Bagging internship at UltraTech Cement was not an easy task! From group discussion to getting shortlisted for the 1st round and then to 2nd round was a sheer test of one's confidence and knowledge acumen on the overall functioning of a manufacturing company and how it manages to market its product and ensure the sustainability in the competitive environment. As a part of the preparation, I assured I am through with the basics of marketing where the book on marketing by Philip Kotler played a vital role. So it all began in Mumbai, a place where billion comes with dreams of becoming what they want to be. And, so did we! Just like a new, budding manager, we were all set to explore the new world.
The induction program began with the highly inspirational speech of HRs and an explanation of the new leadership program called Ulchemies. We were the pilot batch for summer interns and there is always such a thrill to be the first one in the slot. You get to fearlessly be you so that you discover all boundaries, push it further, you explore your reach, overcome your inhibitions and completely redefine yourself. First, three days were reserved for our interaction with the company’s functional heads, the masterminds behind the epic success of UTCL. They all had so much to give away, to guide us and make us understand that we are all catalysts to change they could envision and we are full of potential but a proper channelling of the energy and mind can make all the difference. It was extremely enriching to see them address us and share their journey, challenges and how they overcame it, epitomizing passion for their work.
The ice-breaking session reduced the barrier of unfamiliarity across all 80 interns from the top B-Schools of India. We had some quality interactions with each other. We were assigned mentors and buddies and the project was allotted to all of us. I was chosen for a marketing project which required understanding the behaviour of end consumers on a particular domain. As the problem statement itself demanded a clear understanding on how to decode the actions of end consumers, I had absolutely no experience on the same. Yes, my very first obstacle during the internship was to get a better hold on the field that I would work in for the next 8 weeks. This is where my college professors and a book on consumer behaviour by Leon G Schiffman and Ramesh Kumar, came to my rescue. I cleared my basics with the help of this book that was the recipe for understanding the behavioural aspects of consumers.
My work revolved on tapping the entire buying journey of consumers. I was assigned a mentor, who happened to be senior vice president of the marketing department. He was extremely knowledgeable as well as a busy person. Seeing his tight schedule, I managed to steal few minutes from his continuous exhaustive meetings but before meeting him I did thorough research on understanding the problem statement, macro environment analysis, understanding the category, solutions available to customers in the market, the competitors and their value proposition. I assured I am well familiar with the UltraTech’s products in the same field. I religiously worked on the key research objectives as I did not want to mess up during those few vital minutes of meeting with my mentor. My mentors advised me to understand the entire ecosystem by visiting a few markets, which worked wonders in building a new layer to information that I had gathered so far. Rather, it gave me a clearer sight of how to approach further.
Then, it began, a real journey of structuring the entire step by step process of conducting qualitative research. From designing the questionnaire and choosing the markets, to meet the right set of people, it took 2.5 weeks of continuous travel to get me to a point where I could see a familiar trend. I kept filtering the data and updating the mentor on the insights. Yes, It was exhausting but at the same time, it was extremely informational. My project helped me in discovering a new side of myself. Being extremely shy to being an interviewer, required a lot of effort that added value to my personality. Loaded with very diverse information, the next big challenge was to filter out the data and make a quality report, which took a couple of days.
Finally, based on the data collected from consumers responses and further analysis, I suggested the recommendations that could help bridge the gap that I identified during the visit. From identifying, some of the future challenges for the company, to the discovery of some potential segments and new markets, I assured every information could be utilized to the company’s benefit. These additional efforts gave me the contentment of pushing myself more to do every bit of justice to the project. It was an amazing experience that tested my people skills, knowledge and dedication towards my work.
Being honest and committed to the work helps one to sail smoothly through the journey of 8 weeks. None of this would have been possible without the support of my mentor and the market research team, who help me shape up this project in a beautiful way. Every time I got stuck somewhere, I resorted to one or other team members, the senior ulchemies, my mentor and they all welcomed my doubts and helped me look at the problem in the better way. The last day was indeed very heavy on me, for I knew I might not be seeing them anymore but I had a gazillion of beautiful memories at the office for which I will forever be thankful to UltraTech on giving me this opportunity to be part of the leadership program.