They say FMCG is the heaven for marketing. After getting placed for a summer internship at Yellow Diamond, a leading snacks company in India, I was both flattered and frightened. Flattered by the hope of receiving maximum scope that a marketer can have in this industry, and frightened as it goes with the phrase, ‘with great power comes great responsibilities’ when I was to be the face of my college for the next coming months. IIM Rohtak has exceptionally prepared me for a smooth transition from student to business professional by providing me with the skills essential to succeed in critical thinking, analytical expertise, etc. I honed in on my marketing skills by developing useful strategies with a team which was expected to be implemented now.
The journey started at Indore, the cleanest city of India. One can't help but notice how the cleanliness of the city is ingrained into the heart of residents and how seriously they take into practice this gesture. It was a struggle to reach company’s headquarters which was situated outside the city in a small place called Palda. On the very first day, I was introduced to all other interns and the key stakeholders of the company. The most exciting experience during the first day of my internship was to visit the production unit. Hundreds of thousands of chips and ‘namkeen’ items were popping to and fro through various automated machines, to be at their desired shape and to be packed inside colourful packets with the aim to satisfy customers.
I was surprised by the fact even while holding an executive position and surfing through an airtight schedule, my mentor, the Head of Sales Excellence of the company, was so calm and helpful at every moment in time. He was always available to resolve all of my problems and pestering doubts about the project. He is a perfect example of how a corporate executive carries along his subordinates to growth while achieving excellence in his work.
My function was to identify the product offerings in a particular category market and come up with suitable and more effective plans. I had to conduct a market survey to fulfill the purpose, and for a brand like Yellow Diamond, market size is comprised of the whole geography of India. After finishing the planning phase within a week, I was all set to sail through the high tides. I was thrilled by the idea of this opportunity to apply the theoretical concepts, gathered during my first year of MBA from IIM Rohtak, to practical reality.
To sail through the geographies of India and to gather as many valuable inputs as I could, I identified some key cities which were to be surveyed. Most of the cities that I had shortlisted possessed an interesting challenge. But to my amazement, during two months, treatment from a long list of influential people from this industry made me feel no different than the people from my city; in fact sometimes their hospitality made me feel even better. Following was the sailing route of my journey to search for a golden lamp (a creative and efficient business idea):
Every city introduced and exposed me to a new culture, thought process, language, and food. Even within the country, we have so many diverse things to notice & experience where every face-off had something new to offer. It was a great challenge to cater to these many different cultures together. The true spirit of marketing was rightfully identified.
Finally, I had to compile and share my findings in the form of a report to HQ of my organization. On the D-day, I found myself in a room full of charismatic and influential personalities including the board of Directors, CEO and the other key stakeholders. My confidence was a bit shaken, but there was a realization that the effective curriculum during IIM Rohtak trained me day in and day out to face situations like this. Somehow, I gathered myself and presented in front of some of the brightest minds of the firm. Finally, it all went well, and I think I have contributed to the company in a meaningful way.
The lessons that I have learned from this internship must be passed on to the future marketing fanatics. Doing what you are instructed to do and doing it well, doesn't make you exceptional. It only makes you above average. Those who want to show their actual potential had to go beyond what was anticipated of them and prepare something that was unexpected.
The point here is that your supervisor expects you to do what you're directed to do. That's a given. That level of work gets you a B grade. If you want to differentiate yourself from an ordinary intern, you need to take on more responsibility than you are asked to. You need to show initiative. Taking possession of a project, demonstrating ardent enthusiasm for the work, and showing initiative – these are attributes that allow a great intern to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
I was on my way back to the new 200-acre campus of IIM Rohtak with all the sweet memories of these two months. The feeling of being an experience holder of this vast corporate world was very much satisfying. After reaching the beautiful campus, the first thing I did was to quench the starving fire of my stomach by paying a visit to a nearby shop where I found the colourful packets of Yellow Diamond, placed at the front racks. The nostalgic memory of the chip's aroma of Indore and the brand tagline "Dildaar hai hum” brought a smile to my face.