Virtual internship experience: Learnings, advantages and disadvantages

Greetings, My name is Dhruvi Nishar. I am a Bachelor of Data Science student at SP Jain School of Global Management, which is a 3-year program.

Having completed my first year in Mumbai and starting my second year virtually, I am looking forward to the remainder of my course in Sydney!

Currently, I am interning as a research student at The University of Massachusetts, Boston with Prof Lawrence Pohlman and Prof Debshis Guha as my guides and mentors for the project.

We are analysing 20 years’ worth of daily financial series data, including sector ETFs and the individual stocks in SP500, while also examining trends during a crisis period in the financial markets and comparing returns of various approaches.

We are using switching models and machine learning techniques to determine investment rotation strategies that outperform buy and hold. 

 I couldn’t be more obliged to our esteemed director Prof. Abhijit Dasgupta, for providing me with this holistic learning opportunity. I have also had constant support and help from our incredible faculty throughout the course of the program. 

The academic structure of the BDS course has equipped me with everything essential for the internship project. I believe that the machine learning concepts and data visualization methods we learned, certainly helped improve our project.

Programming with Python, statistical knowledge, and mathematical applications are some of the key concepts that I was able to apply and get more favourable results. 

Something that remarkably stood out was the fact that the algorithms and techniques that we were using and being taught are truly used in actuality! Portfolio optimization and switching models are something that emerged to be significantly interesting to me.

I came across new concepts every step of the way and couldn’t wait to explore further and dive-in deeper.

While remote internships come with their own set of challenges and complexities, like communication and coordination among the team members or not being surrounded by an organizational environment, it is also the reason this internship was possible in the first place.

With an online setting, we had the chance to be flexible with our time frames and schedules and also develop better ways to communicate efficiently. 

I have genuinely enjoyed every element of this internship, be it the exchange of diverse cultural ideas on our weekly zoom call or sharing the festivals we are celebrating amidst a pandemic.

One of the most remarkable skills I have learned to develop would be the ability to adapt to any situation and embrace the hurdles that it proposes.

I have had the privilege to earn insights into the financial domain and develop my interests and skills.

I studied Bayesian Machine learning, Principal Component Analysis, Markov regression, and Efficient Frontier Analysis for optimizing portfolio returns while minimizing volatility using VIX as a signal.

I am assuredly hoping to implement them soon. My mentors have been an exceptional inspiration to me and have taught me the most.

By Dhruvi Nishar – Student of BDS Batch, SP Jain School of Global Management

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