at least 3-4 seniors; I’ve attached a sample resume in the link below.
A few guidelines would be, firstly make a good presentable LinkedIn profile. Keep it updated by mentioning your projects, PORs, etc., and start making relevant connections. Also, I’d suggest that you specifically aim for those startups or companies in which seniors from IIT/BITS, etc. have interned previously in their II/ III year. Anyways, with the startup culture booming in India, there is no dearth of off-campus opportunities. Once you find the company on Linkedin, search for alums/ seniors who have a similar engineering / MBA background and send them a personalized invite.
Be polite with your language and respect other people’s time. Most importantly, don’t dishearten yourself if you face a few rejections or if people don’t reply. All of this is part of the process. I sent a LinkedIn invite to the company’s CEO with my resume and background details, and as they were hiring, an interview was scheduled in a week’s time. The interview was not that stressful; my resume had pretty much what they were looking for. They just verified my info by asking a few questions related to the projects I had done. They conveyed my selection the next day, and the Internship lasted three months, from March to June’21.
Link to a sample cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn personalized invite: Click here
Also, there’s a disclaimer to all this. All the projects and internships I’ve done went along with my semester. You need to make sure you don’t sacrifice your academics in order to get a few extra points on your resume.
To summarize, I’d like to advise everyone to start early. Even if you’re unsure about what to do, keep exploring. It’s tough to grab onto opportunities, but make sure you are around when one presents itself. Now is the best time to start, don’t keep procrastinating, hoping things go your way. I hope you found this useful; please feel free to ping me for any further doubts! In any case, may the odds be ever in your favor :p
Edited By:- Mandar Wayal