From Admiration To Dislike To Absolute Fondness – Eight Weeks As A Summer Intern At Flipkart

Have you faced a situation where your entire experience has been so enthralling with so many elements that you wonder if describing it in words would do justice to it? It may sound paradoxical, but well, I do feel this story deserves its share of the spotlight. This is a tale of surprise, confusion, doubts and will-power that will cover my Flinternship journey – from admiration, to dislike, to absolute fondness!

I clearly remember the day Flipkart came to our campus for Summer Internship selection. The swiftness in conduction of the entire process and the fact that the result was announced hardly after 3-4 hours of the interview round did give me a glimpse of how fast-paced E-commerce business is. But it is important to mention that this pace doesn’t deter them from taking care of little details – right from to and fro travel and accommodation to little things like a pre-joining connect session to answer our queries, sharing useful facts about Bangalore, collating data from previous interns regarding accommodation option to help us, etc. Digital forms a core part of e-commerce and this was reflected since the beginning, be it selection round over VC or connect session over Hangouts or documentation process over DocuSign.

The first day at the campus was nothing short of a surprise! With fun activities, ice breakers, leadership sessions, and the beautiful campus to explore, it didn’t seem what a typical corporate environment would look. Add to it the hustle and bustle of people moving around excitedly and the sheer young age of the workforce in casual clothing; you are awed at how elements of startup culture still prevail in this Unicorn company.

I was assigned my mentor and had to meet her in a different building. Bridging the gap (all three buildings are interconnected via bridges!), I went on to meet her and got introduced there to another mentor (of a co-Flintern) from the same team. Thus, began the collaborative journey of four of us, which defined my next eight weeks.

With previous work experience from a well-structured process driven organization, the dynamic culture at Flipkart first swept me away, before bringing me in rhythm with itself. I was confused about how to move ahead with my project as a proactive or reactive approach. How and whom to meet when everyone was so busy with hardly any spare time? How to utilize the mentor’s time in the best possible way and come up with ideas addressing the entire Employee Life Cycle journey without any previous HR or significant corporate experience? These worries caught me in a swirl, and I started struggling to get out of it.

While ideas were many, the biggest challenge was to evaluate their fit as per requirement. The effort vs time required for implementation, feasibility, response expected as per the culture and add to it the different team sizes, nature of work, the inception of that category, leadership and other factors all combined to make it even tougher to come up with ideas. Not to forget designing a model for a place which already tops the list of ‘Great Places to Work’ is bound to set a high ground even to start with. Multiple rejections started to create clouds of self-doubt, and with no significant breakthrough in the project for weeks, it seemed like a lost battle.

I strongly believe that sometimes in tough times, all one needs is someone to listen to them, and though the problem might not get resolved, it does start to feel less daunting. In most cases, I have been that someone who listened but this time I spoke and spoke with all my heart out. I spoke about my fears, my struggles, my doubts and about how I have started disliking because no matter the efforts put in to be a cultural fit in the organization it had started seeming the frequency wasn’t meant to match. I wanted to do well in the internship, but I had reached a point where I had become vulnerable, no more able to contain the struggles within.

That day turned out to be the turning point in my internship journey. I went back to my room, settled down, freshened up, and had dinner. A very different sense of calmness prevailed my mind that day. I felt focused, clearer, and much more determined. I reviewed my project step by step, the work done till now and what my objective was. Ideas started trickling in drop by drop, and now I had a clear picture in front of me on how I had to proceed and make use of the time remaining in my hands.

The next few weeks were a journey to appreciate, learn, involve, and be happy with the environment around. I was back to that positive, cheerful, creative, and curious I and it was so evident that it didn’t go unnoticed by the team. The rest of the journey continued with high enthusiasm, admiration, and absolute fondness. My project got completed with high praise from my mentor, and I also got to learn and be a part of several other things that were outside the scope of my project.

With enormous learning and great friends, I take along two most important people without whom this journey might have remained in the pit it had sunken to, my project mentor and my life lessons mentor. Be it technical field related gyaan sessions or corporate life-related tips, the memories with these two ladies are one of the most cherished takeaways from this internship journey!

Apurva Agrawal

MBA HR student at IIM Ranchi