Bank of America – Aishwarya Rawat
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Aishwarya Rawat is a 3rd year Undergraduate pursuing a B.Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science
I’m nearly towards the end of my internship as I’m writing this piece. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the investment banking division of Bank of America with its India headquarters located in Mumbai at Nariman Point (relocation to BKC is in progress, more on this later). The following is my experience as an intern at BoA.
This was the first time BoA came to IITB for hiring interns. The profile was that of a software engineer at the front office technology department. Being inclined towards finance and having a slightly-more-than-basic knowledge of coding I thought I’d give this a shot. The selection procedure involved a resume based screening followed by a coding round, testing, specifically, our knowledge of Python and general algorithm writing skills. This was followed by 4 interviews, the first of which was technical, two were HR and the last round which was entirely resume centric, was telephonic.
This was a fairly short internship (8 weeks) and the first 2 weeks were mostly about getting us accustomed to the general functioning of the department, FICC (Fixed income currencies and commodities) technology. We were given time to get used to programming in Python and a brief introduction to the financial side of things, specifically what the department did and what role we played in it.
Following this we were given our project. The project, basically, was optimizing and automating the existing working system to handle the trade flow once the trade is booked and calculating the bond prices on a daily basis thereby eliminating the need for any human intervention.
The first step was to understand the current working system which took about a week. Following this, we had to make modifications to the existing programs, scrapping the bits that weren’t relevant anymore and making our additions so that the final result was a robust code to deal with the daily transactions more efficiently. The last few days of the internship are devoted to implementing the new method into the computer systems of the various users involved.
Culture and workplace:
BoA, being a well-established organization, has most of its rules in place. With an in time of 9am, grabbing a cup of coffee was essentially the first thing I did after stepping into office. In addition to the infinite supply of coffee, the occasional free lunches were motivation enough to keep our spirits up. Typical of a bank, being preoccupied by a pile of work at all times was the general way of life, at least during the hours when the markets were open.
As I mentioned earlier, majority of my internship was at the Nariman Point office in Express Towers right at Marine Drive (read: nice view). One major downside to this was the travelling. I travelled for about three hours a day, changed vehicles twice and learnt that rush hours at Dadar station weren’t hyped. At all. Regarding food, there aren’t many options apart from a nearby Starbucks, a sandwich stall and Sassy Spoon, so relying on the office canteen is what most people end up doing. The last 3 days of my internship will be at the BKC office which is just as good. At least it solves the travel problem.
For all those inclined towards pursuing a career at an investment bank this internship is a really good opportunity. Being a part of the daily functioning of a front office of an investment bank certainly helps give you a clear idea whether you would like to pursue a career in this field. For those interested in coding it’s even better since this is an opportunity to hone your skills. In conclusion, my advice, would be to have a clear picture of the kind of work you would like to do as opposed to the place/organization you want to work at.