Joy of the little things – Internship in HR

My summer internship experience started with the onset of the summer placements season at IIFT. It is usually as very stressful time for all the candidates who are vying for that perfect summer internship. In such an environment, I found that I was remarkably calm and unaffected by the atmosphere around me. This was perhaps because I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be among the last ones to get placed. Such low expectations were probably the result of having failed in 12 of the last 13 interviews that I had appeared for during the final year of engineering. So it came as pleasant surprise when I found myself selected for one of the more coveted profiles on campus very early on in the summer placement season. The next two trimesters were spent in pleasant anticipation of the upcoming internship.

Come 1st April, I found myself suited up and heading towards my new office with barely a care about the scorching Delhi heat. I was welcomed to the company by the Managing Director and India head, an English gentleman. He briefed me about my responsibilities and his expectations from me and then introduced me to his colleagues. I was then shown to my desk where I found a laptop and telephone with my name on it. It might have been a little thing but I could always find some joy in reading my name on that telephone.

I was soon introduced to my internship project which I was to complete while assisting with the other ongoing executive search projects. The project was about assessing the impact of local incorporation on organisational structure of foreign banks in India. I had absolutely no idea how to go about it until my mentor pushed me in the right direction. The subsequent weeks were spent going through several pages of laws such as the Banking Regulation Act, the Companies Acts (1956 & 2013), endless RBI guidelines, listing agreements and what not. The most challenging part of this research was not finding out the relevant sections to go through but to understand the complicated legal language. I frequently cursed the lawyers who penned down laws in unnecessarily complicated language. I always thought this was part of a large conspiracy by all the lawyers in the world to keep people away from the study of law and keep their jobs safe. But this was also the most enjoyable part as well. Every time I deciphered the meaning of a line, I would give myself a mental pat on the back. And slowly, as the days passed, the seemingly endless laws and guidelines started to make sense and I could start putting something meaningful in a presentation. The final presentation started to take shape and to my surprise, I was confident and reasonably happy with my effort. All this while, I was also involved in other mini projects, which I worked on as and when they came my way. I was fortunate enough to see the successful conclusion of some of those projects and always felt proud that I had made a contribution, however little it might have been. I got an opportunity to work alongside and learn from some very senior and very insightful people, which was a reward in itself. A nice paycheck at the end of the month also did its bit to keep my spirits high.

However, the most memorable time during my internship came outside office hours when I, along with my fellow intern, was invited to a dinner with the head of the Asia Pacific region who had flown in for a day from Singapore. I had always wondered what senior executives talked about when they got together. To my surprise, nobody wanted to discuss too much about work and our host from Singapore, also an Englishman, was more interested in knowing our views about the developments happening in India. I had never imagined that a formal dinner could be so much fun and offer so many take-aways at the same time.

As the days progressed, I kept working on my project and the other assignments. Then came the day of the presentation of my project and I was told that the Mumbai office will also be joining in for the presentation. Although I was confident about my research, I could not help but feel a little intimidated by the people I was presenting to. However, I was delighted to see that everyone listened to me with rapt attention and even asked doubts wherever they had any. I was equally delighted to discover that I could answer their queries. The presentation went quite well and a couple of days later it was time to say goodbye. The Managing Director invited me to a meeting where he gave me his feedback and asked my views about the company and the executive search industry. The meeting ended on a high with a small farewell that the office had organised for me.

These 60 days were among the most productive days of my life so far, not only due to the learnings but also due to the great people who I met and had the good fortune of working with. I believe I am going into my 2nd year of MBA a little wiser, a little learned and a little more positive than I was just 2 months ago.