Summer Saga: ABG Leadership Program

It was 6 in the evening and I had just crossed the road to reach home from office. As was usual, I ordered a mango shake in the nearby juice corner and sat down on the stairs to wait for it. The weather was pleasant and I just sat observing the busy people moving around me. A couple of months back I could not have believed if anyone would have told me that I would be sitting in Bangalore- and that too happily enjoying my mango juice. Absent-mindedly staring at the busy road, I reflected back on the two months that I have been in this wonderful city…

The Beginning

It was a February afternoon when my phone pinged and I saw in the subject line that the mail was from ABG HR. I knew what the contents of the mail would be- my summer internship project and the location. I had chosen marketing as my function and was looking forward to industry exposure. However, what I wasn’t looking forward to was the location, which was Bangalore. Having spent 98% of my life in Delhi, moving to Bangalore seemed scary as hell. Where would I live? How will I travel? I don’t even understand the local language! The next 2 months went by swiftly- with me haunted with anxiety about my two months in Bangalore.

From Chatrapati to Kempagowda

The first thing which stuck me during the drive from airport to our hotel was the name of the places- Marathahalli, Bellandur, Koramangala-how will I remember such names, coming from a place where Vihars and Nagars dominated the main places? Phew!

ABG, being one of the best employers of our country, had taken care of most of the things that I was anxious of. They had provided us with accommodation in a decent hotel for the entire stay in Bangalore and my office was just 7 minutes away from it. But the best part of my stay was the 3 other ABG interns with whom I was staying in the hotel. In the first weekend itself, they made sure that I had visited all major parts of the city and have a fair idea about the directions and places.

The Project and Team

Being a new business of the group, the 60-70 large team functioned like a start-up. The only difference was the people who had sufficient experience in the field they were hired in. As is common, the team’s average age was skewed towards younger age groups.

The main deliverable of my project was to craft a positioning of a celebrity menswear brand soon to be launched by the business. My manager and guide gave me the autonomy to choose the timelines and structure that I seemed fit and were always there to guide me whenever I required some help.

The foundation of my project was a thorough research of both the market and my target audience. Perhaps, conducting the research was one of the biggest learnings of this project. It instilled in me the importance of fieldwork and consumer insights for marketing of any product or service.  Complimenting this was the amazing culture that the office had.  Different functions of the business worked in the same office. This gave me the opportunity to interact and learn from all these different people- from designers to content managers to product team, and how they contributed in achieving the business goals.

As the two months passed, with the support and guidance of my manager and project guide, my project progressed towards the output part of my project. This part helped me to apply the insights that I had gathered from my research to take a real life marketing decision.

Back to Derailed Musings

Retrospectively, all my fears were short lived. Living in Bangalore taught me a lot of things- my inclination towards a core marketing profile, the fun of working in a start-up culture and learning from the awesome people that I met everyday. But more important were the memories that I had gathered in my office and with the other interns. Two months back I wouldn’t have believed that a place where I had no clue about the language, where the culture was exact opposite of where I had grown up, would come closer to being home.

Geetanjali Gulati

Intern at Aditya Birla Online Fashion