The Rehearsal Of Entering Into A ‘Real’ Job Market – An Internship Experience At Cummins

Post last night’s anxiety of settling in a new city and the much-awaited 2-months’ corporate stint, was a hot Monday morning. Who doesn’t hate Mondays, yet pulling a smile on my face, I managed to enter the corporate building well before time. Gazing out for my college friends, my eyes were stuck on the glass entrance door. This is the ideal time to step out of your “comfort zone” I recalled, and as a Tuchcha (excuse me for the IIM lingo, alias for seniors) loyalist, I began conversing with the IIM Indore girl sitting right next to me. The conversation got me settling down a bit, my eyes deviating from the initial entrance door glaring business. The batch was a mix of people coming from IIMs, SCMHRD and NMIMS. With fellow networking all over my mind, I was looking for every possible prospect I could catch hold of, to strike a conversation. I came here with the intention of not only outperforming in my project deliverables but also to make friends with as many people as possible, I reminisced.

The corporate building awed me before I discovered that I am not among the lucky chaps who’d be spending these 2 months here. Unlike most corporate houses, Glass ceilings only existed in their literal form here. Cummins is known to be one of the few “manufacturing” companies with a more than 25% workforce women ratio. I can be confident on this because the current number is 27 and they aspire to make it reach to a whooping number of 50-50 very soon.

Cummins’ is a well-structured internship program and therefore, the schedules arrived at us JIT (well, operations: P). It was made sure that the batch interacted with the leaders, be it the HR heads, Operations & strategy heads or the Global functional leaders. Besides we had informal interactions with our college Alma Mater working with Cummins.

The canteens were no less than a maze. Simple yet elegant, they housed a variety of cuisines. The canteen walls with posters from Indian states and cultures were nothing but a reflection of Cummins’ core values, Diversity and Inclusion.

A Summer Internship lets you explore the practical business problems and real life challenges that one learns during their MBA programme, they say. Well, aptly true. MBA classes won’t teach you to manage people (more like workplace politics :P), get work done and most importantly, how to maintain work-life balance. I recalled one of our profs candidly mentioning, “Remember, Summer Internship is like going on a cup of coffee, finals, like getting hitched”, So make the most of these two months to work on yourself and on anticipating what your right fit is. Only some want to land up Squarest peg in the roundest hole after all. 😛

Coming back, the most interesting piece in every interaction I found was that every leader was unblemished on their ethical principals and they believed that post a year or two into the Organization, every employee is insentiently Cummin-ized. They hold strong ethical values and believe in “doing the best things in the most correct ways”.  The company firmly holds the Fortune 500 Company badge along with being the most ethical of workplaces.

Personally, Day-zero made me ponder my choice of workplace, forcing me to envisage what my “core values” are & the domain and function I would like to embark my career journey on. As the day proceeded, I got reminded of Mrs. Shikha Sharma’s speech on the IIM A Convocation Day. How pertinent is it to have a strong value foundation, because there will always be a day (maybe many such days) when we would be faced with two choices. It is not necessary one takes the path less trodden, but a path more ethical. And it is all about how strong these personal values that we contain are, which would lead us in the right path. After all, our choices make us who we are.

How I wished we had got some goodies :P. Nevertheless, Cummins called it a day with the distribution of T-shirts and offer letters. Surrounded by faces with verve and enigma at the same time, I said to myself, it is just the beginning of a cherished phase here. We come here with a ton of academic and work-ex baggage, only to discover that there always be someone who would be better than us, and to crib about it is indeed a time killer. Give it your best and results shall follow, I patted myself on the back, booked a cab and headed home.

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