“Hello Sir, there is someone who has arrived. She says that she is an intern who is to start working from today. I am sending her to the 4th floor”, my heart paces at a little faster than usual as the receptionist hands me over an access card and wishes me good luck.
I take a step in the lift and press the 4th floor. The door opens to a lobby with glass walls and abstract paintings flaunting the mighty aura of the organisation and hinting towards its mammoth.
The lobby is divided into two parts, one for HDFC Sales and the other side is HDFC Property Fund. I looked around and tried to remember how it felt to be working in an organisation. Being worked for a couple of years, surely, the air seemed familiar. It was nostalgic and new at the same time. Confident but scared at the same time. As I was stepping closer towards the Property Fund, glances of my first walk in previous organisation as a fresher graduate started flashing. A smile crossed my mind, as it was just yesterday. I was a student then, I am a student now, too. But this was different. Here I am at a new stage, at a new milestone, interning in the Real Estate Private Equity Fund at India’s top most private financial entity, HDFC. I was made to wait in a meeting room and I could see employees through the glass partition, rushing in at 9.30. The workstations suddenly seemed to be livelier and I could hear the greetings, the laughs, the chit chats and at a blink of the eye, the work day had begin. As I was observing people from this side of the glass, an HR entered. She welcomed me and asked to enter another, bigger, meeting room. She briefed me that there is a senior management meeting for the fund performance; about to start inside and that I have to attend it.
I will not lie that I was ok. No I was not. I was AMAZINGLY thrilled. First day of my internship, first hour of the work starts with a senior management meeting. You do not get such opportunity every day. The meeting started with the Vice-Presidents and the Senior Associates sharing updates about the projects and the fund performance. I learnt about the frameworks, a little bit on the investor relationships, and the functioning of the fund. That one hour laid the foundation of my internship. At the end of the meeting, I was introduced to every one and they welcomed me. Though I am put under the direct reporting of the CFO, I was told that I will be working with legal, finance and investments for short assignments. After the meeting, I was assigned my workstation and login credentials. I looked around and everybody was busy, glued to their screens and faint voices of investor calls could be heard from the nearest meeting room. Curious and excited, I logged in to my system and opened my email. There was already an email from the CFO welcoming me onboard and wishing me best for the internship. I was put on the company employee list so I started receiving newsletters and fund updates in a go. I was asked to go through the fund documents and read up on our annual performance and portfolios. After a couple of hours, the VP of investments (who was also my interviewer during placements), gave me a walk-through on how a private equity functions and the related activities. He explained me what was expected out of me during the period and the projects assigned to me. As much as I was excited to work, I was really looking forward to the learning opportunities that this place offered. The good part about working in a private equity is that due to the small size of the team, everyone is highly approachable. And I could see that by the way the team interacted. From CFO, to Senior VPs, to Associates, everybody interacted very freely and independently accounted for their work. I spent rest of the day studying about our fund’s portfolios and cashflows and getting the hold of the investment rationale. To sum it all, first day at my internship was more than just work and emotions. It was an experience. The experience of a whole new Financial world in the Real Estate Sector and I had just put my first step into it.