PPO, Anyone? 10 Tips For A Successful Summer Internship!
A lazy Saturday afternoon turned into a fun and fruitful session with Mr. Alex Joseph at NITIE! Alex is an alumnus and has been with P&G for 10 years since he graduated from the PGDIM course here. He is currently the Group Manager – India Logistics, and has had extensive experience in the front end of the supply chain. Invited by the Alumni Committee of NITIE, he came down personally to help us take our first steps towards one of the most important phases of the B-school life – summer internships.
As the interaction started, we all realized, this wasn’t going to be a boring gyaan session. He had made it very interesting and structured, putting all we needed to know in 10 neat tips! Nothing short of a crash course on internship prep! Here, I am simply attempting to pen them down as accurately as I can.
Tip 1: Think like a consultant
– Get clarity on the problem statement, right at the start
– Form an initial hypothesis, this is your starting point
– Get your facts, and get them right!
Companies actually look for basic thinking skills at this point, and not hardcore in-depth technical skills. Taking the right approach to tackling a certain problem usually means your problem-solving skills are replicable. They put you in any situation and you will use the same approach and take the problem head on!
Tip 2: Leave your ego at the door
Nobody likes a know-it-all, pompous show-off! No work that has been assigned to you may be treated with less respect. Be open to receiving all kinds of experiences and exposure – and more importantly show that you are willing to take up any kind of job and make it count.
Tip 3: Know your project guide
This guy is your guardian angel during these two months – treat him like one! He can make or break your chances in the company. Yes, this guy is as important as they say. So, get to know him, his preferences, and his working style, whether he is process oriented and appreciates formal settings or an informal discussion over matters concerned is a better way to gel with him. It is suggested that you have an open discussion with him early on – show you are interested in knowing his expectations.
Tip 4: Everything is a test!
Yes, everything. So give every little thing your utmost! Do not ever assume that a certain task is less important or maybe even menial, everyday kind of job and you are smarter than that – it might just be a test to judge your ability to make it work without getting frustrated at such tasks. There is always an intent behind every job assigned to you – do not neglect instructions given to you even in passing conversation!
How well you adapt to the company, and how soon, how are you perceived by all the people you interact with – everything is being judged. Be at your best!
Tip 5: Operate with discipline!
Display nothing but professionalism in every aspect of your internship. Try to know the company’s policies and norms, and follow them without being asked to. Meeting any deadlines set, sticking to the guidelines, regular work updates – these are basic rules that any organization expects.
Tip 6: Don’t Game the System
This is an obvious one and it still happens more often than one would imagine. Students try to fool the organization, by tweaking the rules and even showing more work than actually performed. Not reporting in, falsifying reports, submitting slightly modified presentations/reports already submitted by seniors – these may seem like the easy way to get things done. But they never work! Organizations have been hiring interns for years, and seniors with years of experience would be over seeing your work. And eventually, it not only completely ruins your chances of a PPO, but also the long term reputation of the college.
Tip 7: Deliver the core project deliverables – and then some!
The first step to this is identifying the project deliverables right at the beginning. Most projects will not define specific deliverables. They simply give the end result required; each small deliverable that falls under it, would need to be deciphered by you. This brings us back to Tip 1 and 3 – think clearly, and know your guide and his expectations.
Once you have a clear picture of what you need to achieve and what you need to do to get there, start thinking about how you can take it one step ahead. Just meeting expectations may be sufficient, but going a bit extra, takes you to that next level in terms of recognition and appreciation. However, to reiterate, this should be the next level – which means you need to clear the first level before you get to the next. Do not, at any cost, ignore your core deliverables.
Tip 8: The finale!
The final presentation day is your big day – make sure you are able to bring clarity on your ideas. The presentation might be the only way to convince quite a few people about the quality of your work, so make it shine. Make sure it follows a well-defined structure – start with the problem statement, move on to your approach, and then finally the recommendations you would like to give.
Now obviously the question is preparing this presentation. A good way to go about it is to start right at the beginning and go about adding to it, as you complete phases of your work. Any feedbacks that you would wish to gather can also be solicited as and when you move. This leaves your last day free for actual preparation.
Tip 9: Networking!
This is way down on the list because though, as obvious, an important aspect of your internship, networking is not the most important aspect of it. As pointed out by seniors several times, being genuine about your work and your interactions at work is essential. Insincere efforts to butter up seniors is very evident in the intentions and can actually cause more harm than good.
So yes, interact with as many people as you can – but with genuine intentions to know their views, their suggestions and the guidance that they can provide owing to their experience. Respect the knowledge they have acquired through this experience and do not try to just reduce them to someone you can use to convert your PPO.
Tip 10: Collaborate and Smile!
The other side of networking is collaborating – i.e., interact, make friends, know people, enjoy with them. The purpose of an internship is not solely a PPO or a CV point – it is rather the immense and incomparable experience and learning of those two months. So smile – enjoy this opportunity to gain memories and lessons of a lifetime!
These tips are not the end-all of all that you need to know before you start with an internship, but they definitely are a great starting point. As suggested above, talk to people, listen to their stories, and get to know the nitty gritties of what they have been through. A list of tips can never come close to the real story!
Rishita is a first year student in the PGDIM course at NITIE, Mumbai. She has graduated as a BE from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and now plans to focus on the Supply Chain domain. Talking to people, reading books, and watching TV series are her passions – anything that tells her a story!
You can see more of her work on neptuneriki.insideiim.com