Internships are hard work. And doing only what’s expected of you isn’t enough to be noticed. You need to go above and beyond, from arriving on time to doing exemplary work, and make the most of your time in the organization.
Sharing with you all snippets from my candid conversation with Shibani Mishra, Business Management Batch of 2018-20, XIMB to discuss how she got the opportunity to work with one of the up-and-coming mobile brands in India - Xiaomi and her experience as an Intern.
1. What was the selection process followed by Xiaomi for summer placements?
Xiaomi had one of the most creative processes that the campus witnessed this year. They started off with two GD rounds and then instead of having a personal interview; they had a presentation round. Now the presentation round was not limited to a formal procedure of making a ppt or let’s say Prezi and presenting it before them (as there was limited time available for preparation on the assigned topic) rather it was more into showing off your creative stint by using the blackboard or the laptop screen or your notebook or simply speaking on it before the panel.
Even after our presentation round; the panel went for another round of GD (although it wasn’t a proper one) which was again more of speaking for few seconds on the sub-topics assigned to everyone sitting over there itself.
2. What kind of projects were offered?
The projects that were offered were mainly from marketing and sales domain. People got into retail marketing (region-specific), PR and Social media, Offline Sales, Aftersales, new product launches, market outlays & analytics, customer relations, etc.
Mine was specifically in After Sales department concerned in dealing with an entire bunch of engineers that trained people who catered to the after-sales services offered by Xiaomi. In addition to that, I was assigned to monitor the pilot phase execution and development of the Biometric device.
These engineers (trainers) were functioning pan India; and I had to track their daily attendance, their performance based on the training areas they covered up, region-specific modules coverage, etc.
Moreover, I got the additional opportunity to work along with the content team in content curation of new launches by Xiaomi India stipulated to be released in that month itself.
3. What kind of support did you receive from the senior leadership?
The senior leadership at Xiaomi were quite approachable and resourceful in terms of any issues or queries regarding the project. Even though they weren’t available physically they used to stay connected and involved 24*7 in the project that was being assigned.
Initially, it was definitely an ordeal to bond and establish a trust factor among teams and departments as my work involved cross-functional departments; but I think once they gauged the responsible attitude and enthusiasm for the project, they were more than ready to help at each stage to further the developments.
4. How easy or difficult was it for you to acclimatize to the work environment and how did you go about it?
Xiaomi has a very flexible work environment with much of an open-door policy for all of its employees. Unlike the typical ‘corporate strict-regime’, this company was more sort of concerned towards efficiency, creative problem-solving attitude, innovation, and open communication.
Since this was my first-hand corporate experience all the myths that I had built up in my mind regarding a typical nine to six corporate job with suited attire was busted. There was a fixed office hour but flexibility allowed employees to work extra or fewer hours depending on their work. Xiaomi offices are perhaps the most employee-oriented with the colourful jovial environment I have ever seen. But, yes all things good comes up with more diligence and effort; flexibility ensures efficiency which means you always have to be proactive in your methodologies; similarly a jovial colourful environment means it houses a lot of creative people and hence you have to be at-least unique if not ‘out of the box’ in your style and ideas.
To cater to all these, I started off by approaching people who were directly or indirectly related to my project; as the company expected insights and recommendations for the project concerned from my end. I had to build up a sense of belongingness among the people involved and most importantly within myself(rather than taking it lightly as a two-month assignment); so that I get to know the nuances and work upon it as fast as I could and make people work for it as well.
5. What challenges did you face and how did you overcome it?
The major thing was difficulty in understanding the intricacies of the company’s approach towards their employees, the effort vs the time needed for implementation., team sizes, response expected as per the culture, feasibility and many other factors to ideate and even tougher to help design a model. I was based out of Gurgaon office, while the project was concerned pan India and I had to monitor people around by just singling out samples in Northern region itself. And for all such discrepancies arising due to language, region issue I had to communicate extensively. It was as if I had to be available 24*7 to act as a mediator even for a minor link failure or as simple as attendance issue for the day. There would be days, when this department would not be prioritizing that department’s stuff because of other pending jobs and I had to be patient enough to convince, get convinced in return and at times being resilient in my approach to somehow get my work done as soon as possible.
6. Any tips you would like to give regarding an internship with Xiaomi?
Xiaomi is a very healthy space to learn and unlearn some practices of the corporate world and market space. To start of and most importantly sustain in the company one has to be open to newer ideas, be selective in the approach from the broad sea of available ideas, be communicative and most importantly be ready to put in quality in efforts always. At times, you might feel that you are stuck in the middle of this huge project but then you have to be resilient and find your own niche to establish your own identity in it and make it a success.