‘The answers to my queries could not be Googled or manipulated with numbers’ – Shwetha Sivaraman,TAS Summer Intern 2013
Placed with Tata Administrative Services (TAS) and being a fresher myself, there were a lot of emotions churning through my stomach as the day came closer. What to expect, How to behave, what would be expected of me, will I be able to meet those expectations, doubts, anxiety, excitement and much more. With all this circling through my head I boarded the flight to Mumbai for a day’s induction. After landing in Mumbai, I welcomed the luxurious room awaiting us interns at Taj Land’s End in Bandra and was mesmerized by the view from the hotel. Next morning, we were given a sneak peek into the vast Tata Enterprise and my was it something brilliant at Tata International. Right after the induction we packed our bags and left in different directions to our project destinations.
I was placed with Tata Power Solar Systems (TPSS) and was assigned a project on Policy Advocacy. The project was focused on strategy and business development to analyze the potential of leveraging solar policies to expand the scope of the business. When I was first given the project description I was puzzled, I thought of what I would do in the policy sector. I somehow had an image that the policy would be a monotonous segment but I must say I was pleasantly surprised. There is so much one can work around in the policy segment, so much that the obviousness of it would stare right at you in multiple scenarios but you would see no one taking up the issue.
Being from a commerce background myself, the solar sector was something completely new. My first week was completely absorbed in getting an idea of the industry, the current policy scenario, the position TPSS in the market, how the business is done and the likes. Learning I must say was something that never stopped all through my internship. Not just in the field related to my project but also in the matters regarding handling people, getting information out of people, understanding their behaviors, how to approach a situation, what to do in a crisis, what to tell certain people and how to tell it and several other aspects.
The most challenging aspect of my project was the core of my project itself – Policy. The industry itself is so perception driven in nature that it was difficult to get an unbiased view in the first place. Data Analysis became the toughest part for objective information hard to find which made an objective analysis of the current scenario harder to derive. Also, comparison of such policies internationally did not offer much aid, for there were so many parameters that differed across geographies that a base platform to measure them all was close to impossible to conceive. So I was stuck, no objective data to compile, no similar data to compare and then I realized the biggest blunder of it all, the answers to my queries could not be ‘googled’ or manipulated with numbers but was right in front of me the whole time. The people who worked with TPSS were my hands-on sources; they have faced all the issues in the policy domain face-to-face and know it better than anybody else. My own project owner who has been working in the field of diplomacy throughout her career, the people and the network she had were my sources. They had a gold mine of information that no one has used to expand the business of TPSS. Once I realized this, my task was plain simple- Be behind every manager and Senior manager at TPSS who has been in the industry long enough to spare time and give some information to me and at the same time verify it with my boss periodically to ensure I was on the right track. Once I cracked this, there was no stopping me. I figured out the key areas that dampened the growth of TPSS, the areas where our businesses lacked, the untapped potential that could be the jackpot for TPSS and also the roadmap that they could lean on for the near future to leverage policies in India. I left for Mumbai for the presentations with the best ratings and lots of nostalgia and excitement of the coming days. My second innings in Mumbai for the summer had a destination of Taj President at Cuffe Parade this time. Though the presentations did not end in a note I wanted it too, it was an unforgettable experience and I will carry the lessons learnt with me for a long-long time.
The most enjoyable aspect for me as a part of this internship I would say was the opportunity to interact with the best of minds at the company right from the CEO to the project managers who directly supervised the solar installations for various projects undertaken. The several conversations that I shared with my project owner still play in my mind. The way she made me feel at ease right from the start, the way we were able to bond over our shared views on certain aspects of life and a lot more. Apart from that, I also got a chance to discuss and interact with several people at the industry be it people from the ministry, consultants from PwC or energy analysts; all this gave me different viewpoints, perceptions and dimensions to look at the solar industry and was insightful.
The greatest learning from my internship, I would say was how I could challenge myself, how I could push the boundaries and do more than what was expected from me. Though I gained a lot of insights into a new industry for me, got a sneak peek into the corporate scenario and how business is done, how to talk to people, interact and behave with them so as to create a lasting impact my main learning was about myself. I discovered a lot more about myself during the internship and the final presentations back at Mumbai that would stay with me forever and more.
– Shwetha Sivaraman, XLRI, Class of 2014
This experience is a part of the InsideIIM Summer Saga Contest 2013.
To read more Summer Internship experiences on InsideIIM-