Sagar Damani, Summer Internship at SNL Financial Ahmedabad

In fall of 2013, I completed my B.E in Computer Science and joined MBA Program in Ahmedabad. I always liked MBA more than my B.E studies, because I feel MBA is more practical and in line with today’s industrial demand and nature of work. But one should also get opportunity to explore about the corporate world and what better than an Internship program! I was super excited to get taste of professional life. Scorching heat (47 Degrees to be precise!) was the time when US based multinational company named SNL Financials came to our college. Our class was divided into two major domains, Finance and Marketing. I was basically interested in Finance, but thought marketing would also be a better choice, typical confusion that remains in every interns mind was also boggling me. I talked with myself and said “Let’s not think from exams or grades perspective, do what I think I would do better” and I chose Finance.So half job done, but Finance; it’s a world in itself, where should I go? Again, life showed me that it’s not that easy. After testing my basic knowledge SNL felt satisfied for the work that can be given to me in field of M&A.  I was overwhelmed with happiness and felt excited to work for a US based MNC.

But did I listen correctly? It was Mergers and Acquisitions. A new ball game for me, and I just heard its name but never had any details regarding what exactly it is. I was nervous but at the same time hopeful that it’s new learning and challenge, who knows this, will become my new field of interest and passion to go ahead in my career. I started googling like every other person does in the world regarding unknowns! I went through the basics of it so that at least some jargons sound familiar to me when I show myself in the company. So I was feeling confident to some extent but overall was still nervous regarding what kind of work it would be and what if I am unable to do it? Suspense was killing me and I was desperately waiting for the day to commence the training.

My first day at SNL was exciting and why wouldn’t it be. New office, new computers and new faces were around. Office timings were scheduled from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Day one, HR gave the introduction regarding company and its profile, the type of work they deal with and what qualities they are looking out from interns. Some basic formalities were also completed and to my surprise, they were very proficient in doing that quickly. On Day two when I was driving to company, I thought life now would be very professional and silent, no fun at work, maybe I will miss my college days but to my surprise it was completely opposite. Everyone was extremely friendly and approachable and they didn’t feel us as outsiders or interns, we were very much the part of the company from day one. We had to call our mentors by their name and they would feel offended if we addressed them as “sir or ma’am”, and this was one thing which took a lot of time to adhere to. It was extremely open culture that I never dreamt of; people were working but still laughing, sharing japes and jests. Overall the work environment was jovial and conducive for any new comer to adjust quickly.

Day two was bit hectic, because all new stuff to play with, Google was our god at time of crisis. Basically the work profile was very different but interesting. It was more playing with excels but lot of application of grey matter as well. The internship topics are mostly exploratory and guided by the interest of the participants towards taking the same forward. The first project that was been given to us was the project of Metals and Mining department where we had to check the Merger/Acquisition status of a particular transaction and accordingly we had to mention the status in our Excel file that was been maintained by us.  This sector (Metals and Mining) was a recently acquisition of SNL Financial so there were very few people in this department so the work load was a lot for every intern. We were been trained for the first two days so that we got in depth knowledge of the project which helped us in making minimal errors in the project. After the training was completed we understood our role and started to work on the project. We were given list of more than 100 companies for every intern and that was to be completed in a span of 4 weeks. As we got our files that we had to work with, the first thing we did was to study and understand the file properly so that we did not make any mistake in understanding the deal or the summary of a particular transaction. In order to find out the status of the deal we had to use all information that was available on the Internet that included business blogs, business newsletter, company website, company news releases, 3rd party news releases, companies annual report and lastly the reports that were been published in the regulatory board. All the transactions were from 2008 onwards that means all the Merger/Acquisition that had been taken place after 2008 between companies in the Metals and Mining sector were in the list and we had to check the status whether the companies had completed the transaction or whether they were still pending. At first it seemed to be an easy job as all the transactions were of the newer date i.e. 2014 but as we proceeded with the job it got difficult for us as there were many challenges that we were facing to complete the project. Good part of this company was, you can take a break when you hit a road block. You are not pressurized to complete the task at that moment itself. It gives you some cool down time too.

SNL had designed the projects with a time frame which were successfully completed by us before time. In total 4 projects were been assigned to an individual as a team we completed all at par to the standard performance of the company. That was indeed a great performance, but overall it was not just the work that enchanted me, it’s an open company culture, the people with smiling faces, the process and policies that were employee friendly that provided me boost to just go on and on .How can I forget to mention about the best moments of everyday – Coffee. Coffee was just a reason to connect to the people and also it prevents you to fall on computer keyboard. Normally we reach out to our friends now via emails or Whatsapp or Facebook these days, but we miss face to face contact. We used to spend quality time with office employees, understand their view about work and their future aspirations, talking to pals face to face on occasion of daily coffee and doing some leg pulling was even more fun. We laughed together, shared stories about our work, families, girlfriends and came to know about each one not just as an SNL employee but as a true mate. It was even more satisfying for me.

The employees make sure that they let their hair down once in a while and we as interns were never excluded from it. In my two month stint, lots of Birthdays were also celebrated with a lot of gusto in office. Cutting a cake, feasting on refreshments, singing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song at the top of your voice – it is all a part of their culture and everybody indulges in that irrespective of their designation. Hence, what I found extremely enjoyable was the feeling of camaraderie that existed between one and all. I could always approach a person there without any hesitation and discuss some concept or gain clarity on the company’s business model – never was I turned away.

As I complete my summer intern, I feel I have achieved something in my life, I learned it’s not easy to work in a company, there are difficult moments, tough situations, sometimes work takes more priority and work life balance is required. For a youngster like me, it was difficult situation to handle as someone has laid hope that you will do work with perfection, it’s that human factor that brings sense of responsibility and task ownership feeling in you. You feel motivated to work, you cross the barriers of impossibilities to look out for light of possibilities, and you feel satisfied at the end when you complete the assigned task with performance. Time I spent with colleagues was awesome, breaks at coffee machines, lunch and spending time with office colleagues after office hours to learn more was unforgettable experience. Farewell to interns was great accompanied by dinner and mouthwatering desert. If someone tells me to go again and spent some time in summer internship, I would be happy to go back and meet same faces and atmosphere. I made new contacts now; networking was the key here along with learning. I feel great and satisfied; journey was hectic, tough but memorable. My two month stint has gone by all too quickly, but as a finance student at the beginning of my career, I know that there will be many more opportunities in the future to get involved in the profession.

Sometimes Best experiences overcome all the tough feelings that you have.