My Internship Experience At Mahindra Group (GMC Programme 2016) – Anuj From IIFT
I believe there are 3 types of people who enter the gates of an MBA college. Firstly, People who are entirely certain on what they want to do, secondly, those who are entirely certain on what they DON’T want to do and lastly, those who come in with an open mind to explore and then eventually narrow-in to their preferred domain. To be totally honest, I was a little bit of a mixture of the first two. I came with an inclination to Marketing and a fear of Finance. The first few months passed by in a jiffy but the only noticeable thing was that the inclination had evolved into a firm decision while the fear only grew stronger.
One fine fortunate day, after a rigorous and meticulous process, I got placed with the Mahindra Group in their coveted Group Management Cadre (GMC) program. It took a little bit of time to sink in and for me to realise the gravity of the opportunity that I had just received. The animated reaction that other people gave when they got to know was the first sign. As few days passed by in celebration, something was brought to my attention by a friend in a casual conversation. “It is a general management profile, what if you get a FINANCE Project?” he said. Although I was never bad in financial subjects, I was just not fond of it and so a new FEAR crept up and it stayed with me till the day I got my project details.
Finally, I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the Domain field in the project document say “Marketing” and the vertical that I was allotted was Mahindra FINANCE. Mason Cooley said that “Irony regards every simple truth as a challenge” and so the irony presented me with a challenge and I was ready.
The internship started on 5th April 2016 at the Mahindra Towers, Worli with a 3-day schedule of induction sessions from all major verticals of the group mixed with some fun activities and fantastic food. All through the week, Mahindra welcomed us with open arms and spared no expense in our hospitality including an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with Mr. Anand Mahindra. Come Monday, I stepped in the office of Mahindra Finance ready to work and make a sincere attempt to make it a more permanent situation.
My mentor’s strong belief that “Any enthusiast wanting to pursue a career in marketing has to definitely do a marketing research project in his early years” took me to 3 states & 6 districts in the span of 3 weeks, exposed me to the varied yet so valid opinions of 172 individuals and gave me the pleasure of specialized meetings with premier advertising and BTL agencies like Dentsu-Aegis, RW Promotions, etc. Sir made us follow a very methodical and structured approach to the entire process and it’s every step like approach note, secondary research, questionnaire making and then finally, primary research, all of which resulted in the recommendations that I provided as my final deliverable.
Before this long research trip that took me to remote areas of Gujarat, Haryana and Karnataka, some of us were sent to Pune for a one-day trip to understand the business model of the organization and to realise how this company was growing at such a pace. We accompanied the loan recovery agents and the business development executives on motorcycles meeting the existing and the potential customers. It was the single most extreme learning experience that I have had in one day. It gave us a chance to see the heart of the organization and feel its pulse directly from the source. The same trend of travelling on motorcycles continued in all the states that I visited. I can even proudly proclaim that I have now traveled to the remotest villages around the cities which i had previously never been to.
It was a steep learning curve starting in Gujarat where I could fluently recite the questions in the local language and even change the way I asked them as I pleased, to Haryana where it was really difficult to get them to listen to what I am saying let alone making them respond and finally to Karnataka where I used every tool at my disposal like part-english, part-hindi, gestures and the rare luxury of a translator just to get my question across.
Mahindra Finance doesn’t sell a physical product. All it sells is a story, a story of ambition, self-sufficiency and a brighter future for every so-called or so-believed “unfortunate” person of this country. During working for this magnificent and unique business model I made a small story of my own, more of a memory but a story nonetheless.
Thus, those 2 months were not only a customary corporate exposure part of the curriculum at every premier B-School but it was an experience in importance of following procedure, market research, rural marketing, working of an enormous business behemoth, the thrill of travel and an eye-opening encounter with the varied opinions of the people across the length and breadth of our gigantic country.
About the Author:
This article has been authored by Anuj Shah, student of MBA (IB) 2015-17 batch at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (I.I.F.T.) Delhi.