My Odyssey – From A Diffident Stammerer To A Confident Lad – Internship Experience At Safexpress

I am a great fan of the TV series The Mentalist, and each day I am driven by the romantic notion of the “probability of randomness being in my favour.”

I have a stammering problem, which is psychosomatic in nature. I face difficulty in speaking to new people or in a crowded room.  Group Discussions were a nightmare for me. But in IIM Rohtak, I exploited every opportunity to shed this fear, by speaking at various club meetings and events. However, a majority of people are prone to the Warren Harding Error (People judge on the basis of what they see, like a tall, dark, handsome guy is taken as more confident and easy to live with), so I need to prepare myself very well for every opportunity and also to mingle with new people. In each lecture, I would muster up the courage. While my heart would be ready to leap out of my chest, I would raise my trembling hand (which is clear sign of my nervousness) for a query or a doubt that was nagging me throughout the class. The professor would ask me to shoot the query. I would ask the question and get my answer. This process was so cathartic, yet it would take huge determination and courage. But later after much soul-searching and introspection, a famous line echoed through my mind and heart and enabled me to be more optimistic and let go of the fear.

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

No matter how bad our present circumstances are, there will always be some cases, which will make us realise that we are much better off than those unfortunate souls. I am grateful to everyone who encouraged me by nodding and listening very patiently whenever I got stuck on a word.

This summer internship was not merely a corporate exposure for me but a chance to let go of my holds and emerge as a confident lad.

After getting rejected in many GDs and PIs, and one thing that I learned when I was being turned down on all those six occasions was “sitting in a room facing your interviewer, the only thing that will help you sail through is the art of nailing an interview”.  After each denial, I would go and sit in my room and write down all the shortcomings and prepare sort of long list where I would enumerate each Position of Responsibility, the summary of live projects, excerpts of basketball tournaments I have participated and won and areas of interest. And, finally coup de grace, it all paid off. I was finally able to land an internship in Safexpress, one of the best logistics company in the country. It is headquartered in Delhi. I chose to work in operations as it is my favourite functional area. Safexpress is the biggest organised logistic company in a rather scattered Indian logistics landscape. It has state of the art infrastructure and a pan-India presence.

After two days of the induction program, I joined the delivery department. Safexpress has departments for every stage involved from booking to delivery. So, each hassle can be taken up easily and resolved as quickly as possible. The delivery team again has a designated member for a particular delivery type. And I feel very proud to say, that there were some projects which were of national importance.

My project was to improve the service level at Safextension.  Safextension is again a beautifully and carefully crafted name for the delivery locations where no competition is present. India has some unique and endemic logistics problems that are grave concerns.  These problems range from Naxalites in Jharkhand to festivals in Madurai.

I was sent to see the working of the company’s warehousing facility. The hub was dedicated to serving numerous facilities to fulfil customer requirements, like VMI and 3PL. The hubs are enabled with the latest technology and every best practice from Milk-Run to Cross-Docking is implemented here. I learned, how a good knowledge of geography can help you become a good supply-chain manager. Fortunately, I am good at geography and I am able to rattle off names of places in a state with ease. So, my knowledge of geography helped me in the logistic industry.

My work was related to data analysis. It involved identifying the major customers and help plan an effective delivery.  The size of the data was so huge, that it took hours to process and get the output. It was a time-consuming task (I finished reading four books during this time). To overcome this problem, I had to work on an extra desktop. I used to process the data on the both desktops and while they were at it, I would think harder and try to come up with ideas that can cut the processing time.

My mentor was very helpful and used to give me insights about each and every mysterious case, which I couldn’t comprehend.  I would stay in office well after the office hours and work harder. I enjoyed every bit of my work. Confronting a challenging problem thrown by my mentor, looking at the ceiling of my cubicle, and trying to ponder over the possibilities of a unique solution, was stretching my mental capabilities.

Understanding the field workers and putting myself into their shoes was a transformational experience for me. During the breaks, I would throw myself in the intellectual discussions with them over the existence of God and, my favourite topic sports. We used to eat lunch together, and the lively conversation which would ensue between these people was a memorable experience.  I learned how team building is more about mutual respect and understanding rather than an art which is learnt in a b-school.

I learned to deal with machines and humans. I would say dealing with the human is a task and yet it is so much more fulfilling.

I hope not to master those relationships between humans but merely to endeavour to understand them.

ARVIND SINGH

A finance enthusiast and avid reader.

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