Do you know what I did this Summer? (Internship at Mahindra & Mahindra)

 “You’ve got to unlearn some things you know before you learn new concepts” was told to me by one of my professors right on the first day of MBA. Last June, I was started college after having worked for almost 4 years in the space of consulting & I had mixed feelings about it. But right from the day I started my MBA, I was excited about interning during the summer. I was opting for marketing (a shift in my career from HR) & this would be my first brush with the wide world of marketing.

I was elated when I got selected by Mahindra & Mahindra from the campus. Six of us from Welingkar, were chosen to be a part of Mahindra E-Marketplace, a new entity of Mahindra & Mahindra which was venturing into the E-commerce space. The confirmatory welcome emails arrived & we were to report to the Kandivali office in Mumbai on the 4th of May. I was a little worried about my daily commute from South Bombay to Kandivali but as someone has said, “No pains, no gains”, I accepted that part & looked forward to my internship with Mahindra.

The D-Day arrived & all six of us reached the brand new office in Kandivali at sharp 9:30am. The first day was well planned for us. After some introductory presentations on the Mahindra Group & the organizational structure, we were excited as our projects would be allocated to us. as the E-marketplace would be called, was to have a startup culture, a little different from the corporate culture in other divisions of the conglomerate. We were given freedom in choosing our own projects from the six options before us. I chose the “Fruits & Vegetables” business of Mahindra under the Agribusiness division. The brand, “Saboro” which currently caters to the B2B market was to be my research area. We were made to feel very comfortable & the open work culture was something I personally loved. The entire M2All team comprises around 10 members & we were to work with one mentor.

In the first week, we got our laptops, ID cards & other requirements to facilitate our journey into the company. And within a few days, after the initial pangs of nervous excitement & anxiety, each of us were deeply engrossed in the project. I started off with secondary research. Primary research was soon to follow & I was to go & interact with consumers in various areas of Mumbai. Apart from the research part, my role was also to assist in the pilot launch of the new brand, Saboro which was to be launched online for the first time. I was quite upbeat about being a part of a new brand launch. Discussions with the business, stakeholders & agencies began.

Days flew by amidst meetings, presentations & interviews. I felt important to be a part of proposal meetings & discussions on the business ideas. It’s admirable that I was given such a huge opportunity where my inputs were considered so significant & would be directly impacting the decision making by the leaders. I applied most of the concepts learned during the marketing classes such as those of new brand positioning, identifying the target market & developing the marketing mix.

Apart from the work, one thing I loved about Mahindra was the huge canteen! With its variety of juices, smoothies, low calorie meals & lip-smacking snacks, it was something I looked forward to everyday. The healthy juices kept me refreshed in the burning summer humid heat of Mumbai. The local train journeys were a different thing altogether! Hanging on to the bars, with a heavy backpack, getting squished by the deluge of bodies going on & off the trains, prepared me maybe for life. I would transform into Xena, the warrior princess as soon as I got on a local.

The e-store, was to be launched for some of the Mahindra brands internally for the employees towards the end of June & preparations started off in full swing. Mahindra Towers was to be the venue & some CXOs & business heads were to be present for the grand launch. The launch was a huge success & there was a buzz all around about the new digital space Mahindra was entering into.

During our last week at M2All , we presented our findings & final recommendations to the Head of the E-Commerce initiative along with our Dean of Welingkar E-Biz, both of whom appreciated my efforts & insights.

My Top Learnings were:

  • Ensure that you support your ideas and thoughts with data & statistics
  • If you are confident about what your solutions, do not hesitate to brainstorm with the leaders.
  • Enjoy the work! Cause only then can you give your best.
  • And last & practically the most important, Excel & PowerPoint will be saviors in the corporate world.

Soon, it was back to classes, books & assignments but this time with some rich experience & exposure to the business of working with an important conglomerate- the Mahindras.

-By Madhavi Katre (Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research)

(After having graduated from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi, worked for 4 years with Great Place to Work® India in the areas of management consulting & organization development. Passionate blogger, nature lover & a voracious reader)