‘‘We have modified our environment so radically that we must modify ourselves in order to exist in this new environment.’’
The Human Use of Human Beings
This quote by the father of cybernetics sums up the challenges that we face today and what we must do to sustain and thrive in this pandemic. My summer internship, similar to most of my peers from the batch of 2021, seemed like a once in a century experience. Interning amidst the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has been a revelation in its own right. In the next few paragraphs, I reflect upon my experience as an intern at Piramal Enterprises Limited.
My summer internship at Piramal started like a drive on a foggy road. The road ahead was not clear and we did not know what was coming our way as the pandemic progressed. But as time passed and as I settled down in my skin, that fog of uncertainty cleared up to a great extent, to the point, that the journey reached its conclusion after nine weeks. All along the journey, I had the company of other interns from the various parts of the country and prestigious institutions.
Piramal Enterprises Limited (PEL) is one of India’s large diversified global business conglomerate, which has a presence in healthcare, life sciences, drug discovery, healthcare information management, speciality glass packaging, financial services, and real estate. The core values of knowledge, action, care, and impact form the integral guiding philosophy of the organization. These values represent the deeply held beliefs and give a unique identity at the individual as well as the organizational levels. Piramal encourages a deep understanding of these core values and believes in institutionalizing them across the organization to build a distinctive Piramal culture. The purpose of ‘Doing Well and Doing Good’ is embodied in the constant endeavor to make a positive difference by serving people and living the values. The organization is committed to transforming Primary Healthcare & Nutrition, Education, Safe Drinking Water, and Social Sector ecosystems through high impact solutions, thought leadership, and partnerships.
Life at Piramal
Life at Piramal, though experienced virtually, was lively. Interestingly, the family members of the interns were greeted with a special delight even before we joined the organization despite the uncertain and trying times. This group of interns from all over the country got a sense of the ethos at Piramal through the weekly sessions, leadership talks, fun-activities by the Launchpad team, and the constant support throughout our internship period. I am amazed that the socialization of strangers could be so seamless and enriching even when none had met in person.
Right from the day of induction, I was included in my project team just like a regular employee at the place. I got numerous opportunities to be at the various team level meetings where the CHRO and the team welcomed my thoughts and participation. As I received my project charter on the first day and connected with my mentor and project sponsor, I still remember their first words: that this was a crucial project and it is pertinent for us in such times to first quickly learn and then impart the learning to the individuals. That single interaction acted as the ignition spark for my project launch!
At the outset, I made efforts to understand the context of the project and bridge the knowledge gap. With that, I sought my mentor’s help to understand the project scope and my responsibility. Then I finalized the milestones and timeline of my project.
My project was special in numerous ways, it entailed research, recommendations, and implementable deliverables all at the same time. It is truly gratifying when I imagine that my work will add value to the learning journey of hundreds of people at Piramal and that my contributions will help facilitators and the learning and talent CoE. This has added great value to my internship and me personally.
I was allowed to structure my work, set up my milestones, and timeline. The amount of flexibility, the autonomy to structure my work, and the guidance from my team have been exemplary. The inclusiveness and the encouragement that I received while working with the Learning and Talent team in those two months have made me feel confident of my potential. I was fortunate to have got a caring mentor (and coach at the same time!) and an extremely engaging team for supporting me all along the journey. I got numerous opportunities to be part of the annual operating plan meetings, monthly review meets, and the weekly team discussions. These interactions gave me deep insights into the working of the learning and talent function at a large organization. Despite the virtual environment and not having met any of the members of the organization, I still felt a strong sense of connection. This could be attributed to the regular communication, clarity of expectations, commonality of goals, and shared understanding of the context.
In conclusion, I would say that it has been great exposure and a truly immersive experience.
Manjit is a second-year student of TISS HRM & LR, Mumbai. He loves to read non-fiction and I like contemplating the future of humanity and civilization.