In this article, Swastik Mitra, a student of MDI Gurgaon who interned at Tata Consumer Products in the Human Resources Domain talks about his summer internship experience. Find out about how his onboarding process went, what his learnings are, and his experiences during this internship.
Hi, Tell us about how you got selected for this internship? Take us through the moment you realized you had got the internship.
Tata Consumer Products came for its leadership program (ELP) during the early days of campus placements. Obviously when you hear the name Tata the words enthusiasm, passion, ethics come automatically. The selection process was simple. It consisted of an initial CV shortlist, followed by a GD round and then a PI. GD's topic was fairly generic involving an ethical conundrum. From every GD panel (group of 8) one person was selected for PI. The results were declared shortly after. I remember it was 9:30 pm to be exact and here's the most unique part. The TA team themselves called us on team call and congratulated us at that very moment. I know of only maybe a handful of organizations that come on calls to congratulate the selected candidates after a whole day of GD, PI, etc and that's what differentiates this organization. That 10min call was the 1st feeling of relief, accomplishment, peace I had felt since the day I joined b-school and it was an ecstatic moment.
On joining the company as an intern, how has your onboarding experience been like?
The onboarding session went on for 2 days and it included interactions with leaders of all segments from CHRO to the production head. There was also an interaction with previous year PPO'd interns and they told us about their journey as the 1st online intern batch. The challenges they had faced and how they navigated around those. There were loads of fun activities including making advertisement posters and videos for some new brands. These activities brought together the whole batch of ELP interns from various colleges. In short, the on-boarding process was an invigorating and inspiring experience
How has your interaction with the team members and colleagues been like? How will you make sure to leave the best impression on your supervisors by the end of the internship?
In all honesty, an online internship felt weird initially, but the 1st interaction with my mentors put my mind at ease. They were super supportive and despite their busy schedules, they did manage to find time to just enquire about my progress or challenges faced if any. The team members were also very supportive. The best way to leave the best impression is to be a part of their day-to-day work. Basically, that would involve getting to know how things work and try to get involved in those even if it is not a part of my project description. The objective shall always be to learn as much as I can from every person I can connect within a short period of time.
Tell us in brief, about the project you are currently working on and how is this project going to help the company?
Though I am not at liberty to divulge the details of the project I was extremely excited by the fact that all those projects were already being worked upon and it was very much live. On a daily basis, I was not only involved in understanding data for my project but was also involved in many smaller projects with various team members who were very happy to explain to me the progress so far and the impacts of it. I had 3 projects in all and I was super excited when my 1st project got implemented in the organization. The other 2 required a longer chain of approvals but it always gave a real energy boost to see that my recommendations were being heard and put forward.
Give us an overview of how you prepared for your summer placement season.
The preparation for summer placements starts from the day you join a b-school. The very first step is to create a perfect CV. By perfect CV I mean one which showcases your achievements, abilities in tandem with the domain in which you want to apply for internship. Apart from that I also made sure that I was prepared with basic HR questions like why HR, tell me about yourself, strengths, weakness etc. College seniors help a lot in this part of the preparation. They also have an idea on how much technical stuff in your domain would be asked during interview and what are some major points in your CV that might attract attention. Lastly I also had a group of friends who practiced online GD together. That was an entirely new experience-time lag, varying loudness as per headphones etc. So those mock GD s helped a lot. And finally I made sure that I know about the company as much as I can- their CSR activities, mission,vision,new iinitiatives etc. Knowing. these generally gives an edge during PI.
Based on your internship experience till now, what are some necessary skill sets one must be prepared with before starting an internship?
The only thing that is really necessary to excel during an internship is great interpersonal and communication skills and a tenacity to learn. Apart from that, a complete command over Microsoft office- Excel, PowerPoint, Word etc is also required. You should know how to analyse and represent data in a crisp yet effective manner because many times you will be addressing senior leadership and they would not have the bandwidth to listen to the whole story always. A knowledge about research methodology, statistics also helps a lot in this too.
What are some new skills that you have developed while working in the company?
The internship has been a really great learning opportunity for me. The 1st thing that I realized was how minutely each document is scrutinized before being implemented. The line of questioning that I faced initially during each presentation made me realize how shallow my knowledge was actually. The way the leadership thinks and asks questions, changes the way you think in your next project. I became more mindful of the nuances of each policy implementation, the problems that might actually arise. Needless to say, I learned a lot in my own field as well during the long hours of research, benchmarking, etc. It widens your overall view of the industry.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your internship and how have you overcome them?
