“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The statement sums up perfectly what happens when a B-school intern after a year of intensive academics, enters into the corporate world. For some of us, it is the first exposure to the working environment, while for most of us, it is the first time when we are working in a high level managerial role with a gamut of scope to work. Hence as the quote aptly puts it, it is the time where the direction, content, breadth of the project and your involvement is decided by the person you know the best- You. I was lucky that such an opportunity befell me in the summer of 2018 at the RPG Group
I had been selected by the group almost 6 months back for the summer internship and I was excited to begin on this new journey. Flown in from our respective hometowns or B-schools directly and lodged for 2 days in Novotel Hotel in Juhu Beach in Mumbai, we interns had two days of an intensive session on the group companies, values, ice-breaking sessions, discussions to get us familiarized with the group. RPG is after all a conglomerate with companies spanning diverse fieldslike tyres, electrical distribution network, construction, energy products, IT solutions, pharmaceuticals, rubber etc. While the information in these 2 days was of immense help in getting accustomed to group companies, one encompassing sermon, that hinted at the group message for the intern was “Ambiguity will Prevail”. This would mean, like in the aforementioned quote that we will be given high leverage in our projects. I was glad to find it was the reality over the next two months.
The company that I was assigned was the one that manufactured energy products related to different power sectors and having a business unit for each of them. My project’s objective was to enter service areas with a focus on cross-selling within the different business units of the company. Hence effectively I was working for a conglomerate within a conglomerate! So much scope for synergy!
When I started my project, I was taken aback by the number of products the company had. A large amount of information within and outside the company worried me. It was difficult to take the project in one direction because of the abundance of alternatives. However, just like the problem emanated from a unique position of the company, the answer lied somewhere near, hidden but definite. I found the answer in the company’s people! Enter my Project guide, whom I had earlier found out, was from IIM C. All my apprehensions (at all if any) about “Ancient” XL-IIMC rivalry were put to rest across the next two months!. My guide while nudging the project in the right direction based on the company’s fit never ruled out or limited the scope of the project in any way. I was amazed by the amount of independence I was given in deciding the ideas and their packaging. Over the next two months, during reviews and constant feedback from her, a clear picture started to appear. I interviewed a lot of people from the different BU’s, the buddy that was assigned to me, HR managers and a lot of people for better understanding and perspective. I was amazed by the help I received from all the people and can definitely say that they are the company’s best assets.
Over the next two months, I fashioned my project out of numerous hours spent on the internet, feedback, reviews, and suggestions from people. From my experience, for any future intern, I have some advice: “It is sometimes difficult to get people’s time because of packed schedules, especially of the middle and upper management. However one has to stay persistent while respecting their time. Mailing them your suggestions, following up constantly can work wonders. Even a simple elevator talk can yield valuable information. In this regard, I have an interesting experience to share. As much I hated my assigned spot in the office near the combined recreation/ washroom area; it turned out to be a strategic location. I would greet people on their way out and get a little slice of their busy schedule. This was my way to gain some information and any new interns will have to find theirs.
At the end of the internship, I was happy to know that my hard work had paid off, my ideas were appreciated and I had got good scores from the reviewers. Looking back, I am amazed at the things I learnt during this period which will help me immensely in the industry.
Of course, these two months were valuable to me in more ways one can imagine in terms of experiences. Conducting fun Friday
’s and breaking ice with the employees, being lodged in the company’s guesthouse for the 2 months gorging on delicious food and bonding with other interns, taking a 1.5 hour journey to office along the beautiful Ghodbunder road, getting accustomed to the Mumbai local and its myriad unwritten protocols and most important of all learnings from my project and becoming a more confident and affirmative individual, I can proudly say it was one of the best times of my life!