RBI Internship: Week 2
RBI internship week 2: An incredible(s) week in Pune
“India has a greater population that the entire western hemisphere of the earth.”
2.8 million motorcycles and 7 western tourists roaming the city. Hailing tuk tuks and dodging traffic we have had a lot to learn. We are now two weeks into our internships here at the Reserve bank of India, and we have started to get into our routines. We are beginning to get to know briefing room 2 very well indeed. Bertie, Ben, Andrea and I sit at a large wooden table in the middle of the office space. A large window lets in natural light, making it a pleasant workspace. Through the window we glance out upon a courtyard, where a tree grows up from the grass. On our desk we are provided with two desktop computers and a printer which we have used extensively to print the research for our projects. Arguably the highlight of the workspace is the whiteboard which sits on the wall adjacent to the desk. This board is now home to our project master plans. One of the great features of the working day here at the RBI is the 10am and 3:30pm tea time deliveries. We have become friendly with the tea men here at the office. One man is particularly friendly, perhaps a little too friendly for some. At the chime of 10:30 each morning he enters in uniform. He carries a tray of biscuits and coffee. Over the two weeks the biscuit variation has been slowly narrowing down to our favourite choice. The cashew biscuit. Now the cashew biscuit is all we get served at tea time, and when the man leans over closely to whisper, “tea for you sir” you know it is time for those delicious treats and a cup of chai or coffee to start your day. The customs here continue to amaze us.
This week George and I have finished our research and plan for our project report, and have started writing about the exciting topic of Export competitiveness of Indian Agriculture. It is a large subject with many aspects of it, and it is hard to pick out the most important parts as there is so much to write. Our supervisor has given us a target of 40 pages! Looking at export competitiveness from a banking perspective is something that we have never touched on before, which makes is very exciting to learn first hand from our supervisors. The supervisor for George and my project is called Muthuselevan, who is keen on the subject and he has given us plenty of material. We also have the possibility to attend lectures designed for professional bankers. There are experienced bankers working for the RBI stationed all over India gathered at the College of Agricultural Banking to attend the lectures here. They are incredibly knowledgeable, and it is very inspiring to be around so many great minds.
We have all realised that no matter what topic we have chosen for the projects, there are certain aspects of the Indian economy that repeatedly comes up in discussion because it is so relevant to what the RBI and commercial bankers are focusing on for the future. Financial inclusion is something that we all have learned a lot about in the past two weeks. One of the biggest challenges of Indian banking is people being excluded from formal financial services. Imagine British citizens not being able to open a simple bank account or being denied a small loan. That means no student loan, guys. RBI’s College for Agricultural Banking has added their purpose on this serious topic under their sign at the entrance.
“Building capacity for inclusive finance.”
In the evening we finish work at 5pm. Although we have to be back at the RBI for 9pm we have found plenty of ways to amuse ourselves in the evenings. One evening this week we left the compound and made the short trip to the cinema next door to watch an early evening screening of the Incredibles 2. We all enjoyed the film, but most interesting was the Indian cinema culture which included the fact that there are no adverts before the movie. This left us all entering the film 15 minutes late. Furthermore, we were amused by the seemingly random bouts of laughter that the other cinema goers would come out with as well as enjoying drinks with no lids or straws due to the heavily enforced plastic ban in Pune. After the movie we ate at a local shopping mall where Bertie decided to embark upon a challenge that he had found somewhere deep on the internet. With the low prices of food in India, Bertie seized the opportunity and found a pizza for the equivalent of three pounds, and a subway for the equivalent of one pound fifty. He bought both and proceeded to wrap the subway baguette inside the pizza hut pizza and eat the entire thing as one sloppy, cheesy wrap. It was amusing to watch and we were all glad that Bertie managed to achieve one of his lifelong goals. #bertiethebeast
Overall we are all having a fabulous time here in Pune. We are all shocked that 2 weeks have already flown by and the prospect of having to leave in a fortnight is quite daunting. However, we will leave with a new unique set of skills, gaining valuable experience in working with people from another culture. We have also improved our self-motivation, research skills and overall knowledge of the banking sector.
George and Andrea, students currently on their GEO internship with the Reserve Bank of India.