Ekta Gautam Dharamshi is currently pursuing her second year of MBA at IIM Indore. She interned with HUL in an IT Role and she has a PPO for the same. Here is a brief article about her internship experience along with a few tips which she would like to share with the upcoming batches of interns.
What was the selection process followed by HUL IT for summer placements?
We had to fill out an application and submit our resumes, along with our domain preferences. Shortlisted candidates were called for a group discussion, followed by a couple of interviews.
What kind of projects were offered?
In Unilever, IT partners the business. So IT projects are offered for various business areas, such as Customer Development (Sales), Marketing, Supply Chain Management, and Finance. Some projects were related to the applications of cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning, automation, analytics and Internet of Things to the existing infra or in newer capabilities. Some were also about business intelligence and the emerging e-commerce sector.
What kind of support did you receive from the senior leadership?
The induction and the closing programs involved a set of talks with many senior leaders, who are mostly brand/category heads in HUL. The interns got a chance to interact with them, ask them about the work they do, and even ask them about their experience when they were in our place.
In addition, each intern is assigned a mentor, who is a director in Unilever IT. Mid-reviews and final reviews typically happen with them, in addition to the line director and tutor. I received incredible ideas, support and feedback from the directors I interacted with, and went on to incorporate a few into my project. It is amazing how they can take some time off their busy schedules so that we interns can pick their brains.
How easy or difficult was it for you to acclimatize to the work environment and how did you go about it?
I usually take a little while to open up in an environment with new people, but the support I received from my tutor and team was amazing. All I had to do was ask, and I would always be given guidance, in terms of what I could do next, whom I could contact for any specifics, what ideas I could go ahead with, etc. In addition to my project, I had KT (knowledge transfer) sessions with all the managers on my floor because I wanted to understand how the various units interact and correlate, and each function’s corresponding technological capabilities. The sheer scale and complexity of the infrastructure were mind-blowing, and I learned something new each day. Connecting with people to try and understand the various details of my project, and of the business overall, helped me get used to the new environment
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome it?
I faced the challenge of working on an existing project that had a few roadblocks because of processes not under my team’s control. Hence, I was afraid that two months would be too short a time period to obtain any tangible outcomes. However, I ensured to have multiple status update meetings with my tutor to ensure that he would always be in the loop about my progress on the project. In addition, I communicated with all the stakeholders and vendors involved in the project to understand the reasons for the roadblock, broke it down into smaller issues, and later overcame some of them to be able to deliver the tangible outcomes I wanted to.
Any tips you would like to give regarding an internship with HUL?
The internship is an opportunity to understand how businesses work, and interacting with the people who make it run, is key. Regular catch-ups with the tutor, buddy and mentor are of prime importance. Curiosity and eagerness to learn are valuable too.
We wish Ekta all the very best for her future endeavors!