Ayushi Gupta’s Internship Experience At Hay Group

Nothing is set in stone. Every effort of yours to make a mark will someday create a crack.

Like many aspiring candidates during placements, I too had a dream – to work in consulting. Luckily for me, my dream turned into reality and I was set to intern with one of the best HR consulting firms in the world – Korn Ferry Hay Group.

April came, and so did a start to my internship. The night before the first day to the office, with all the interns sitting in one room, getting to know each other, I realised that this was an exceptional bunch of people with whom I was to share an exhilarating internship experience. I was happy, and there was a lot of positivity in my heart.

Motivated to the core with a vision to exceed the expected, I started off the first day. Allotment of projects was done, mentors were assigned, and I left the office with overflowing enthusiasm to come back the next day and kick start the project. My project was to write a White Paper on the Future of Jobs/ Skills in the Indian Automotive Industry in light of the changing trends. I was sceptical as I had no idea how to write a white paper, and was also unaware about the auto industry in particular. But I had high hopes, and Google and YouTube became my best friends.

A week into the project, there was just one thought echoing in my mind, “What am I doing exactly?

There was data overload which I was unable to make sense of. Every day a new piece of information came up on the internet which made all my interpretations before that meaningless. I even tried a mind-map approach, but it too failed me. Then I realised – you cannot figure out everything from the start! Since we live in a VUCA world, we are bound to feel its presence at work. We just have to accept it and improvise.

Time passed, I started to get a hold of my work, and finally made the first draft of the white paper. I was satisfied by the fact that at least I have put together my thoughts in writing. During that time, the mid-term review came. Point to remember – even though critical feedback may dampen your spirits, it should be taken as a valuable lesson. There is always someone who knows more than you, and there is no harm in listening to that someone.

The review went something like this – “You have been a great intern. I love how your mind works, how you have researched so much in such little time, and how you went the long way and have talked to people outside to gather more insights. But I feel that there are two major areas of development. First, give more structure to your work. And second, maintain consistency in what you write.”

This was the first review of my life. I didn’t negate any of the suggested improvements as I myself accepted them. But still, in my head, I was trying to justify my stance – a) the scope of my work changed every week, and b) there were weeks at the end going by without any communication or feedback. Lesson to be learned – do not expect to be handheld in the corporate world. You will have to find means of extracting information, and you will have to ensure that the necessary guidance/ feedback is imparted. Everyone is busy, so time needs to be made, by YOU.

Slowly, I came to terms with reality. With a feeling of doing something great (the type of passion when I listen to songs like Aashayein), I started again and tried to bring more structure to the white paper. Important – never underestimate yourself. The boundaries set by us are the ones which restrict our minds; nothing else does.

In the second last week, I completed the final draft, which thanks to my mentors, was circulated amongst the entire top management and consultants team. It was one of those WOW moments! My mailbox was flooded with appreciation as well as feedback points. Everyone was interested in what I had done and wanted to help me improve my research. That was the day when the company culture shined upon me with all its glory!

With the new inputs, I improved my research and made the final corrections. Motivated by the overwhelming acknowledgement, I put all my heart into the final presentation – planning every slide and every small piece of information. While presenting, I was confident as I knew the project inside out. The Q&A went well, and all those present appreciated the work done.

All in all, internships are a way to test the waters before jumping in with both feet. Learn all you can in the two months, use every trick in the book, and most importantly, be yourself. You will be good to go.

Ayushi Gupta

Ayushi Gupta XLRI Jamshedpur HRM Student 2016-18