Around October 2011, before leaving for our Diwali vacations, we were advised by a few of our faculty members at KIAMS to be on the lookout for a good summer training assignment. It was good advice and quite a few of us followed it. I could barely imagine my luck when I actually cracked a placement with the Bank of Baroda. My faculty members at KIAMS were absolutely right! Landing a summer internship on your own is a great high!
On the 25th of April 2012, I entered the Bank of Baroda and was assigned to the SME specialized branch. My mentor, the Assistant General Manager himself, was out of town, but I was crisply briefed about how things worked in that branch and shown the cubicle where I was to plonk myself for the coming eight weeks, and do justice to my project.
On entering office on Day 2 of my internship, I was immediately summoned to my mentor’s cabin. The AGM asked me to take a seat, and handed me two certificates. They were from the London School of Economics. He had just cleared a couple of exams a fortnight back and had received those certificates that very morning. I wondered why would a man with thirty years of experience, regarded as an expert in his domain, need certificates. As if reading my mind he answered, “A manager has to continue learning throughout his life.”
My internship hadn’t started, but my learning beyond KIAMS had.
The topic for my project was ‘future of MSME’s in India’. The first few days, were spent flipping through pages of numerous account holders in an attempt to understand the formalization process of the bank. With time, things started making sense to me. During these days, a particular incident left an indelible mark on my mind. While perusing these files, I found myself stuck at a certain point. I presented my query to a bank employee sitting next to me. The look on his face made me realise that I was asking the wrong man. It was a big learning for me. Simply because somebody works in a bank, does not qualify him or her to know everything about banking. I decided to stick to my mentor with regards to my work, thereafter.
Having got a basic grasp of the working of the SME accounts, I began focussing on my topic. A bunch of reports on how SMEs in India grew and helped the economy caught my interest particularly and thereafter, time and project simply flew!
In the third phase, I was asked to collect information about the account holders’ growth over a period of time to substantiate my study. Data for every year was stashed in a separate binder; this meant lifting 3 kgs weight every time I had to look up some figures. It seemed like I was back to lifting weights in the KIAMS gym! I daresay, I got back in pretty good shape by the end of those two weeks.
All in all, as predicted by my teachers in KIAMS, my learning curve rocketed during my internship! My mentor was absolutely fantastic, and I had the ready support of my faculty guide back in KIAMS. I can now say with some confidence that I’m quite ready for my dreams!