Turns, Slopes And Dives Of My Summer Internship Experience At Marico – Soumyashree Barman -TISS, Mumbai

“Hello sir, Soumyashree this side. I’m here at the location that you had mentioned.” “Hi, stay there, I’ll reach in five.” “Okay, sir”, I said, scrunching my nose at the scorching sun as I waited for the DSR (district sales representative) near Goregaon station. My tryst with Marico started even before I embarked upon my internship, during a two-day market visit wherein I tried to gobble down as much information about the sales function as I could. Being a fresher, and meddling with theories and practices of human resources for the past eight months, it was refreshing to study and see live examples of the sales structures and go-to-market models of some products that have been part of people’s lives since the last three decades. At the end of the market visit, I went home with slightly swollen feet and a huge appreciation for the job of salesmen, along with my insights on the sales function.

Cut to the first day of my internship, as we had been asked, I entered the cafeteria on the fourth floor of a building which, when viewed from outside, can easily pass off as a larger than life war-tank. I looked at the bunch of part-nervous, part-excited looking people concentrated at one corner of the swanky cafeteria and joined them after concluding (by their expressions since I was experiencing mutual feelings) that they were my co-interns. Our initial attempts at knowing each other and relieving the jittery feeling were interrupted by the campus manager with whom we proceeded for the two-day induction which was loaded with interactions with almost all the CXOs of the of the organisation, sprinkled with scrumptious food.

My project was changed after the first two weeks and I was told by the CHRO that I must act like a consultant who was hired to make the BHRs (business human resource manager) of Marico the strongest in the industry. When I heard about the project, I was clueless for the first few moments, thinking to myself that the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world that we have been discussing and deliberating upon since the time I had started with my Masters is finally going to unfurl itself and how.

I discussed my project for hours with my guide and superpower super-guide and constantly took inputs from them. During this course of two months, I spoke to people handling different parts of business to understand their expectations and challenges faced with the role, and with each conversation, I saw myself evolving through questions I used to ask myself that would help me open up to more and more dimensions within a single domain of HR. When I took my buddy through the annexure of the list of people I spoke to within the organisation, I was intrigued as he told me that these are ‘big’ people of the industry because all I felt when I spoke to them was that how chilled-out, easy to talk to and knowledgeable these people were.

So, after multiple iterations of the framework that I had developed for strengthening the role of BHRs, I presented it to the CHRO and was questioned on the approach that I had taken. Though it was disheartening to see questions being raised on something that I had worked on non-stop for two months, I realised that it was not just a project that I had done, it was a learning that I had received, the finer dimensions of the field of HR that I had discovered, the bonds that I had formed with my co-interns, and ultimately, discovering my own self in newer ways that I had accomplished in the course of these two months. All in all, my experience at Marico was a tumultuous yet exciting journey which I do not see fading away in the distant future.

Soumyashree Barman

Soumyashree Barman is currently pusuing M.A. HRM & LR from Tata Institue of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She loves singing, listening to music, playing badminton and considers herself a reluctant reader.