Sanjay’s Consulting Internship At Centurion Consulting LLC, Dubai – IIM Udaipur
Placement Season had just started! Getting shortlisted for the companies and making it to GD round and then getting rejected. That’s what was happening with me on the first day of my placement! Rejection after Rejection. I have had enough. But struggle makes you better and better. Precisely, that’s what happened with me. The same night I still remember the room full of aspirants waiting for the emails of the companies for getting shortlisted for further rounds. I receive yet another email which shortlisted 7 student profiles out of 170 students then remaining to get placed. This time I had a Skype call with the CEO of the company for a Marketing Profile.
I am informed that this is the first time company has come for Summer Internship placements at IIM Udaipur and is offering one of the best job descriptions and package in the campus. Just looking at the Job Description, I felt somewhere inside that “This Is It.” With this attitude, I went in for the Skype Interview. The interview went well where I got briefed about the different projects, which the company is working on.
After listening to my peer’s interview experience, I felt there was tough competition as I heard from Placement Cell that only one student would be shortlisted. After the interview at 12 AM, it was time to sleep after the rigorous placement process.
I can never forget the next day when few of my friends barge into my room and start beating ceremonially [after a student gets placed for summer internship.]
Atlas, I was placed in that company. Yes, I was the only student who got into the company who came for the first time in the campus. The Job was in Dubai with free accommodation and travel and a decent stipend. The Job profile was of Consulting and I was to work closely with the CEO of the consulting company, which was a six years old company providing consulting solutions to startups, reinsurance companies and many more.
I was all suited up & excited for the adventurous experience I was about to witness in the new culture. I reached Dubai Airport and went straight ahead to my accommodation place to find that it was a hotel deluxe single room. Two Months in a hotel, I was already liking it. I inform the HR of the company affirmatively that I have reached safely and then she briefed me about the formalities and the schedule for the next day. I was super excited and ready to mingle in the company culture and perform the tasks assigned to me to my fullest.
Day 1: The car is waiting outside the hotel entrance to pick me up at sharp 8 AM. I speed up to it after having my breakfast and start my first day on a positive note. After reaching to the office, I am being introduced to the officials of the company and provided a cabin. Next, I am called in the conference room, where the Marketing Head, Accounts Manager and the CEO of the company are waiting for me to debrief me about the plans for the next two months.
Not forgetting a Pen and a Pad, I rush to the Conference room and very diligently they explain me the projects I will be working on during my internship period. I was pretty nervous at first after listening to the projects, as I have never worked in a corporate culture where you work on projects that impact companies and its employees in real time.
I noted down the project requirements and outcomes/objectives what each project demanded. Next, I coordinated with a mentor, which our Institute IIM Udaipur had assigned me in case of any guidance required during my Internship. I was fortunate to have my mentor who happened to be an alumni of IIM Udaipur, Mr. Vidit Mongia with whom I discussed the deliverables expected and after discussing with him and gaining his insights I developed a proper plan to execute each of the projects that was assigned to me with deliverables that I will be completing in Week 1 through 8. The job description that I received in the meeting demanded knowledge of Finance, Marketing and Operations altogether. That’s when I realised the importance of case studies being taught at IIM Udaipur which made us ready to tackle problem statement from all perspectives integrated together.
I started working with one of our client in reinsurance business. They were facing difficulty in maintaining a database of all transactions that happens in and out of the company of insured, cedant (one who insures the insured) and reinsurers due to which there was a lot of offset happening thus reducing their margins in the business. I went to the client’s place to understand the different types of transactions that happens. Post which, with the support of my mentors in the company [thanks to open door policy] I proposed a solution for a standard operating procedure handbook for all the employees of the reinsurance firm and a master planning register that maintained all records and the initiative was applauded. Close to 7 days of day and night work I came up with a Master Planning Register in Excel wherein the employees could enter details of each policy (the premium the company received and was transferred to reinsurers) and update it timely. That’s when I realized the importance of Spreadsheet Modelling Course I had taken up in my First Year of PGP at IIMU by Prof. Rao who gave us real business scenarios and asked us to solve the problems at hand. It was due to this course I could use Macros, VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, Pivot Table and many more Excel Functions fluently to come up with the solution in a short span of time. Post which I gave the demo of the same to the Client and they were happy as most of their manual tasks was reduced as they could make consolidated sheets easily and document it, they could get update of the policies that needed renewal instantaneously with macros, and they could easily maintain the commission they received in the records which helped them in reducing the monetary offset.
