“Kindly report to our corporate office on 8th April 2019”, read my offer letter.
8th April, 10 am - I entered the tower named Emami Ltd. and that’s when the 8-week internship journey began. I was welcomed with a wonderful three-day-long induction where I met the heads of several divisions from sales to packaging, got to know Emami brands and most importantly, got a peek into the corporate world.
My project gave me a great opportunity to understand FMCG sales. I was to find the gaps in In-Store Merchandising in Modern Trade, do an in-depth analysis and propose actionable solutions.
Did I mention the opportunity to travel? I travelled across Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune for the project execution.
I can recall my mentor’s words to me before I started the field study in Mumbai; he said and I quote, “Gaps are not really what is noticeable, rather the loopholes lie deep and can only be uncovered by exhaustive observations.” The field visits were certainly a test of my observational skills.
Modern Trade (supermarkets like BigBazaar) is very different from General Trade ( the small retail stores). Moreover, various Modern Trade accounts like D-mart and BigBazaar are also different in the way they operate. But I could draw an analogy from what our marketing professor had taught us in class. We had learned that every retail store shopkeeper has their own way to treat the customer, the same is true for any modern trade account- each has their own way to cater to the customers, a unique proposition. For example, D-mart is known for huge discounts and that is the major attraction for customers.
The internship gave me a platform to appreciate how classroom learnings get projected into reality.
It is rightly said that sales is all about numbers. Although my project was mostly qualitative, supporting my observations with numbers always helped. I improved my people skills through the many interactions I had with store authorities, Emami merchandisers, distributors and distribution centre authorities.
Although each day was arduous, required long working hours, entailed walking or standing throughout and involved the use of public transport (buses, sharing autos, local trains) under the scorching heat, something kept me going. That ‘something’ led me to discover the 2 Ps of life.
The 2 Ps that my internship taught me are Patience and Perseverance; both extremely important to get any expected output. Most importantly, the key learning curve from my eight arduous yet exciting weeks of the internship was, either you run the day or the day runs you.
Class of 2020
Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar