Akshay’s Internship Experience In Marketing At Tata Motors, SJMSOM Mumbai
Summer Internships was to be the time when we would get to translate all our learning from the Management course and the experience, from a score plus few years of life, into actual conventional “work”. Being a fresher, this concept had me ecstatic since the day I got selected for my Summer Internship at Tata Motors. Being a male specimen of our species, I was excited about working in the Personal Vehicle Industry even though I’m not what you would call a typical enthusiast of the field. My myopic vision limited my horizon of expectations and completely blinded me from everything beyond. A fortnight before the start of the internship, I received the project details. The biggest revelation was that I was assigned to the Commercial Vehicle Unit. This rendered all the castles in the clouds, that I’d made, to vanish into the imaginary world that they were in. This got me to my first lesson even before the internship started: “Never let your limited knowledge draw the boundary for your expectations”
On the first day of the internship, we were inducted at the Head Office and then directed to our respective reporting offices. I was assigned to the Sales Head Quarters and was instructed to meet the assigned BHR and my mentor to know the way forward for the project. Once at the SHQ I met my mentor and the other intern assigned to my mentor. We were given our project brief and asked to handpick the project we would work on. Just to give a background, the two projects given to us were overlapping in a lot of regards but still had their own unique points. The culmination was towards the increase in market share of Tata Motors in the Commercial Vehicle Industry. Fortunately, the other intern was of a similar mindset and we decided to merge our projects. I’m very thankful to my mentor for offering us the chance to choose our project initially. Also, he made sure we understood the gravity of our choice and kept true to it.
My project was around the marketing strategy of the organisation and it offered me a chance to work with stakeholders across the broad width of Tata Motors Sales and Marketing. The exposure covered Drivers, Mechanics, Passengers covering the indirect decision makers in the sales process to Fleet owners, Corporates and Institutions as the direct decision makers. This range had their own expectations from the “Product” which were often not related to each other at all. This opportunity gave me great insights on how a product holds different values for different stakeholders and how the judgement criteria for it changes with the interaction level between the product and stakeholders.
A major lesson I learnt from this internship was that the consumer comes above all. If you can make the best of the best product but you can’t convince the customer/consumer of it, it is of no use. In the long run, you need to work with the customer/consumers to incorporate their needs and demands and to ensure they know that their needs and demands are being met. This experience also got me involved with a consulting firm working with Tata Motors at the time on the project that I was assigned to. These interactions with the consulting team reoriented my approach to situations and problems. The analytical thinking and “Don’t beat around the bush” attitude reflected in their work and approach.
The few things that went well for me benchmarking with the internship situations of my peers were crucial in making the internship an amazing learning experience for me. My mentor was an exemplary performer in the organisation and was enthusiastic about having us, interns. He would make sure he interacted with us every day even if it was just a text to check on our progress. We were given the perfect amount of handholding and the chance to make decisions as part of the firm and were also motivated to have confidence on our skills and decisions. The opportunity to work with a consulting firm during the 8 weeks also offered me a new perspective to the whole situation. Moreover, Tata Motors being a very experienced organisation, in terms of both existence and employees, had so much to offer that 8 weeks was too short a time to be able to take away even a fraction of the offerings. I’m very pleased that I got this opportunity and the only ask that I can have is that it could have been extended beyond 8 weeks.
If I am to give two tips to anyone going for their internship (learnt only after completing my own)
1.Don’t limit yourself with your thinking
2.Align yourself with your mentor