Mahika Vajpeyi ’21: Grail Insights

Name: Mahika Vajpeyi
Class Year: 2021
Major: Economics and Computer Science
Hometown: Ghaziabad, India

Internship Organization: Grail Insights
Job Title: Research intern
Location: Noida, India

Another school year was nearing its close and not having a summer internship offer by the end of March was disheartening. Dejected and desperate, I stumbled upon Grail Insights, a New-York based market research and strategic consulting firm. Research into the firm’s operations and its clients convinced me it was just the opportunity I sought. Learning data manipulation while helping Unilever improve its retail activation strategy? Taking a deep dive into statistical methods while advising Nike on where to set up its next store in Europe? Wow! Sounded like a dream job for an economics major where I could put my regression models to use and contribute to making a big impact on a big brand.

Extremely excited by this thought, I contacted the recruiting team at Grail’s Noida office in India, my home country. Following several rounds of interviews, I was extended an offer letter and just could not wait to launch into action at Grail.

I learned I had been assigned an internal project with the Allocations team, which is responsible for staffing employees on market research projects. My role required me to study the budgeted hours (effort estimates sold to clients) and actual staffing data with the aim of:

  • Formulating staffing-related business questions to improve employee efficiency and lower cost.
  • Analyzing budgeted and actual time spent by each associate on every project since 2015 to answer the questions formulated and determine data trends/discrepancies.
  • Presenting findings through a report or dashboard prepared using Power BI, a business analytics tool.

I gradually came to realize the importance of the task at hand. I viewed it as an opportunity to discover new insights that could drastically improve performance on all future projects.

Besides analyzing complex data sets using Power BI, I am getting a chance to improve my reasoning skills by writing code in a programming language built into the tool. Moreover, formulating staffing questions is improving my business intuition by forcing me to focus on issues most critical to the firm’s internal operations. This assignment, thus, lies at the intersection of both my majors — economics and computer science which I hadn’t foreseen. I am also looking forward to begin work on my second project in data science and analytics (which would more directly link the two disciplines) next week.

In addition to my daily tasks, I greatly enjoy a fellow intern’s company and have made good friends with several full-time employees. In fact, one of them has even included me on his team in an office-wide cricket World Cup win predicting competition! These connections I am building are undoubtedly the best part of the internship and make me want to go to office each day. I feel lucky to have received summer funding else I would have missed out on this rewarding experience at Grail.