How I Got Selected as a CA Industrial Trainee with Airtel

The Finance Story

  • Today we have Saiyam Aggarwal sharing with us his journey as an Industrial Trainee at Bharti Airtel.
  • Saiyam is a qualified Chartered Accountant from ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India).
  • In this article Saiyam shares with us - Importance of Industrial Training, Learnings from Industrial Training, Interview Tips etc.

My Journey Pursuing Industrial Training as a CA Student

Deciding on Industrial Training purely depends upon one’s interest as in which sector an individual would like to build his/her career.

My reason behind choosing Industrial Training was - To explore the corporate culture and also to learn the corporate ways so that I could get an easy entry into the corporate world after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (CA).

I got the chance to work in all the areas during my Industrial Training comprising - Direct Taxation, Indirect Taxation, Appeals, Financial Modelling, Company Law matters etc.

If one is sure of which sector one wants to apply then doing a proper SWOT analysis of the corporation would be a good idea.

I did the same before selecting Bharti Airtel (Industry Leader, new technologies coming, competitive advantage and other factors).

What did I learn during Industrial Training 

For Chartered Accountant interns from mid-sized Chartered Accounting firms working in a big giant corporate could be a great learning experience.

During my articles, I could use my knowledge only to an extent - As we had limited clients with limited business size.

Most of our clients were not giant/big business organizations.

Thus I did not get the opportunity of applying all the provisions of Direct Taxation/ Indirect Taxation or all the Standards of Audit thus limiting my growth

On the contrary, in a giant corporation like Airtel, I got an exposure in all these areas to the maximum.

It helped me grow professionally.

How to decide which team should you join in the company 

  • I had decided a long time back which department I would like to join.
  • Luckily Airtel had a vacancy for that department.
  • In Airtel they gave me choices between two departments since I knew which one I wanted to, I chose that SVA Department (Part of the Finance Team).

When Did I Start Applying for Industrial Training

  • I started applying 2 months before the end of my 2nd year of articleship and in 1 month I received a confirmation from Airtel.
  • Applied to almost 5-6 companies and received calls from all of them.
  • It took me 1 month to complete the process for Airtel.
  • So basically what one can do is one can enroll themselves at various Chartered Accountant job websites like cajobportal.com or charteredclub.com.
  • Also, the main source of information is social sites or apps like Whatsapp as nowadays many job groups run on WhatsApp.
  • Who can forget the friend circle which one makes during the journey.
  • It is very important to keep in touch with everyone so that all can share different information including industrial training vacancies.

Challenges of Industrial Training

  • Hectic Schedule
  • Late Sittings
  • Missing coaching classes on a daily basis,
  • You never know when the boss can call you
  • Less preparation time

Exam Study Leave 

  • Generally, the discussion related to exam study leaves takes place during the interview itself.
  • Thus there is no scope for confusion. So be clear about the study leave you need during the interview.
  • However at times even though you decide on 90 days as study leave - If any important work shows up you might have to complete it. So there is no guarantee.
  • But it is always recommended to convey your needs to the interviewer about study leave during the interview.
  • Also If you build some great relations with your employer and prove yourself then they can help you get appropriate study leave.
  • I got study leave for 2 months at Airtel.
  • Study Leaves during industrial training is generally unpaid however it depends on the T&C of every company.

Preparing for CA Final Exams 

  • I started preparing my CA Final exams during my industrial training period.
  • Corporates have their own set of deadlines subject to the condition, which gives you time to prepare.
  • I also used to study while traveling so I could make up for the lost time.
  • So, start as early as possible and do remember the PRACTICE MANUAL IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS.
  • One can never ignore the PM if you are doing CA as the ICAI’s material is always supreme even though many things written/ solution provided by them is not right.
  • I Failed once due to ignorance of Practice Manual (Please never do that).
  • If you have talent, skills, knowledge and ready to do the hard work anyone would be happy to hire you even if you cleared IPCC after 3 plus attempts!

