T5E interviews recent alumni across a wide variety of industries who have spent a year or more at their respective firms. We hope this will enlighten current students with respect to what companies look for while recruiting undergraduates and help them make more informed career choices.
What does Deutsche Bank (DB) do?
Deutsche Bank AG is a German global banking and financial services company which offers financial products and services for corporate and institutional clients along with private and business clients. That is something you can get straight off Wiki, but I guess the more important question here is what people who work for Deutsche Bank do. The general perception of the financial sector for most students in IITM is skewed towards it being an industry filled with numbers and models which the common man cannot understand. That is true but only to a very small and segregated part of a bank which you can work for if you wish to. But for the most part, people are focused on building businesses within specific parts of the industry based on selling and creating products that help clients in many different ways. The products themselves are based off many different asset classes such as Foreign Exchange, Rates, Commodities, etc. Teams are separated based on what asset classes they work on, and are driven to grow their individual businesses in a manner in which they deem fit. Even to my surprise the industry is extremely entrepreneurial and there are several ways in which even a junior can contribute to a business without any prior knowledge of the industry.
What does your work at DB involve?
I started work in DB as an Analyst for the Asia Commodities Sales team. I was based out of Deutsche CIB Centre, Mumbai; this was earlier known as GMC. The first few months of my job involved learning the commodities business from scratch. No matter how much you study or read, the only proper way of learning something about this industry is to start working in it. I might also be saying this because I had neither studied nor read a single word about finance before starting my work.
The team I work for is based out of Singapore, and I spent a considerable amount of time working in Singapore. For the time I was based out of GMC, my roommate had noticed I had spent a grand total of 3 weekends in my house in Mumbai over 6 months. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that you get to travel a lot.
My job initially involved providing market analysis, building pitches for client meetings and pretty much anything the team asked me to do. My time in Singapore enabled me to get involved in a specific part of the commodities business – specifically on the Metals end. The team motivated me to become an integral part of the entire construct and allowed me to improve their processes in a way in which they simply could not. I now work permanently in the Singapore head office, and form part of a growing business that is worth 15 million Euros a year.
What is the work environment like?
The work environment is surprisingly relaxed in Mumbai. You have 5 day weeks, and people are given the independence to work on their own schedule based on a given end goal. Like every organisation there is a managerial hierarchy, but what’s different in DB is the ease you have in accessing members of upper management to discuss business or your own future within the organisation
What does DB look for while recruiting undergraduates?
DB looks for people who have shown excellence in one form or another, not necessarily relating to finance. People who have performed well either in the academic or non-academic arena will be tested on their respective areas of strength.
I’d like to put down a few things that I think would be helpful for anyone preparing for placements, things that I wish someone had told me before my interviews:
– Prepare for the interview, and not the job. Although the end goal is to get the job, recruiters are looking for specific qualities within a person which they think will enable them to perform well in a particular company. For example, your knowledge of what I do in DB will have no positive impact on the outcome of the final interview. While being mentored by seniors/friends, ask specific questions pertaining to the interview and how you can perform well during one.
– Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. I was part of the recruitment process last year, and I saw several people who were over-prepared for one industry, and were not prepared well enough for others. Keep back-up options and be prepared for any eventuality. This market is not kind, and you are better off focusing on a bunch of companies rather than just a couple.
It’s alright if your resume has white spaces – recruiters are looking for quality at this stage. Make sure your strongest points are not overlooked. For those who still have time, focus on your academics. Your CGPA will probably be the only insti-related thing that will be standing on your resume ten years down the line and your grades are given a high weightage by people who come to campus. Extra-curriculars are important but it’s best if you showcase the ability to maintain a balance between academics and everything else.
What are the career prospects beyond (or in) DB?
Be it DB or anywhere else, your first job should be part of something more long term and should primarily be treated as such. DB provides great internal mobility, whereby you can switch between roles that are very different, working for teams across the globe from Sydney to New York. A lot of IITians from DB are now studying in the best global B-Schools, the colleague I had replaced in Mumbai is now studying in London Business School after working with the team for 2 years. You will have several opportunities to move up in the organisation, you just have to make the effort to take them.
Nishan ‘Ragi’ Hegde (2011/BT/ME) was a resident of Mandakini hostel, for whom he played almost every sport in the book. He had visited Singapore on an exchange semester and was also Sponsorship and Public Relations Core, Shaastra 2010.
If you are an alumnus and you have a story to contribute about your first job, write to us at t5e.iitm [at] gmail [dot] com and we will get in touch with you.
Editor’s note: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee alone and do not represent the views of, or should not be attributed to, Deutsche Bank AG.