The common problem in the case of an online internship is the initial connection with mentors and team members. During the initial days, it was difficult, though my mentors were very supportive in work from home scenarios, it is difficult to create such a rapport. The only way out is to keep trying, and once you take initiative on your own, connect with other stakeholders, take on various projects and become an integral part of the team, things fall into place. I needed the 1st one or two weeks for this. The other problem I faced was adapting to changing scenarios. Sometimes the allotted project takes a back seat and a new project comes up. Adaptability becomes a key skill at that time. As long as I was willing to learn no matter what the project I had a fun experience. Also in online mode, it gets difficult to understand the ground level scenario and the only way out is to connect with as many people as you can and learn from their experiences. But the onboarding team was super helpful and helped in taking care of any challenge that I faced once I reached out to them.
Tell us about a situation where you were complemented by your Manager for your work.
I was lucky to have an extremely supportive manager who appreciated every single effort I made. However, I shall always remember the day when a part of my project was approved and was ready to be implemented. My manager and I had spent countless hours in perfecting the reports etc, each and every step was understood from multiple stakeholders and was compiled together. It was a great experience and also brought about a load of compliments from my manager.
What have been your major learnings during the internship?
One of the major learnings for me during the internship was the ability to present data in a concise and effective manner. In other words, sorting of what is important and what can be skipped. It taught me to look into matters more deeply and think if it is a feasible recommendation and what problems can arise during implementation. The internship also taught me that it's always good to be open about concerns and ask freely. Almost everyone was very supportive and tried to explain whatever doubts I had. It also sharpened my research skills. Again, once the thought process changed I was able to carry out research in a much more targetted manner and address the key issues effectively
Tell us about your final presentation of the project to your manager in brief. What was the toughest question asked during the presentation and how did you answer it?
The final presentation was basically a representation of all the works that I had done during the internship, my analysis of the problem statement, my recommendations on the same, and my learnings. There were no such tough questions asked to be exact. Most questions revolved around the implementation of recommendations given. I had to be perfectly clear as to why I recommended the said point, what will be its impact, how feasible they were, and which recommendations can be implemented.
Some advice that you would like to give to your juniors based on your internship experience.
The best way to go about an internship is to keep an open mind and grasp as much as you can over the 2month period. Connecting with as many people as possible and getting a pulse of the organization is great way to go about any project. Also, a thorough knowledge of excel, PowerPoint and a great connection with peers and seniors helps a lot during internships.
What was one of the best moments according to you during your internship?
The internship had several "best" moments. One such moment was the monthly HR meeting which involved the CHRO, the CDO, and all other HR at the organization. Another moment, was when a part of my project was implemented. The internship was filled with such moments and one cannot be ranked above the other. There were fun times too like the Zumba day or the weekly meetups of interns with the onboarding HR.
TIMELINE, PROCESS AND RULES
- You don't need to register on InsideIIM.com or on the Kampus App to take part in Summer Saga Season 8. Simply share your experiences in the Digital Diary. To maintain standardisation, every Digital Diary will have a few questions that you'll need to answer.
- Access all the Digital Diaries forms from here: Digital Diary 1 | Digital Diary 2 | Digital Diary 3 | Digital Diary 4 | Digital Diary 5
- Your overall submission will be evaluated on the following parameters:
-Completeness: This depends on the number of Digital Diaries you have filled.
-Value Addition: This depends on how in-depth your answers have been. The score for this parameter will be given by our Judges.
-Reach: This depends on how many unique people have read your internship experience once we publish the article. We maintain fair play, we will publish all the articles on the same day, so that you can also share the same in your network.
- There is also a title called, ‘Campus With The Most Interesting Interns’ that will be awarded to (a) the campus that submits the maximum number of entries and (b) the campus that submits the best quality entries (based on the score given by our judges). The minimum entries from campus to be considered for this title is 10. So, if you want your campus to win the title then make sure your classmates and other students from your b school share their experiences in this year's Summer Saga Competition.
PRIZES TO WIN
This competition is broadly divided into four categories. Refer to the table below to know more about prizes in each category.
Banking and Finance
Sales, Marketing and General Management
HR, Consulting and Others
|1st Prize||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000|
|Runner Up||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000|
The 1st Prize winner will also get a one-hour 1-on-1 career guidance session with an industry stalwart, from our panel of mentors in Kounsel.
ABOUT THE JUDGES
Every year, we have Campus Managers from some of the top companies (such as Reliance, HSBC, Flipkart, ABG, HUL, TAS, etc) judging the annual Summer Saga competition. We will release the details of the judges of Summer Saga Season 8 soon!
Check out the previous year's winners!
Maybe this will help you reflect and recall these two months as well (which can come in handy when appearing for interviews in the future). InsideIIM is the perfect platform to chronicle your experiences, your highs, your lows and everything in between.
So guys, what are you waiting for? Start writing! You have a voice. You have the experience. Make the best of it!