Think Beyond PPOs, There is a lot to learn..!!!

by Vijay Khandekar on Friday 10 August 2012, 11:03 PM | Category: Summer Internship Contest| View: 2860 views

 Summer internship program is something which gives a trainee a chance to implement what all he or she has learned in various faculties. At the same time, it turns out to be a window to the world in which one has to enter into after completing his/her course. It provides the glimpse of a world that is totally different and challenging than one thinks while entering into it. When it comes to the internship of an MBA program, regardless of the fact that one has prior industry experience, it is always so fascinating that it creates goose bumps to one and for a fresher it has always been a great opportunities to see, learn and get adapt to a totally new world where he or she has to land finally. As it is very aptly said, “Learning new concepts and models in lectures and finding them relevant and implementing them in real world situations is totally a different ball game”.  

Ever imagined a 22 year old fresher being a part of a leading consulting firm that too in “Performance Improvement division of Business Advisory Services”, a division which is considered to be a forte of experienced ones. That lucky boy was me. I got an opportunity to do my summer internship in "ERNST & YOUNG" and was placed in Bangalore, the best location I wished for.

April 2, 2012- my first day in office and with this, my entry in corporate world. A group of 6 well-dressed students from different b-schools was waiting in conference room for the HR representative to address them. Within 10 minutes, a HR representative was there to explain code of conduct of the organization and to take us through the journey of the organization. For first two days, we had an induction program which was designed to inform us about the various divisions in which the firm operates as well as to let us know about the availability of back-end support and ways to access them.

The very next day we were interviewed by one of the senior managers and then after we were assigned projects. The project given to me was to analyze Indian consumer goods industry and to figure out possible consulting opportunities. I had to cover and thoroughly study 4 major players from each segment (viz. FMCG, Consumer durable and Textile). My project mentor explained at length what she expects from me out of this project and as per her expectation the areas she wanted me to focus more were Modern Retail and Sales and Distribution Channels. My mentor was very supportive and encouraging but the ease between me and her was not there for first two weeks. But soon I realized that this way I am limiting my learning opportunities.

From 4th week, the practical part of my project what people call Surveys and market visits started to collect the data and to get the insights about the perception of retailers and end-consumers about modern retail and what retailers think about the sales and distribution channels and services offered by the leading brands. With this, the bitter part or one could say reality of “How the world treats you” is something what I experienced. Being an IIM grad always gives you an edge in interacting with people in corporate arena but on the flip side of coin, people serving at the back-end and who work in field, had something much unexpected to offer me. You being an IIM Grad or belong to some esteemed institute does not even matter to them. They discount this Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of yours, upon which you boast, like anything. Such situations, which are usually two-tailed, could be the game decider. How you act in such situation shows the toughness of your character and characteristics like perseverance comes into play here. The source of motivation for me in that situation were the words of Franklin D Roosevelt which he spelled in his inaugural Presidential Speech on March 4, 1933, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” When one sees rationales behind those fears and one able to perceive the difference between conventional wisdom of living your life and what goes well in 99% of cases and the Alchemist-kind of contemporary wisdom which asks one to explore, think and reason out the purpose behind a task and what may work in one`s case.

As my main focus was on studying Modern retail, due to that I got an opportunity to work on an another project in addition to the my main project. This was a kind of live project related to one of the leading kitchenware brand of the country. This additional project gave me a chance of working with top positioned people of firm in a dedicated team. In parallel, I was working on my main project too. That situation had taught me the importance of multitasking with assigning priorities to the task depending upon the situation you are working in. By the end of 7th week, I had completed my main project of internship and then after, was totally working on the live project. In the final week, I completed my project report and prepared a special report for the live project which was going to use in the main presentation to be delivered to the executives of that kitchenware company. At end, appreciation from my mentor for   performing well up and up-to her expectations with all the learning I got there, were the fruits and outcomes for me from my internship period.

My advice for all the summer interns is that summer internship period is that best opportunity to learn. Our Skills, time and sincere efforts are all that we can contribute and when you contribute it should be like these have fallen through your back pocket, without you being aware of it. One should not treat it just as a roadway to achieve PPO because one might lose the real fun and learning it can offer to you. Work to the best of your capacity; learn communication forms which are backbone of every business, try and explore as much as you can and who knows a PPO might come your way.


Vijay Khandekar

PGDM 2011-13

Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak

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