Once upon a time in Mumbai

by Saikat Mandal on Sunday 5 August 2012, 10:30 PM | Category: Summer Internship Contest| View: 4355 views

Summer of 2012

After the most happening year of my life as a MBA student, when life seemed to be little stabilised and the excitement levels started dimming, another interesting chapter came into the picture. The situation was not very much different too. Writing CAT, getting calls, some rejections and some selections and after all those grilling interview processes, leaving a job that I actually didn't like were the part of life prior to IIM Ranchi. After coming IIM Ranchi things changed a little. Missing old friends  and in the same breath making some new ones, demanding academic pressure, guest lectures,  preparation for summer internship process and in a way  the summer internship process itself was what made IIM Ranchi special and summarised life of most first year students of the PGP programme.

I got the opportunity to have my summer internship at Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) in Mumbai. The corporate world was not a stranger to me owing to the one year I had spent working with Cognizant Technology Solutions as a developer and tester, but this was my first exposure to management level. The selection was special in another sense as it got a special mention in the placement brochure as a “niche profile” it being a strategic role in a social field. From my interactions in the interview process and my general perception of the organization I was not very clear on the kind of job that I was to perform for the company or how to go about preparing for it. Anyways, with lot of hope and excitement I started on the journey to Mumbai after a weeklong holiday at home sweet home. The first problem you face in the Mayanagri is finding a decent place to dwell, that too for duration of only two months makes it an incredibly challenging job. Luckily for me the friend of old (another guy for his internship from IIMC) came to the rescue. 

It was on the fateful day of April the 2nd that I and my college mate started our internship with an informal induction session. The next couple of days were basically spent reading up and getting to know the team and company and getting in tune with them. I was to work with the Social Inclusion Group (SIG) of the organization for the rest of my internship. This required a lot of literature review on social sciences about the works done till date.

After the initial induction period I got briefed on what my tasks are to be. Basically, I had to do an in-depth research on a project development process for a social inclusion programme. Without much delay, I started working on it and simultaneously was also involved in a data management project. I had to develop a structure and model which includes baseline analysis, need assessment, intervention plan, implementation strategy and finally the impact analysis.  With the constant help of my supervisor, I was almost done with the project within the 3rd week and approached my supervisor for another project.

The second project was in Nagpur. The objective of the project was to increase the efficiency and profitability of a solid waste management organization. The value creation was from both sides; by increasing the profitability of the organization as well as creating scope of extra income for the workers involved. The project required me to visit all the municipal zones of Nagpur city in order to get a fair idea about the processes. The job profile was also quite different from the traditional perception of managerial job. The job required me to travel extensively and visit various places all over a completely unknown place by myself in the month of May (when the temperatures are on a higher side of 40s). Fortunately my traveling hours for visiting and interviewing the workers was from 6 in the morning to 10 in the morning. After that it was a regular desk job with traditional office hours. The one week experience was quite adventurous as there was ample opportunity to explore a complete territory out of my comfort zone. 

I feel lucky for getting the opportunity to work with such a great team. Everyone was very supportive and helpful. There were multiple moments during the time like sharing of foods during lunch hours, treats, discussion other stuffs over café chino etc. which made the internship extra special.

Apart from the technical details the projects also enriched me with tons of learning and practical experience. Interacting with people completely unknown before and belonging to different mind-sets and diverse background was very exciting. I had the opportunity of interacting with people ranging from the CEO, Social Science PhD holders to sweepers. Working on a project with the objective of social inclusion eventually imposed a different dimension in my thinking process. I understand the theoretical concept of share value, social return on investment, quality of live improvement, holistic development etc. from a very close distance during the internship. This is the point from where job satisfaction comes. In my previous job in the IT industry I was not quite satisfied because I was not quite clear of the bigger picture. I was not aware why was I doing, from whom I was doing, who will be the beneficiary or in one word what value I was creating. But in this job I knew the whole bigger picture in face I was in the charge of the bigger picture and I was quite sure of creating values. 

Apart from these some advice and take away from the internship were:

  • Document your work whenever you reach a milestone if not daily. It will help a lot during the report writing and preparing the final presentation.
  • Keep your mentor or supervisor up to date about your work. Also asked for more work if you have scope to do that.
  • Try to use some tools or models that you learn during your first year course.

Now some shortcomings or rather the expectations that could not be reached are:

  • Apart from some social science concepts, statistical analysis (Like multiple regression analysis, causal test etc.)there were lack of scope to reflect the knowledge or assimilate it in the project
  • A very good office timing from 9 am to 5:30 pm never give me the opportunity rather scope to work late in office. I mean generally in managerial job the perception is that you may have to work for long hours. Here within a normal work pressure I never had to face that experience.

The life outside the working hours was fun and highly enjoyable. Staying with old college friends and surviving on Domino's Pizza and Chinese food reminded me of the golden period of under graduation life. Also students meet and “Mumbai Darshan” on every weekend got me the feeling of being a “Mumbaikar” within two months. Although towards the end I was missing IIM Ranchi hostel life very much but that two months period will always be valley of sweet and colourful memory lane.


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