Adil Imani wanted a chance to put his knowledge of economics and applied math into action in the real world of financial services. An intense, five-week internship in Mumbai proved to be the perfect opportunity.
Adil Imani ’13
Applied Math and Statistics, Economics
Your role: I studied the 18 products used to process local payments and remittances, to see what
could realistically be centralized, and what the efficiency gains might be. My project required
a lot of calculations, analysis, and recommendations. The first line from my boss was, “I don’t
want this to be some theoretical paper; I want it to be well thought out, justified, and feasible
such that I could start implementing your proposal from Day 1.”
The workday: In the first two weeks I tried to understand the processes, and that required
running behind product managers trying to understand their products. The next week was
spent getting/calculating data on volumes and persons employed for each process. The last two
weeks I created a model using linear programming, showing the efficiency gains that could be
maximized by centralization.
Helpful courses: Classes in economics and microeconomics helped me understand economies
of scale, productivity, and efficiency gains. Feeling comfortable with these concepts in real life
is the biggest contribution of my econ classes. My math classes dealing with Excel, e.g., “Intro
to Statistical Modeling,” taught me how to extract information from data. My linear algebra class
enabled me to create a linear equation to determine the number of employees necessary.
Necessary skills: The most important were interpersonal skills. My project required me to get
help from people who had little incentive to help me. Getting my work done, while remaining
polite and meeting my deadlines, was an important part of my job.
The finale: It was great! I presented to a group including the senior vice president of HSBC
India and three associate vice presidents. For more than two hours these senior people analyzed
and discussed my suggestions. They said I had provided them with important data and a well
thought-out list of suggestions for how to start. They planned to begin implementation the next
week and complete centralizing (subject to changes in plans) in 9–12 months.