I got an opportunity to intern as a Quantitative Analyst in the Financial Research Team of D. E. Shaw India Pvt. Ltd through Campus Placements.
The selection approach included an initial round of CV-based shortlisting, followed by two rounds of interviews. The first round of interviews focused on my knowledge of statistics and macroeconomics, past employment experience, and an analysis of a business case. In the second round, I had to look at four long cases in Applied Statistics and answer questions about the projects on my CV, particularly Natural Language Processing, Time Series Forecasting, and Recommender Systems.
The onboarding at D. E. Shaw was an overall smooth experience due to their streamlined process. Being a regular recruiter for the PGDBA programme, the firm already had established protocols. Seniors from our programme, who are also employees at the company, provided us with references and advice. In addition, each intern was allocated a mentor based on similarities in skillset/backgrounds.
During my time at the internship, I worked on the credit side of the Asset-Backed Securities Division.
Significant projects that I worked on included :
- Metric construction and dashboarding for tracking performance of sector
- Cash flow modelling automation
- Modelling of loss estimates in a post-COVID scenario
The Alumni Cell had shared documents detailing past interview experiences that informed our expectations of the kind of questions asked by companies. Building on these expected questions, I practised puzzles from GeeksforGeeks. I also referred to ‘Introduction to Statistical Learning’ as a primary reference book for Machine Learning topics, while the coursework material served as a secondary source. As a part of a study group with three other friends, we prepared cases as a team. Since teaching is the best way of learning, we would divide subjects amongst ourselves to teach them to one another. We also solved many cases and guesstimates, which helped tremendously in the final interview. I referred to the IIM Calcutta and IIM Ahmedabad casebooks for this.
Apart from specialized preparation, I feel the following are essential areas to focus on while applying for an internship.
- Polished your communication skills, such as understanding when to project confidence, when to show weakness, when to confront and when not to, become vital in interviews. It is also necessary to be alert and present to get insight into the interviewer’s thoughts and influence the interview in the appropriate direction.
- Have unambiguous and concise written communication since your CV and cover letters will create the first impression.
- One must have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of the coursework (in your field of study) and a firm grasp of the topics indicated on your CV.
- A great peer support network that motivates you to do your best and strives for shared success may also assist with your overall preparation.
- Sincerity and integrity are vital, as it is challenging to be deceptive in front of experienced recruiters during interviews.
Abhishek Bansal is currently pursuing Post Graduate Diploma in Business Analytics (PGDBA). He is a part of the Class of 2022 of the joint programme offered by IIM Calcutta, IIT Kharagpur and ISI Kolkata.
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