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Summer 2019

Summer Diaries: CAFRAL

August 12, 2019
- Muskan Gupta

A robust legal system promotes the smooth functioning of credit markets and subsequent economic growth. This insight was one of the main motivations behind the promulgation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016, a comprehensive law seeking to streamline, simplify and accelerate the process of bankruptcy resolution in India. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has played its role in the implementation of the IBC by initially referring several large corporate defaulters through the bankruptcy process and subsequently, through a circular dated February 12, 2018, harmonizing its framework for the resolution of distressed assets with the provisions of the IBC. With the goal of transforming the bank-borrower relationship in India, the circular emphasized the immediate recognition of default and swift action to resolve stressed assets.

My project was to study how these significant changes in the regulatory environment have affected the functioning of credit markets in India. Under this broad research programme, I worked on understanding the bank and borrower behaviour. In addition to the direct effect, I also worked on understanding the spillover effects of the bankruptcy reform on other segments of the credit markets. I also worked on understanding the stock market reaction when the Feb 12 circular was implemented using the capital asset pricing model.

Getting There


After having explored the startup world in my first year-internship at ZestMoney, I wanted to try my hand at research and thus decided to go for internships at some renowned universities, think-tanks or Research divisions of Corporates. I started listing out where I would get such projects and then landed at the page of Centre for Advanced Financial Research and Learning(CAFRAL), Research Centre promoted by Reserve Bank of India, which had intern opening at the time.

CAFRAL keeps posting on its website whenever they have a requirement of interns. You will definitely find the internship portal open during the month of January-February which has a deadline of March, hiring interns for the months of May-June-July. You have to complete and submit a form before March which is available on their website for internships. The form requires you to submit your SOP, cover, past experience, technical skills, courses are taken and some other relevant details. Following the form submission, the shortlisted candidates are interviewed. I had two rounds of interview and a code submission to make followed by which I was granted the internship. I had also mailed the Research Directors directly, followed by follow-up emails which I believe helped in shortlisting of my resume.

I started following the Economic Times from my second semester and would look for financial jargons to learn more about them. This helped me gain some understanding of the sector. I further took some online courses and certifications to have strong foundations before actually entering the Financial world. It is better to have some coding experience as all my interviews asked me of my ability to code (mostly in python). Sound knowledge of Probability Statistics is also important to understand the concepts of Econometrics. So, along with theoretical knowledge, having technical knowledge is also very important.

I had started mailing and searching for opportunities from December (though I was a little late for some of the programs). It’s better to start compiling details of whoever you want to work under by mid-November, keep your resume ready and start mailing from early December (for India). It is the time when professors are making their summer plans and looking for interns to work on their projects. Keep sending follow-up emails. They actually help a lot as professors receive a huge number of mails so they tend to neglect or sometimes miss out on mails. Sending follow-up mails also shows that you are actually keen to work under them. Always keep in mind to send personalised emails to each and every professor you are mailing to, with a reference to their work(mentioning the reason why you wish to work under them, some personal reference helps.). This will make your application stand apart from hundreds of bulk mails they receive.

I had done some online courses and had taken two certifications from NISM which I believed would have boosted my resume. My prior experience with ZestMoney, a fin-tech startup also gave me an edge showing my interest and dedication to work in the industry.

Choosing between a project at ISB, Hyderabad and CAFRAL, RBI was quite difficult as both the opportunities had quite interesting projects and were paying equally. I consulted and discussed with a lot of my seniors, and also with people who had interned at both the places, and finally decided to go for CAFRAL, because of its corporate work environment and an opportunity to make excellent connections with people who are actually, directly involved in the world of Banking.

I personally made a lot of mistakes while mailing and application. I had sent the application for CAFRAL on the second-last day, that too on Sunday. This led to neglection of my application for a long time and only after many follow-ups was it brought into consideration. So always keep in mind to send out mailers on weekdays (avoid Fridays also) and at least 7-8 days prior to the deadline. Secondly, initially, I sent generalised emails to everyone which led to no response. I resent personalised emails then from a different Mail ID which garnered some response.



The Centre for Advanced Financial Research and Learning (CAFRAL) is an independent body set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the backdrop of India’s evolving role in the global economy, in the financial services sector and its position in various international fora, and to develop into a world class global institution for research and learning in banking and finance.

CAFRAL’s research focus is on the areas of banking and finance. My project was at the intersecting domains of Banking, Macroeconomics, Public Policy and Financial Markets.

The work culture at CAFRAL was quite friendly. You can go anytime to any of the Research Director’s office and they will guide you with utmost importance. They will take you out for lunch along with Research Associates and would celebrate the farewells of people alongside everyone. Research Associates are your colleagues and show a very welcoming nature. They consider you to be a part of their family and you will soon find hanging out with them for lunch and parties. They will always be ready to help you and guide you in case you have stuck anywhere on your project. But CAFRAL requires you to be punctual in office in proper formals, and work for minimum of 8 hours for 5-days a week. Only in case of severe cases(like rains in Mumbai which are actually torturous as they leave you with no means of communication) are you allowed to be late for office or otherwise they will cut pay for the leave.

CAFRAL is a small family of RDs and RAs working together undertaking research useful to central banks, regulators and financial sector, conducting seminars, conferences and other learning programs that serve as a platform for exchange of high-level policy dialogues and collaborate with other institutions within the country and outside to promote research in areas of interest to the Centre.




There are reasons to love and hate the city of dreams yet its loveable factors outweigh everything. Starting with the weather the rains bring along with them beautiful weather but also halted trains, crowded roads, and clogged roads. From amazing ‘Khao Galis’ to best night clubs Mumbai has everything to suit your needs as well as pockets. Spend some time at the famous beaches on weekends and sit alongside Marine Drive at night to enjoy a beautiful view of Mumbai City, they will make you forget every stress of your life.

I used to live with my cousin in Lower Parel so it was not a big issue for me, but it is actually very difficult to find a good PG at affordable prices, especially in South Bombay.