Dalberg: Mayuresh Patole

In this edition of Insight’s summer blog, Mayuresh Patole discusses his internship with Dalberg, one of the only consultancy companies to offer internships on campus.

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Considering the kind of importance and attention an internship gets on campus, I was
pretty excited and looking forward to this summer right from the start of my second year. I had two options: doing an internship through PT cell which would give me exposure to corporate life and more specifically to how consulting companies work, or that of applying to design schools. It wasn’t an easy choice to make and I was on the fence for quite a long time. I had started mailing and got a few positive replies too. I didn’t apply for most of the companies that came via PT Cell and Dalberg was only the second IAF that I signed up for. As it turned out, I was the only one selected and this internship went on to clear a lot of confusion that I had about what a consulting job is, what I wish to do in life et al.

Dalberg offered two profiles this year: Analyst and Consultant. Around 250 students applied for the internship, and we were asked to submit an essay on a fairly open-ended topic related to global development. Based on the essays, 10 candidates were shortlisted for each profile.

We then had a half an hour long HR interview, conducted online. A day prior to the interview, I prepared a bit for the questions that I might get asked, which, I think, was vital for my selection as I was the only one to get shortlisted for the consulting profile. Meanwhile, five people were shortlisted for the analyst profile.

A day prior to the interview, I prepared a bit for the questions that I might get asked, which, I think, was vital for my selection

The selection procedure ended with a last round of interviews consisting of case studies and a resume walkthrough. I was asked why I did not choose the Analyst profile and my answer was very clear: I did not have enough mathematical inclination to go for an analyst profile over a consulting profile. We even discussed my design experience in which they showed particular interest. The next morning, a call from PT cell confirmed my selection and later I got a call from one of the interviewers explaining the profile and job. Happy and excited, I was looking forward to the internship.

Day One:
The first day when I reached office at 8:45, there was hardly anyone in there. A
French guy walked up to me and welcomed me and I later went on to find that he was
one of the senior-most people in the office. The first day went by meeting and being introduced to people. In the first week I was skeptical about being able to land a good
project, and interacting with people in a corporate set-up, but everything started falling into place and very soon – office became fun.


Journey for two months and projects:
Over the span of two months I worked on two very interesting projects. The first one
being analysis of a survey done for an NGO studying aspirations of children. It was the
best project to start with as it gave me a good practice of analysis techniques and good command over software. The second project was on reducing emissions from cook-stoves in China.


Quite frankly, before the internship, I was very naïve and had very little knowledge about almost anything. I learnt a lot while working on the two projects. Landscape study, analysis, pivoting data, business development processes, impact assessment – all of this initially seemed like jargon, but at the end of two months I began to make sense of it all and that, I presume, is my biggest takeaway from the internship. I was given many opportunities to proactively participate in several other projects and in-house office activities. My work was well appreciated and I was given a lot of freedom on all grounds. One of the best things was the high amount of focus on growth and exposure of the intern provided by the firm. I presented directly to the client in the second week of my internship. I regularly presented in the weekly team meets. Such kind of exposure was vital in increasing my confidence and level-headedness, no need to mention the improvement in presentation and public speaking skills as well.

People,office and culture:
The most interesting part about the office was its people. The workforce consisted of individuals who were extremely knowledgeable, highly motivated, super humble, very helpful and had an awesome sense of humor too! I had lunch with most of the employees and interacted on an informal level. It was great experience to know about so many people from different countries and varied backgrounds.
The office used to have a fun event every two months. I kept hearing interesting stories about the same. Among other events, they had a yacht party, a bowling session and a pottery workshop in which they made the Dalberg logo shown below.


Luckily, I was in the team responsible for organizing the fun-event this month and we decided to go for a comedy show. Sadly, the venue caught fire and the event got postponed, which bereft me of the chance to be a part of this event. Also, we had a kitchen in the office with an attached lunch-room. The cook used to make me cheese sandwich and my favorite orange drink every morning. Now I am almost habituated to begin my day with the same!


Problems faced:
I was staying at campus and traveling every day to work was easily the biggest problem that I had to face. My work hours were not rigid, but in general I was in office by 9:30 and left office around 7. I had to take 5 modes of transport everyday: tum-tum, auto rickshaw, local to curry road, a walk to lower-Parel, a cab to Worli Naka and another short walk to the office. Phew! Other than the commute, the intern was pretty relaxed. Any doubt or problem was quickly addressed at the office.

Best parts/Memorable moments:
The best moment had to be NASA sharing an infographic and article that was first published on Dalberg’s official blog which was designed and written by me. One of my colleagues messaged me around midnight telling me about it. I had no clue and was deep asleep. When I got up the next morning, I felt all that was a dream but checked my cell phone to happily discover it wasn’t. The blogpost was result of an analysis of pollution data from WHO reports and the infographic was made in my leisure time.

The best moment had to be NASA sharing an infographic and article that was first published on Dalberg’s official blog which was designed and written by me.

It was a great exercise not only from analysis, writing and design point of view but also helped me understand how iterations and processes work in offices. I interacted with the global communications team for the same and that was a great learning experience.
The other incident relates to a two-hour session that I took, teaching Photoshop to a few of my seniors. All of them were pretty senior to me and it was great to see how enthusiastic and down to earth they were. Although I was the one who was teaching the software, there was so much to learn from them and their attitude.


Learning, Experiences, Takeaways:
Dalberg has been one comprehensive experience full of learning and takeaways. I have strengthened as a good analyst, consultant, presenter, grown as a person and have developed skills, which I believe will help me in the long run. Along with the growth, the best parts of this entire experience were the new people I met and the fun we had. They gave me a great farewell where they made a presentation of a NASA rocket flying to the moon. “This is our version of an infographic”, they said, laughing!

As I left Dalberg, thanking every person for adding so much value and learning to my life, I knew I was going to miss this place. In hindsight, taking up this internship opportunity was the best decision ever.