Excited about the opportunity, anxious about the impact I could create using the opportunity and overwhelmed by the heritage of an organization aging over 130 years, I walked into the multi-storey building adorned in warm shades of red, white and black.
The on-boarding team had designed an induction for three days. This included interactions with various teams across sectors – consumer, medical device and pharmaceutical, Mulund plant visit and a CSR activity. The session that I found most the most impactful was the one where the MD of medical devices spoke about Credo which highlighted the decision-making process followed at J&J when the business was in a dilemma. The serial order for value creation was spelled out – the customers first, then the employees, the environment of operation was next and finally, the stockholders.
Over the two months that I spent at J&J, I saw the Credo in action and learnt that Credo was a strong reason for the organization’s status as one of the world’s most valuable companies. After the general induction that all interns took together, there were sector specific sessions which gave us a fair idea of how various teams within the sector worked to give us a sense of the business and to introduce us to people within the sector who we could go to in case of a query during the course of the internship. This bit was extremely relevant, especially to me, because even though I was part of the dermatology team, Janssen, where the project I was working on would be piloted, I harnessed the relationships established during these sessions to gather insights on how to make the project relevant to the entire enterprise.
The entire process was made smoother by the on-boarding app and the communication on the deliverables of the project before the internship started which gave us appropriate time to align our thoughts and gain perspective from professors and industry leaders.
The organization welcomed us and the people were warmer than I had expected. They were eager to teach and even more eager to learn. I quickly lost the feeling of being an outsider. And that, I believe, made me my best self. Every time I blocked time on an employee’s calendar, be it the MD, a senior product manager or the marketing head I had their attention, they valued my opinion and gave me constructive feedback. These meetings collectively taught me that being aggressively competitive is the way of the past. Collaboration is the present and the future. When you are competing, you are taking a piece of the pie. And when you are making the pie. And the world needs a bigger pie. Now, more than ever. J&J believed in this and to make the best of my time here, I needed to network, network and network.
My summer internship project was extremely complex and involved a lot of data handling and analysis. It was a live project that would point out the loopholes in the existing territory definition plans and processes and help plug them. I applied the fundamental principles of statistical analysis and modelled using advanced Excel techniques. Some concepts from sales management and operations management were also used.
Applying what I had learnt at school gave me massive motivation to work harder and put in extra hours when no one was counting. Every now and then, I would hit a few bumps and get overwhelmed by the data that I was handling and on one of the many challenging days at work my guide said, “Business is ruthless”. What hit me hard was not what he had said but the fact that despite this reality I was guided by an individual who had retained empathy years after being a part of the corporate world. “It’s okay," he would say when I was flustered. He invested his time, letting me bounce ideas off of without the fear of embarrassment and in the process reinforcing my faith in my own ideas. He showed me why referent power in leadership is so effective. I was given full autonomy in terms of the recommendations I made and the kind of analysis I wanted to do.
Circumstance, people and hard work together led the internship to a fruitful culmination and my work was appreciated by the review panel. I was appointed the best intern from Janssen and with that, I got an opportunity to present to the leadership team of the organization.
Those thirty minutes were the highlight of my internship with J&J.