|By Gaurav Malhotra, MBA'15|
About 8 months ago, when the internship recruitment season was at its peak, I received an interview invitation from Citi. Four rounds of interviews followed. Later, while in Ghana on a Globase trip, I received the good news. I was offered a 10-week internship in the Consumer Banking Wealth Management Division in New York.
With a small group of 40 interns from different schools, I started my internship on June 2. The first week was onboarding that comprised speaker sessions with CXOs, including CEO of Citi. Presentations covered different banking divisions internal to the firm and their business models, training on propriety tools and lunches with leaders. We concluded the induction week with a half day outdoor CSR activity on the bank of Hudson River, opposite the UN headquarters.
I started to work closely with my team in the second week. All interns were reporting to managers who were either managing directors or directors or senior vice presidents. I was fortunate in that I was reporting to two managers, both of whom were managing directors. Working closely with senior leaders was an enriching experience where I learned how to lead, work in a team and, mentor others. They ensured I received enough visibility throughout the firm and enough face time with senior leaders.
Over the next 9 weeks, I was working simultaneously on three projects. The primary project (I had the flexibility to choose from a list of 15 projects before starting my internship) required me to come up with strategies for driving digital engagement and usage across 114 branches, creating a digital champion for each branch and carrying out competitors’ market analyses. The project involved lot of ambiguity and there was no prior research data to reference. I had to reach out to and work with people of all levels across the organization, from branch tellers to managing directors. However, thanks to the Core and subsequent courses like spreadsheet modeling, my life was made much easier.
I regularly shadowed my manager on field visits to branches and experienced how corporate boardroom strategies are executed in the field. Although maintaining a hectic work schedule, all interns made sure to let off steam by hitting major bars and watching world cup soccer matches. Citi also regularly organized happy hours or what we call in MBA lingo, "networking nights."
Another interesting and very critical part of the internship was a one week long group project with fellow interns. For one week, all 40 interns were divided into groups of four or five and were asked to work on a real business problem faced by a different division. This was a fantastic opportunity to understand another business vertical in Citi and work with fellow interns. Once again, I applied my learnings from Kelley’s collaborative culture. I easily adapted to the new setting and regularly played a critical role in resolving conflicts, collaborating with others and leading the team towards a common goal. At the end of the week, each group gave a presentation on their findings to senior leaders of their respective business group.
During the last week, I gave a 30 minute presentation to my managers summarizing the work I did during my internship and shared my experiences. Later that week, I received my full time offer in their Management Associate program which I accepted with great pleasure, and I look forward to joining them in August next year.