Exchange Diaries  

By International Relations Cell

Outbound Diaries 2020

Devansh Kar | Architecture and Regional Planning

Copenhagen Business School, Germany and the University of New South Wales, Australia

Research Area: Financial Markets and Portfolio Optimization

1. Which university did you get into? What was your research topic?
It is an ongoing internship. I am working under two professors. One of them is from Copenhagen Business School, while the other is from the University of New South Wales, Australia.
In CBS, I'm researching multiple topics, including the financial markets of both India and Denmark. I also work on macroeconomics, monetary policies, and corporate finance, doing various case studies, etc.
In UNSW, I am working specifically on portfolio optimization using ordinary linear regression. My job is to use historical time series data and try to predict the best portfolio optimization algorithm.

2. How did you apply for FT?
I applied through personal mailing to the professors. I got replies from different countries, including the USA, but due to COVID, many of them couldn't be possible. The two professors I'm currently working under agreed for a remote internship on a long-term basis.

3. Why do you think FT is essential?
FT's importance varies on a personal scale and depends on what you want to do in the future. If someone wants to pursue an MS in a foreign university, the FT is advantageous and adds credibility to your CV. It is also beneficial if someone wants a consulting based job profile as the recruiters look for a well-rounded person. It also gives you a significant amount of exposure.

4. From where did you get the motivation? How did it all start?
My journey started in 2nd year, where we had an introductory economics course. I found it very engaging and so decided to pursue it. I plan to pursue an MS in either finance or economics from a foreign university, which is my primary motivation. I have also applied for a minor in economics this year.

5. What was the role of CG?
CGPA plays a vital role in applying through scholarship programs like Mitacs or SN Bose Scholarship. But when trying through personal mailing, the primary focus shifts to your skills and previous projects. At the same time, a good CGPA increases your chances of getting accepted into better universities. An 8+ CGPA is always preferable, but a 7.5+ CG works as well unless you are targeting the top universities.

6. How did you handle your preparation with your academics?
I started in June, and so the work-load was manageable. After the semester began, it has become a bit hectic. I work on weekends and devote around 3-4 hours each day. I also work on weekdays if I get a bit of free time. The professors want a commitment of about 10 hours a week, so its feasible.

7. Did you do any similar projects here in KGP?
I took an initial project in mid-may under the economics department after developing the base knowledge through online courses and other platforms. I worked for about 1.5 months and gained practical experience in the concepts. The research is still underway, but unfortunately, I've had to put it on hold due to other responsibilities. The project I'm working on in UNSW is similar, while CBS focuses less on the technical aspects.

8. What were the difficulties you faced during the entire process? Did the current pandemic situation affect you in any way?
The significant difficulty lied in the application part. Supposedly, if you apply to 100 professors, you often receive replies from only 15 or so and not immediately. It isn't very reassuring. After that, it wasn't that difficult. It was a remote intern due to COVID, so I missed out on going to the universities.

9. If you did a remote internship, what was the communication mode for you to the university?
The principal method of communication was through mails. The professors take regular updates about the work I've been doing.

10. What advice would you like to give to our fellow KGPins who aspire for FT in economics or Business schools?
Basic knowledge of data analytics and machine learning is necessary apart from the background in economics and finance. After gaining some understanding, they should try to apply for mini projects and gain experience. The professors with similar research interests should be sought after and applied to after reading some of their research papers.