It was 3 pm. I refreshed my corporate mailbox. There was a mail from the HR with the subject- “End review schedule for finance interns-28th May”. “Whaaat!!” I exclaimed, realizing I was a little too loud for the intern room where other interns were either typing something frantically on their laptops or were loosened up in their bean bags at some corner, trying to catch up on an afternoon nap. “But that is just 2 days away!” I said in a hushed voice this time to Aayushi who was sitting right next to me. The mail had struck my realization chord in two ways. Firstly, I had only 2 days to complete my half-finished project and presentation. And secondly, it meant that the remarkable journey of two months was finally coming to an end. All I knew was how badly I was going to miss it all.
It seemed only yesterday that the 45 minute journey to my first day at office of what one would call the most delicious company ever- Mondelēz India Foods Ltd. had started. I was standing on the doorway of the women’s compartment of the local train, watching the Mumbai high rises speed past, so lost in my own musings of the coming two months that I had almost missed the announcement above - “The next station is Mahalaxmi, pudhel station Mahalaxmi.” I jumped off the train, fought my way through the morning crowd on the station and then hopped into a cab across the street-“Cadbury house, bhaiya”, I said, as he turned on the meter. The cab dropped me in front of the iconic white building- the world of all our Dairy Milks, Oreos and Five Stars.
As I entered the office, I met a bunch of 50 others, all as frightened, nervous and excited as I was. We were led into a small and cosy room in the basement what later on became our den for the next 2 months. A session by the HR welcoming us was followed by a few more similar sessions over the course of the next one week where we got to know our company better. That one week was enough to make me fall head over heels for the company and its people.
With the onset of the second week, we were given our projects. Mine was a particularly challenging one as it involved an end-to-end value stream mapping of one of the brands as well as an in-depth study of the segment and competition. My excitement level shot up. I was all set to apply Porter’s 5 forces in an actual business context. Over the next few weeks I saw all my first year lectures miraculously transform themselves into real life scenarios. I went on market visits to all four corners of the country, studied annual reports and balance sheets, analyzed market research data, spent endless hours on MS Excel and understood all the supply chain dynamics. I mean, who wouldn’t love a job which gives you a golden ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and witness the Oompa Loompas live in action (Yes, they really do exist!).
I was half-way through my internship and my biggest challenge was yet to come. I was asked to keep my project aside and was pulled on to a team to work on a new competition that had recently entered the market. More excitement ensued. Two months flew and there was still a lot of work remaining on my initial project. The end review for the finance interns was scheduled earlier than the others. For the first time in its life, my laptop witnessed running of MS-Word, Excel, PowerPoint and numerous Firefox tabs simultaneously on its poor self.
The d-day arrived and I patiently waited outside the board room. When my turn came, I walked in carrying a few boxes of chocolates with me. The entire finance team was present including the finance director. As they munched on the chocolates, I stood in front of them, trying to put my 2 months worth of effort into a 20 minute presentation. 15 slides later came the ‘Acknowledgements’ - Well, I had too many people to thank- my mentor, my guides, the HR, various department managers and of course, my co-interns. And after all the thank you-s and the goodbye-s, I walked out of the office for the last time that day. All the free chocolates got over but yes, I carried back a bag full of delicious memories to last a lifetime.