Stipend During Industrial Training 

  • The money is definitely more when one is interning at a BIG corporate.
  • As an article assistant in mid-sized Accounting firms, the stipend is really less.
  • Generally, the stipend ranges between INR 20000-25000 and there is no scope of negotiation in that as this is not a regular Job.
  • I have never seen anyone negotiating, but many companies like Amazon, JP Morgan, etc give a stipend of around INR 40k-50k.
  • Team Selection is purely based on the career path which you want to pursue. Yes, they do give chances to select (subject to availability) but it can also be a trap.
  • For Example – A friend of mine was attending an interview in Finance. During the interview, the HR offered him a role in the Tax Team and he said YES. The HR rejected him (maybe) because they were of the opinion that this guy had no definite plan or wasn’t sure what he really wanted.
  • So each to its own but I would suggest – Just be honest and clear with yourself and others.

Interview Tips for CA industrial Training 

The interview at Airtel was not all that tough.

The interviewers do understand that we have limited exposure and thus the interview accordingly.

The only thing that matters is - Your Skills + Knowledge + Eagerness to Learn.

If you are eager to learn they can sense it and will surely hire you.

But again only eagerness won’t work, you have to face all the interview questions as well and for that one has to PREPARE.

When it comes to interviewing attire for men it has to be a Business Suit (with a Tie).

At Airtel they had 3 rounds of interview:

  • HR Round- That was quite normal - Tell me about yourself kind of questions, why you want to work with us, why you want to work in the finance team etc.
  • Technical Round – This was my second round and here they asked me similar questions like the HR did. However, they also asked me about my articles experience and what all did I learn. They asked me Questions testing my knowledge relating to Finance and Accounts
  • Team Head Round – This was the last round and it was very general with the Team Head. No Technical questions were asked here!

How I Prepared for my Interview at Airtel

  • Got some tips from friends and teachers, for everything else - Google is KING!
  • Teachers and friends guided me.
  • They gave me tips that in whatever the company I am going to apply I should be ready with the corporate information which is easily available on companies website or annual report.
  • They also guided me on how to tackle some of the questions which they can ask during the interview session.
  • Lastly, they helped me draft a proper RESUME.

Resume Tips

  • A one-page resume is the best (in my opinion).
  • Don’t make a lengthy one as it restricts the interviewer from asking you more questions.
  • Because everything is written in your resume he will have very little to ask you.
  • For example: If you mention each and everything in your resume and the interviewer happens to read your entire resume and if he asks you a question like - Tell me something which is not written in your resume? Then you will be left with nothing.
  • So mention only what is needed and keep the resume simple and short!

Would I recommend Industrial Training to Other CA Students 

  • Learning is always a big concern in CA course, so the level of knowledge and experience which one gets in industrial training is far more vast and better than the experience from a Mid-sized CA Firm.
  • For those who want to go for Corporate Jobs after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant - Industrial Training gives you that platform that could help you to get an edge over others.
  • The contacts which one makes during the period of Industrial Training is priceless.
  • I do not recommend Industrial Training to the interns of Big 4 Accounting firms unless they get an opportunity in the Investment Banking Department or maybe in a department where job openings come by rarely like Hedge Fund, Treasury something on these lines. I hope you get my point.
  • I would recommend industrial training only to those who want to get into the Corporate world as the exposure you would be getting in IT is only relevant to the corporate/respective sector.
  • Of course, you learn and develop great communication, networking and excel skills in Corporate giants.

In Conclusion...

  • Work on skills and knowledge as they are the weapon which will help you to fight more rather than focusing on marks.
  • If you are attending an interview - Marks can help you to get pass through Gate 1 but after that, it is the skills and knowledge which will help you crack the interview.
  • That is why it is never suggested to go for dummy internship as I have seen many dummy candidates clearing their CA Final in one shot but they struggle when it comes to getting a job.
  • See if one needs you only then he will bother to check your CV and if he doesn’t need you then he will just press the delete button.
  • HR people are Humans. If someone tries to reach them indirectly he/she might get a negative feeling from that person.
  • One can try sending across their CV through a company employee.
  • Most of us don’t have that much network connectivity so for that start using Linkedin. You will be surprised at how helpful people are!
  • Even if 2 from a group of 100 help you, you are sorted.

You can connect to Saiyam on Linkedin and Facebook - Saiyam Aggarwal.

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