The dish of summer internship: A taste to remember

by Sidharth Panigrahi on Wednesday 8 August 2012, 2:14 PM | Category: Summer Internship Contest| View: 2141 views

It is the most awaited period in life of 1st year MBA student. The hormones of graduation suddenly start to develop; symptoms of elation(congratulating self for completing a year), seniority(browsing admission forums to check out the upcoming crops) and excitement(time to take a break and work in industry) begin to appear. Despite all positive feelings, a sense of nervousness prevails. How will I perform in my company? How would be my work? How would be my boss? A lot of similar questions start cropping up as the date of reporting nears by. Yes, it is the summer internship time.

If I am asked to describe MBA in one word it would be ‘experience'. It is experience which teaches to stop expecting success, it is experience which teaches to accept success humbly and embrace failures gracefully. The mental balance and control, which directors/deans/guests/faculties often mention in their speeches, come under the ambit of ‘experience'.

I was not lucky to have a hunky dory world set up for me, but certain incidents followed during the period, which made my summer internship experience memorable. I managed to get into one of the reputed financial institutions of the nation. Things did not look good for me as my organization did not offer PPI(pre-placement interview) policy to us. It isn't pleasant news to hear when you are ruled out from day#1(add to it the pleasant experience that my batchmates were discussing, with few of them relishing of the lucrative PPI policies of their assigned organizations).

No PPI policy, inertia in work, sluggish life. What do you do next? Dwell with and resign your fate to it? The answer my destiny wrote was NO.

My crazy habit of participating in competitions helped me during this time, when I had registered for a marketing competition during March. I started the pending work of the contest and identified a startup as the organization to pitch in. My role involved creating advertisements on behalf of my client(i.e. startup organization) with the budget of 250$ assigned by the organizer of the competition. We were asked to set a price for each types of advertisement with the allotted budget and come up with the observations. Thanks to my team mates, professor and the leaders of start-up enterprise that we managed to float the campaign after few initial hiccups.

There were three things which I learnt from the experience: 1. Talk to entrepreneurs of start-ups if you want to get the best view of an industry, 2.Respect people regardless of age and learn from them, 3. the shortcut to success can be derived listening to the horrendous tales of people in the industry(so do ask them their experience). Unfortunately our planned strategy for contest didn't work out, but the amount of exposure to startup taught me a lot. Working with a start-up firm is a thrilling experience. You get involved in their process, suddenly start worrying about the problems of the firm, feel happy when the firm bags a contract, think every second ‘how can I help the firm?' In a way you turn out to be an employee of the firm.

Coincidentally during the same time, a string of email exchanges brought me in contact with a b-school forum portal and helped in establishing contact with their administrators. The administrators acknowledged our willingness to work and assigned us(me and my batch-mates) a research analysis project. The task was enriching as I witnessed another factor of an organization success: people. It is the people who make the difference. Get the right mix of people and you are all set to fly. It was not about my group assignment and b-school portal team's deliverable(i.e. create the assignment and let the portal team take headache of evaluating it). Instead it was all about our goal. The ‘ours' collectively refers to me, my friends and portal administrators whom we used to interact. We collaborated together, and it turned out to be a magic. I also learnt about the preferences and working styles of my friends and portal team, which helped me to plan and develop a good rapport with them. The exchanges of mutual appreciations/feedback between my team and the portal administrators propelled the work and complete it on time.

My internship at financial institution was a learning of its kind. There is no handholding in industry. You are left on your own to build your way. You slowly stop complaining, abandon comparing yourself with people who proclaim to have ‘better opportunities' and accept your challenge as a part of life. Have I done justice to the job? The answer lies in the hand of my boss. Did I live up to his expectations? Perhaps I would never be able to find the real answer out, thanks to mechanistic work structure.

All the three experience had a common theme: getting right mix of people, appreciating them and engaging to accomplish the goals. It is the set of bad experiences which teaches us the best lessons of life. There are some tastes in life which one may find difficult to forget, but teach us something unusual which this happy-go-lucky world perhaps fails to preach. The failures committed in all these projects stand out to be the biggest achievements for me. I now know what ‘not' to do, a dark truth that turns uglier the latter you discover it. Summer internship is all about experience and how you deal with them. The harder way you learn things, the better it is.  

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