This is an entry to the Summer Saga Contest 2014
“To understand and make the relevant strategies, you have to have an experience of what happens on the ground”.
The above quote is true in all aspects, especially if one wants to choose his/her career in the field of Marketing. My internship experience at Reboot has been fabulous as it was all about ‘product’ marketing.
Reboot was founded in 2012 by a group of entrepreneurs who have had experience in industries like Telecom, FMCG, etc. The company deals with ‘refurbished computers’. It procures used computers from organizations and refurbishes them (re-testing, re-certification). This highly contributes to solving the problem of e-waste and bridging the digital divide of the country. Reboot is the first company in India that is a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher.
My project was related to business development for reboot franchises in Hyderabad. A large portion of it was mostly about ‘selling’ the product and the brand ‘Reboot’. Since, it is a relatively new company and the concept of ‘refurbishment’ is new in India, my job was more about spreading the name, understanding the ground reality and needs of the customers who would go for a ‘used’ computer. Post these tasks; one can then take decisions on how the business model should be built.
Being a 2-year-old startup, the experience has been phenomenal as I got to learn the basics of running an organization almost from scratch. Most of my time was spent out in the field and under the sun (which was the most difficult part). I had to find prime target consumers for my product (refurbished computer), the bracket for which included auto-rickshaw drivers to IT companies. It took some days to learn how to pitch and make the other side understand that refurbished computer can actually meet his/her needs. To add to it, the pitching has to be completely different for an auto-rickshaw driver and an IT professional. This gave me a lot of consumer behavior insights.
The most challenging part of the job was to make people understand the concept of ‘refurbishment’ and how it is not the same as a ‘second hand computer’. This typical Indian mindset that a used product is less worthy and their indifference towards eco-friendly products is very difficult to change. However, it added to my learning in a big way.
One part which I liked after working in a new organization is that you can get into decision making and your opinion will be valued, if relevant. One can directly walk into the CEO’s cabin and discuss the problems and solutions.
I visited mid level IT organizations, educational institutes, startup companies and individuals. Roaming in the market for a few days made me realize that it is actually tough to sell! Also, if you give out your product on credit, it is all the more difficult to get the money out of them!!
All the ground learning really helped me in shaping the business model for the franchisees in Hyderabad. It helped in understanding various consumer’s needs and requirements and designing strategies to penetrate the different consumer segments.
P.S. Never ever feel that if you are out on the ground and merely ‘selling’ a product, you become a salesman and not an MBA. This is never the case. Successful MBAs have been those who have been able to sell. You will always feel the difference when a salesman pitches and when an ‘MBA grad’ pitches for a product/service. On ground working gives you a strong foothold on the core market insights which would always help you in any professional field.
Prakhar Maheshwari, PGDM Marketing
Institute of Management Technology, Hyderabad
See all the entries of the Summer Saga 2014 contest here