After which I started working on other projects as per plan and sometimes I was asked to work on new projects that came in between other than from what was planned. That’s when I realised that a consultancy job is a dynamic one and you have to handle multiple projects at any time and prioritise the tasks according to the needs of the clients.
Next, came the task of increasing the efficacy of operations of one of our client who was into cleaning services. I went to the Client’s place to discuss the pain points they faced during the work process every day. I could figure out the majority of the pain points were a result of inefficiencies on the administration staff part who assigned the tasks to the cleaning staff. The employees were not that tech savvy and thus faced difficulties in operating scheduling software for which the company had a license. Thus, I developed a standard operating procedure, which optimised their task and also developed a tutorial video so that future and present employees could use it easily. I also gave a demo to the staff (Administration Staff) on using the software on website and app (for Cleaning Staff who could track their Job easily)
Simultaneously, I was working on two projects. First Project, involved doing secondary market research for a client who wanted to setup Nissan Car Dealership in Somalia and making a proposal that would be presented to Nissan Cars Headquarters which involved doing some data crunching from various resources through OpenAthens (For which I got an access from IIM Udaipur). OpenAthens helped me explore information from various sources easily and helped me carry out a projection for the Nissan Dealership. The next project I was working on was developing a marketing strategy to improve communication between Internal Employees and Customers of FEWA [Federal Electricity and Water Board of Northern Emirates: A Government Company]. I was blessed to experience culture of different workforces ranging from a startup, a government body to well-established companies. The objective of the project was to move towards paperless transactions, which required making not so tech savvy employees to tech savvy ones [hardest part to implement]. The other part of the plan was to develop a marketing plan to create awareness among the customers of FEWA to smartly utilise electricity & water and conserve it. This study was carried out by referring to best practices around the world and benchmarking accordingly. After which I tried to understand the present scenario of FEWA and glitches in present communication system.
#Note: Trust me Kotler, strategic frameworks and OB courses are instrumental in dealing with Clients as well as internal employees.
The next project was to make a pitch deck for an E-Commerce Website for Series A Funding for which I carried out analysis of its financials to calculate GMV for valuations and thus calculated funding amount needed at different dilutions and carrying out analysis of the company’s present scenario to understand where the funds could be utilised. The work was personally appreciated by the CEO of the E-Commerce website.
#Note: Presentation Skills are really important (right from making presentation as articulate as possible to communicating same efficiently)
Time for the internship to end was coming nearby. I planned to develop a comprehensive marketing plan for the company I worked for to engage more customers. For which I had to carry the SMEs Study in Dubai and UAE by large and the kind of solutions these firms look for which our consultancy company can provide effectively. Thus, I developed different value propositions for each sector on the basis of the study carried out. During the project, I came across an interesting event wherein you have to pitch in front of potential clients in just 3 minutes followed by Q & A’s. In the real scenario, the above event actually occurs in Sales Job wherein you have limited time to Wow the customers with value propositions. It was a great learning experience by being on-field for Sales and understanding potential clients. The marketing plan was ready and was delivered to the top officials in the Conference Room. It was greatly appreciated by the CEO and the Marketing Head. Post, which a farewell party was organised by the company wherein I got an opportunity to talk to various employees of the company and exchange the experiences.
Well, it was not just work! I too got an opportunity to explore Dubai with my friends from IIM Udaipur who were interning at UAE Exchange and truly it was a great time I will cherish forever.