How I Cracked the 6-month Internship at BMW
Photo by Andrei Ianovskii on Unsplash


I primarily wrote this guide to help fellow IITM students prepare for internship interviews, but most of the concepts here apply to all kinds of interviews. Note to IIT Madras Students: Please use your S-Mail account to access linked documents.

Last year, for the first time ever, BMW came to our department to offer an internship. This was a first not just for our department but probably for our college too. I was one of the two students they selected. In this post I am going to talk about how I landed the internship and give you some tips to help you in your preparation and interview.

Here’s the story-

Step 1: Getting Shortlisted

We got the news that BMW is one of the companies participating in our department’s 6-month internship program. We received a PDF of the job description. It gave some information about BMW Motorrad (BMW’s motorcycle division), their India IPO (International Purchasing Office) which was offering the internship, and a brief outline of what the job would look like. Initially, I did not understand much from the job description, but after reading it many times over I got some clarity. I spent a week tailoring my resume to it and submitted it. I got shortlisted.

💡 Tip #1:

Spend time to read the JD. Tailor your resume to it. Make sure to include relevant courses and course projects.

Step 2: Preparing for the Interview

As part of the selection process, we were asked to prepare a presentation about EV 2-wheelers. We were asked to cover the architecture, major electrical and electronic components, recent technologies and potential parts that can be sourced from India. I spent a lot of time doing desktop research and understanding the technical stuff. I learned about different types of motors, how they work, batteries, battery chemistries, motor controllers and more.

As I had no idea what automotive parts sourcing was, I found a friend of a friend who was “working in EV bikes” and asked him for help. He said yes. I learned so much from him. The synopsis was this: if you want to build an EV 2 wheeler, all you need is a motor, a battery and some power electronics. Slap on it a body and bam! You have yourself an EV 2 wheeler. E-z p-z. He also gave me an overview of the working of EV 2 wheelers and some more nuggets about sourcing- where most companies get their motors and batteries from, etc.

💡 Tip #2:

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. People usually want to help you.

Now that I had a fair understanding of the role, I tried to find out what I could do differently that could set my presentation apart from others. I took a deep dive into the internet and found out what motor the Ather 450 scooters were using. This was one of the unique points of my presentation. (When I was presenting this part I could tell that the interviewer was impressed.) This, in addition to the information about sourcing that I had got from my friend proved to be a huge advantage.

💡 Tip #3:

Understand the role properly. I am reiterating this as it is critical. It will allow you to spend your time on what actually matters (I spent a lot of time learning about the technical stuff and while that was important, learning about the sourcing part was actually more important). Understand properly what the company does, find out what the division (of the company) that is offering the internship does. Being clear about the role will give you a terrific advantage.

💡 Tip #4:

Think about how you can set yourself apart. I was able to stand out by putting something unique and high value in my presentation.

Step 3: Nailing the Interview

The day of the interview, I was at ease. I told myself- I have given my best effort to prepare for the interview, now the rest is out of my hands. Let’s see what happens. Because of this, I was calm, confident and enthusiastic during the interview. I was also curious and happy to learn new stuff that the interviewer told me as I was really interested in the role. In the end, the interview went well and an hour later, I came to know that I had been selected.

💡 Tip #5:

Prepare well. This is a no-brainer. When you prepare well, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment just because you put in so much effort. Besides, it will let you have a clear conscience which will help your confidence.

💡 Tip #6:

Be prepared to not get the job. I mean, mentally prepare yourself to the very real possibility that you may not get the internship, and that it’s okay if you don’t. It’s just an internship. Big deal.

💡 Tip #7:

Give your best effort and leave the rest to God. When you know that you’ve given your best effort, you will be calm, confident, and have the right attitude during the interview. What is the right attitude during an interview? The right attitude during an interview is a beautiful balance of confident coolness and humble curiosity. Assert yourself with certainty, but be receptive to what the interviewer says. This is known as being confident without coming off as arrogant. Being able to listen to what the interviewer says is just as equally important as being confident.

Adopt a nothing-to-lose attitude. If you take away just one thing from this article, it should be this.

Remember, you have nothing to lose. Think about this for a second…

Now go get it! All the best.

Other notes:

  • Being genuinely interested in the role helps.

  • Sometimes you never feel satisfied no matter how much effort you put in. You always keep feeling like you could have done better. I know, I’ve been there, and it’s okay.

Summary:

  1. Feel free to ask around for help.
  2. Prepare well.
  3. Don’t worry about the outcome.

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