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The term “Bangalored” has been coined for a reason and I have realised it in its true sense only after relishing a first hand experience with big data analytics during my intern at Capital One. For the uninitiated, Capital One is a credit card company based in the US, also involved in other financial services like home and auto loans, and commercial banking. It runs its major analytical operations at the Bangalore office. The work is challenging but comfortable and you can learn a lot during the intern if you are willing to!
The Selection Procedure
Capital One’s selection procedure is very meritocratic in nature.[pullquote]The first shortlist is based on a simple Math test involving chart and data interpretation. This is followed by a series of case interviews ultimately leading to the final selection.[/pullquote] There are no CPI cutoffs for shortlisting candidates. The first shortlist is based on a simple Math test involving chart and data interpretation. This is followed by a series of case interviews ultimately leading to the final selection. Reading up a bit on case interviews and common sense should get you through these smoothly.
What’s the work like
Capital One started off with a somewhat disruptive idea of IBS (Information Based Strategy) in the early 1990s. The idea, essentially, was to use all available customer data to make a tailor-made card for every individual who wanted one. The idea was so effective that it instantly placed Capital One amongst the bigwigs of the industry. Over 40 million custom cards and 80 million customers later, here they are using their successful strategy in all ways, from customer experience to risk analysis. For an intern, this basically means that he will be performing statistical, numerical and text analysis on huge sets of data and churning out useful models.
Getting started with things could be quite tedious but you can always approach your colleagues for help (most of them being IIT alumni). A lot of new things are learnt with the use of several assisting tools needed for the analysis. We have frequent discussions with our manager and other stakeholders involved across the US and Canada offices regarding our project and other facets related to it. This gives you a good exposure of various aspects relevant to your job. However, beyond this there is almost no interference in your work by anyone unless you ask for it, allowing you to work in your own comfort zone. I believe, this lets you to be at your most efficient and creative best. [pullquote]There is almost no interference in your work by anyone unless you ask for it, allowing you to work in your own comfort zone. I believe, this lets you to be at your most efficient and creative best.[/pullquote] However, there are periodic reviews to ensure that the money being spent on you isn’t going without any return!
The most remarkable aspect of the internship is that you are given complete ownership of your project and are allowed to decide for yourself the complete line of action. This goes a long way in helping you learn and grow in more than one ways. By the end of your internship, you would end up having learnt about certain analytical tools, perhaps a new coding language but most importantly, a sense of responsibility. [pullquote]By the end of your internship, you would end up having learnt about certain analytical tools, perhaps a new coding language but most importantly, a sense of responsibility.[/pullquote]
The first thing that strikes you when you enter the office are the work hours. They are extremely flexible. A lot of importance is given to getting the final work done while being given complete freedom when you are working on it. You can walk in, into the office at any time of the day to work. You are also allowed to take a much needed break from work for a game of FIFA (yes, they have a dedicated room with playstation and all the jazz) or to show off those foosball and ping pong skills which you acquired in your hostel lounge. Another notable attribute of Capital One is that all the employees, including the interns, are given equal importance with the hierarchy only being a formality. This makes it extremely easy for you to break the ice with everyone around. Overall, the work culture is one that strives to enable its employees to make full utilisation of their talents beneficial to the company and content themselves.
Outside the office
Capital One knows how to pamper their interns, something you’ll learn about as soon as you enter the fancy hotel that they put you in. The company provides you with accommodation and travel so you don’t have to worry about those formalities. You are given a fancy service apartment to stay with all your needs taken care of. Bangalore’s weather is a pleasant respite from the scorching Bombay heat. You’ll end up discovering quite a few good breweries in the city given that you shall be chilling around quite a lot with your co-workers. You’ll end up having a good time with them coupled with a fulfilling learning experience.
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