An Experience Is A Photograph That Leaves A Brand Forever – Shalina Bebarta’s Internship Experience At L’Oreal – XIMB
To someone with no hands-on corporate experience, bagging an internship at L’Oreal was a new high. I took up the dare, brimming with confidence and excitement, ready to take on the professional world. Even though I was silently praying that I land up with a marketing project (Brands and L’Oreal = dream come true!), fate had something “special” in store. I got a sales charter but yes, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
Summer’2017: On April 3rd, I entered the Indian headquarters of the most celebrated cosmetic company of the world, feeling totally “Worth It!”. I got the opportunity to interact with 32 other interns with diverse sets of skills and intellect, coming from reputed B-schools in different quarters of the country, all with a common urge to fit into the company of their dreams. The four days of induction which started with a bag full of goodies, was replete with sessions with important personalities heading different divisions of L’Oreal, special training sessions on how to approach sales and marketing and above all, an out and out discussion on the L’Oreal culture, which is all about setting ridiculous goals and achieving them but never doing it alone. Hence, we were continuously encouraged to reach out to everyone in the organisation, no matter how high their rank in the hierarchy. The most interesting part of the induction programme was the R&I centre and a factory visit. Watching how your favourite kohl and lip colours are developed while getting soaked in the aroma of the shampoos, conditioners and what not being prepared all around- that instantly became a picture taken straight out of fantasies.
The end of the orientation marked the beginning of the most demanding and exciting phase for me. My project objective was to examine the impact of an assortment that had been implemented in a distributor channel in Kolhapur. The project required me to assess the impact across a number of towns in and around Pune and Kolhapur spanning a total of 400kms. Depending on my feedback on the success of the assortment, it would be scaled up to other cities throughout India. I was in constant touch with my mentor who kept reminding me how important the project is to the company. He introduced me to the key people, whose help I would require during the project tenure and also made sure that all my ideas and approaches reached important people in the organisation.
I travelled across 32 towns (15 of which were located in the Western Ghats) to meet distributors and retailers and understand their functioning, collect data, identify demand gaps, analyse competitor positioning and find loose ends if any. Even though the project was as testing as it could be, I carry with me a bag full of memories of some of the most helpful people I met on the field and of the beautiful places in Maharashtra that I never knew existed and above all, I cherish the new found confidence and strength in me that I wouldn’t have gained otherwise. Also, I can write a book on Maharashtra tourism now!
Overall, L’Oreal has given me a horde of different experiences, alternating feelings of dejection and delight and some of the best people to work with (and yes, caffeine addiction too!). The mock makeup sessions with the best makeup artists, product launches of new brands, photo shoots and the amazing farewell party were an icing on the cake. Finally, as they said we were not just interns trying to help but a part of the organisation driving change.
MBA- BM (2016-2018)