How NuSocia Helped Find A New Me – Arunish Paul – XSRM
“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”- Zig Ziglar
Summers usually means a period of relaxation, sleep and general entropy into binge eating and watching Netflix with heedless impetuosity. However not for a half- MBA like me, who just finished a sleep deprived year and whose existence is utterly caffeine dependent. I was excited to get into NuSocia, a new firm having swashbuckling entrepreneurs with years of industrial experience in Fortune 500 companies. Being a maverick myself, such a flat organisation suited my style of working and thinking.
I was fortunate to stay in a guesthouse in Rishikul, Haridwar. Being in the holiest city of India was an experience in itself with the typical setting and cavalcade of Sadhus, Hindu temples and ‘holy cows’. I understood what it felt being in the centre of Ram- Rajya; even the food available is fully vegetarian and having anything non-vegetarian is a punishable offence. It was a challenge unto itself being a fish eating Bengali. However, I took everything in my stride since I have come here to learn and make the best use of my 60 days.
My internship with NuSocia had been nothing short of phenomenal. It is a strategic consulting firm and I had two major projects. One of the projects was to set the ball rolling for the Uttarakhand Ayurved University (UAU) Health Project which was at its nascent stage. NuSocia is working as a strategic consultant cum facilitator to the Uttarakhand Ayurved University (UAU) Health Project. In this project 19 AYUSH medical colleges are involved where each college would adopt 5 villages each to increase the health awareness level of the community, optimally utilise their natural resources and help to improve the quality of life. I was involved in the baseline tool creation, focused group discussion tool creation, key informant interview tool creation, content creation for the website, meeting Nodal officers who were the faculty of the college and conducting a workshop on how to deploy the tool. Other tasks included documentation i.e. making a presentation slide deck out of WHO guidelines on Healthy villages and of Uttarakhand Rural Development Schemes.
This particular part of my SIP helped me to come out of my comfort zone since it involved conducting workshops in front of the Vice-Chancellor and principals of the various colleges regarding the functioning of the Base tool. Also, it gave me an overview of the functioning of State-run institutions in implementing such a massive programme. The exposure also gave me a clear understanding of the national rural development programs that can be leveraged to suit the particular requirements of the state. Interdisciplinary learning was immense because I could gather inputs from seasoned professionals in the medical field. By aiding in the creation of the various tools, it helped me to better my qualitative research abilities.
The second phase of my internship was as daunting and exciting as it could be. It involved executing a proprietary Need Assessment Tool created by NuSocia on as many Medium and Small Enterprises (MSME’s) as was possible. This tool had already been administered in Pune successfully. My primary task involved primary research and gather information regarding the challenges of the SME’s and how they are overcoming them. It involved understanding whether they knew about CSR and what areas of CSR activities do they indulge in. Relevant information regarding employee welfare related with CSR, Community engagement practices and awareness of competition CSR was gauged from their responses which would be analysed in a qualitative report by the organisation in the near future.
The data collection challenged me on many fronts since I did not know anybody and the industrial sector was alien to me. From my research and analysis, I understood that there were few Industrial belts- SIDCUL (State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation) Industrial belt, Bhagwanpur Industrial belt, Roorkee Industrial belt, Begumpur Industrial belt, Pantnagar Industrial belt and Dehradoon Industrial belt. After the mandatory hit and trial method of weighing the pros and cons of distance, logistics of travelling and types of industries, I finally zeroed in SIDCUL belt of Haridwar.
The best part of the journey was that I got to understand the ground realities and how the owners /MDs of these MSME’s think. The challenging part was to get their appointments for an interview especially since it related to the cost centre of their business- CSR activity. I could empathize with them since some of the industries struggled for growth in a highly competitive market. Others were new entrants such as a solar power company whose main motto was to generate awareness within the community so they could buy their solar products. For them, somehow CSR was a term alien to them and the strategic part of it had to be told in their language that in the end ultimately it would lead to their own profit or “munafa”.
The learning curve of my experience in SIDCUL belt was that I developed a thick skin towards rejections. Earlier I had to go from pillar to post requesting the security guards to meet their managers for a 10-15 minute of discussion. Their replies varied from “no thanks sir” to NSFW verbal assault. I quickly realised that such an approach would not work in the long run. I empathised with salesmen who went from door to door trying to sell their wares and facing multiple rejections along the way. The next step was searching for numbers. I became quite an expert in tele-calling. I had to call up people to take up appointments. Certain numbers worked, others did not. Either way, it helped me to develop my communication skills and took me out of my comfort zone. Also, Google maps became my man Friday in identifying the industries as they were far flung from each other.
Knowing now what I went through, it is prudent to say in retrospect that these two projects would not have been fruitful without the able mentorship, motivation and guidance provided by the co-founders of the company. Their constant support was all that I needed to survive in this merciless weather and heat of 45-47 degree Celsius and facing power cuts half of the day and the manifold rejections of the industries. They really helped me to strategize my way through the obstacles and made me a better professional at the end of it.
As I look back on my summer internship experience, I am glad, I did not fritter away my time fiddling with my mobile phone all day. It is precisely at this age that a young millennial asks himself certain uncomfortable questions which usually shape and strengthen their future. Questions like- Who am I? What do I aspire to become? Whom do I want to emulate? What can I contribute?, are not easy to ask oneself since it requires a tremendous amount of self – introspection and time which is unavailable for someone trapped inside the Indian education system which focuses on rote learning and theories dating back decades. I had my own self-reflective episodes where I mused where my passions laid and what can I do with it. For a dreamer and a literary enthusiast like me, I believe in the beauty of my dreams and doing something good for the world. I approached my internship not as a requirement to get my MBA degree but as an opportunity for me to realise my strengths and channelise that to benefit the organisation.
As I reminiscence my experience in a moment of deep contemplation I see my NuSocia business card on the table. I ponder on a quote etched on it by Martin Luther King “The time is always right to do what is right”. Now, this timely quote really serves me as a clarion call for my future endeavours, to not only do what is right but to be graceful and wise while accomplishing it. It’s never too late to fix a wrong and we can always do what is right no matter what age we are and where we are from and make the world a better place. I realise that unbridled energy without direction is a recipe for failure and the future waits for no one. In the age of globalisation and interconnectivity, there has never been a better time to dive right in and figure out the path for yourself. I would always be grateful to NuSocia for giving me that opportunity to figure out things for myself, identify my true potential and prepare me for the challenges that lay ahead in the real world. As I think about it NuSocia with its motto “Impact Evident” has really impacted my personality positively and evidently in ways I could never imagine myself. NuSocia has helped to find a new me.
About the Author:
XSRM (formerly XIMB-RM)