Isha Singh, from the Department of Biological Engineering, did her summer internship at Flipkart. In an interview with Chennai36, she talks about the selection process, her projects and gives some preparation guidelines.
How is your insti life? What are the activities that you take part in?
I just completed my third year in Biological Engineering. I recently became a Core in Shaastra’s Shows and Exhibitions. I usually go out cycling in the evening, or Netflix when I have nothing else to do. I really enjoy painting too.
Why did you apply for this internship? As a student of Biological Engineering, what made you go into non-core?
I had previously done a core research intern at IIT Bombay. It made me realize that maybe biotech was not my forte. Once that was clear, I decided to try my hand at different things, finance being one of them. I attended an introductory session by the finance club post which they sent us links to some pages and videos which I thoroughly enjoyed going through.
To be honest, not a lot of companies open for biotech. Amongst the companies I had applied for, Flipkart was the only one with a finance role. So I decided to try my luck there.
What is the work profile in your internship? How does your typical day go?
I am in the Business Finance Team of Supermart, the new division that ventures into Grocery. At present, it is only operational in Bangalore but has plans on expanding to other cities soon. My project was to design an alarm trigger of sorts to identify inventory at risk. It basically warns the company of how much inventory might have to go off the shelves if we continue to sell at the present rate. It also proposed the rate of selling, so that we could sell out inventory before a certain threshold. I designed the dashboard only on Excel and in the process excelled in Excel (Sorry for the pun :P)
Work timings are very flexible, and we have a 5 day work week. I would usually reach work at 10:30 am and stick around till 7 or 8 pm. I worked on two projects, so I would have to shuttle between two floors all day. Towards the end of my internship, I had multiple review sessions with my mentor and managers, to discuss the future of the project.
Did you have any specific background before you chose this? Did you do any courses related to this?
No, I didn’t have any background in it, apart from what I had read from basic Investopedia articles
How was your selection process? What do you think helped you clear the selection process?
First, there is a resume shortlisting. Around 50 people were shortlisted, thereafter was a group discussion, which was somewhat chaotic. I had 11 people in my GD. There’s a 10 min time limit, so you have less than a minute to talk, and it is chaos as everyone wants to put forward their ideas. My discussion was on whether India is ready to be a cashless economy.
After the group discussion, we had 4 rounds of interviews. They had told us before that they were looking for problem-solving skills. I was asked a guesstimate in my first interview, which was to find the number of windows in Chicago. After the first round, I was sent for the HR Interview, which comprised of very general questions, about my previous internship, my coordship. Then there was one more interview which focused on the things I have done in insti, my coordship and my summer internship at IIT Bombay, more in-depth this time. They asked me the most challenging issues I had faced while working on my previous intern. I was also asked to come up with a solution to cut down on costs due to delivery for remote pincodes.
My last interview was a brief one, where I was asked about the factors one would need to consider if they were opening a grocery business in a city. Apart from that, I was asked for some basic info on what I had done in insti.
What do you think Flipkart looks for in its potential interns?
For the Business Finance profile, they are looking for people who have problem-solving skills or at least try to solve the problems. They believe that given the push, you should be able to solve or at least get some part of the problem.
How was Flipkart affected by the Walmart deal?
The deal is still in the execution stages. It will be a win-win for both, as Flipkart will gain in multiple ways from a global retail giant like Walmart while Walmart makes a foray into one of the biggest retail markets of the world through Flipkart.
How has the experience been, staying in a new city and living the life of a professional?
The experience has truly been amazing. I finally got my routine on track 😛
It was a little challenging at first, but I finally managed to settle in. The best thing about Bangalore is its amazing weather and that is something I am going to miss a lot when I go back to Chennai.
I’ve also met some truly amazing and brilliant people at work. What I love about this place is how approachable and helpful everyone is. That makes it so much more easier to get any problems cleared.
What would you consider as the major takeaway from your intern?
For me, this intern came with a huge learning curve, both on the personal and professional front. I finally got over my inhibition to talk to new people and got over my anxiety associated with venturing to new places. This intern helped boost my self-confidence and taught me how to work under pressure.
Any message you want to share with students?
Don’t panic when you sit across your interviewer. Be level-headed and answer to the point. (I really don’t know what else to say :P)
Author: Parth Doshi (DD-BE ’22)