3 Dialogues, 2 Months, 1 Internship - The Godrej Way
Disclaimer: This blog is not about the internship project, or about the internship company. It’s about the intern: three dialogues he heard from people he met, the inner talk his monkey-mind had soon after, and the learnings he picked up eventually.
Dialogue #1: “We seem to have over-hired recently; not too many seats for new people!”
Dictionary Definition of HR Manager:
An individual within an organisation responsible for hiring new employees, and general overseeing of the personnel department.
Aug 22, 2017: Day 1 of the internship.
I wrote in my personal Goal Sheet: “Land the job. What next? I don’t know.”
Day 1 saw me getting dazzled by the oh-so-cool office campus of Godrej in Vikhroli, which they proudly call ‘Godrej One’. Minimalistic design, chic interiors, hip furniture, swanky corridors & plush cabins. 15 minutes on each floor of the office with a cup of coffee, and you realise that Godrej is not the Godrej your parents and grandparents grew up with. Far & beyond the world of just locks-and-cupboards, they have extended their arms into anything and everything - from soaps to detergents, properties to chemicals, from B-Blunt hair care products to Natures Basket gourmet food retail!
Day 2 was all about meeting people. Morning breakfast with other MBA interns at the company, afternoon lunch with my project guides, followed by an evening drink with the HR team at Vikroli Social. There were graceful-looking bites of tough-to-eat non-veg snacks, carefully controlled sips of alcoholic drinks and never-ending small talk. In sugar-coated words, I slipped into the conversation the main query an enthusiastic (read ‘Jazbaati’) intern has - the hiring situation. It is then that I got hints that the firm might not be having resource requirements for the moment. My monkey-mind sprung into a never-ending dialogue. “What if I don’t get the job at all. What’s the point? What if this, what if that…long silence…… Final thought - Be it a season of hiring spree or hiring freeze, I will just give my best shot at the project, try to learn new stuff & see where the road turns.”
Day 3 kick-started with a renewed focus on the ‘project’ and saw me learn marketing concepts which were few but new! The sense of inner professional growth through two months did the trick.
Learning: Sometimes, when you see the opportunity as less of ‘earning’, suddenly it becomes more of ‘learning’.
(Oh, and BTW, Godrejites know how to dress fashionable, yet professional. “Wear anything but shorts” is what was told to me.)
Dialogue #2: “I want you to work 24 hrs a day now!”
Dictionary Definition of Top Management: Highest ranking executives who set goals for the company that affect everyone in the organisation.
Yes. At least that’s what the marketing head of the company told me after my mid-review. In a 55 day internship, we were sitting on Day 35. Though things up till now were positive, a lot needed to be done in the remaining bracket of time. The HR team had some sort of a concern on their faces as to how will this kid do so much in so little time.
Till now the story had been about Primary Research (interviewing customers and getting to understand them on a deeper level) and Secondary Research (Googling research papers & studying industry reports) - something that I had dabbled with a couple of times in my Year 1 of MBA. But now this new elephant in the room called ‘Strategy Design’ haunted me.
My monkey mind started sounding alarms: “It’s not about executing anymore, it’s about defining the future direction of the company. It’s not about doing what is told to do, it’s about deciding what to do next. I am NOT going to work 24 hrs a day in a literal sense. Yes, I don’t know what is the strategy, but I have 20 days and 20 nights and hopefully 20 people I can reach out to. Let’s do this!”
I started out by making a laundry-list of all resources I had at that point in my life:
My books, my professors, my MBA peers, my industry contacts… and Dr.Google. By clearly defined deadlines & deliverables for myself, I ensured that I am headed in the right direction, and by constantly sharing my thoughts with the guides on an ongoing basis, I ensured that I was getting the right understanding of strategy as a subject.
- When someone asks you to work 24 hrs a day, sometimes he means quality, not quantity.
- Whenever in doubt, ask for help. It helps!
Dialogue #3: “I’m not gonna tell you what to do. You tell me what to do!”
Dictionary definition of ‘Guide’: One who shows the way by leading, directing, or advising.
My project guides personified the definition rather aptly. So much so that even when I was desperate to get a ‘quick solution’, they said to me, “I’m not gonna give you the solution. I want to know what’s your point of view on this situation.” They wanted me to hunt for possible solutions on my own, exercise my brain muscles, and share with them ‘my’ point of view like a boss (…I mean like a manager). The confidence that I could do this myself and the faith that should I feel lost, they are there to gently nudge me in the right direction meant a lot.
Monkey-mind time for the next few days: Learning-unlearning-relearning; thinking-rethinking. Crafting a fresh idea, copying an existing idea, dropping all ideas…pheww.
Finally, put all things together in my mind, then on paper, then on a PPT. Time-crunched as they always are, the top management gave me 20 mins to show what I had been doing on that table of theirs for the past 2 months. Skipping all the conversations that happened in the room & coming to the point- I got the green signal. The mobile strategy project seemed to have added value. From products to people to projects, it was one hell of a ride!
Learning: Sometimes you don’t get what you want; you get what you need.
Nov 1, 2017: Personal Goal Sheet be like - “Landed the job! What next? I don’t know.”
About the Author:
Karan Rana (PGDM 2016-18, Marketing)