Summer Internship with ITC Ltd. – Reality is different from perception

About Author: Deboprotim is a final year MBA (Management) student at Tezpur Central University. He interned in Guwahati with ITC Ltd. in the profile of Market Researcher.

Internships are meant to give students real life experiences of working in an organization and to help them in the application of their knowledge to solve some real life problems. I had the same experience when I did my summer internship with ITC Ltd in Guwahati. I had to go through a group discussion and personal interview before finally getting selected to intern in the same organization. ITC Ltd. (Indian Tobacco Company Limited) is a great place to learn the basics for any marketing individual like me. Anyone interested in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) market gets to learn a lot in ITC. It is one organization which provides its interns the ground level knowledge of marketing.

Before going through this experience of internship I was kind of happy and contented with myself because of all those marketing fundas, techniques, and concepts I had learnt from the marketing book of Philip Kotler and some You Tube videos. I thought I was industry ready and only needed a chance to apply this knowledge. Well my internship changed my opinion about myself. There is so much to learn in the field which can never be summed up in a book. Concepts in book seem so easy to understand that you feel like you have got it all, but believe me you got to get down there in the field if you really want to know the implications and intricacies of these concepts and techniques.

I was assigned a real project at ITC. By real here, I mean it was essential for ITC to carry on with the project and they needed it. For this project I had to perform a market survey of the retailers and wholesalers in Guwahati city. The day I got the project, I thought ‘What an easy task! Why do you need two months for this project?’ As I continued with my survey I realized just how wrong I was. For the next week I was busy preparing the questionnaire for the survey and also conveying and getting it approved by my two guides (organizational and institutional) with whom we were strictly instructed by our department to remain in touch. I was happy with my pace of work but the real trouble occurred once I was in the market, surveying the retailers and wholesalers.

It was Monday and my first day on the field. I wanted to cover as many retailers as I could and had set my target to 30. I entered the first shop and started explaining to the owner what I was doing and asked for his cooperation. To my surprise the owner was not even looking at me and spoke very little. I thought okay he is busy but let me ask him only a few questions. That way I wouldn’t neither be wasting much of his time nor mine. I could not even imagine what happened next. As I started asking him questions the owner got irritated with only two questions and started firing questions at me. He started asking me “How much are you getting paid ha?” “Don’t you have any other work to do?” I was surprised and shocked at the same time. Later he started abusing me and calling me names. I was the laughing stock standing out there in front of his shop. I was embarrassed and so, left the place in anger and confusion. I mean he could have answered a few questions at least. What was the problem?

I was discouraged and wanted to go back to my room instantly, but one of my friends out there in the market who was also doing a market survey for AMUL encouraged me to visit at least one more retail outlet. So I went to another one after much coaxing from my friend. There I was standing outside a second retail outlet thinking how should I go about this. How should I start? What should I ask so that I attract the owner’s attention and encourage him to answer what I wanted to know? I took a different approach this time but unfortunately I failed again. I could not get much information though I had succeeded in coming out of the outlet without getting abused this time. I went for one more retailer and this time I could get a little more information than the previous one. I was happy and got encouraged to continue until finally till evening I had visited 20 retail outlets. Gradually I learnt how to talk to the shop owners, exactly what to say and how to say or ask if you want to know something from them. I was doing well with my survey but it was not the same always. Sometimes I returned home visiting less than 10 outlets and sometimes the numbers rose to 25 retail outlets.

On the field I learnt a lot of things while I conversed with the retailers. At times I felt like I was learning a lot more than I could handle or remember. All that I learned in the last two semesters seemed nowhere applicable sometimes. It was a completely different place than what you imagine while studying those Philip Kotler’s Marketing books. I got to learn a lot of new things about the way a company maintained its distribution of products in the market, new ways of how they keep a check on its competitors, how they keep their customers happy and a lot more which I never got to learn from books. I had an exceptionally brilliant guide who knew the market very well. At times he would also scold me but overall it was like gathering pearls of wisdom from him. Two months passed by fast and I completed my work well on time.

The entire summer internship experience changed my expectations from the market. The world as described in the books seem so simple and easy but it’s a lot difficult in reality. There are problems to face and solve, people to please, some inevitable office politics to face; but one needs to persevere and toil hard if they want to learn. My patience, perseverance and confidence have grown a lot more after this experience. It was really a great learning experience. I would say it’s a must training for anyone in a professional course who would like to learn a little more and gain hands on experience of the way businesses work and on a different note; how the world works. I would like to sum up my experience by just one sentence ‘If you want to clean the drain, you got to get down there and get your hands dirty.’

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19 thoughts on “Summer Internship with ITC Ltd. – Reality is different from perception

  • September 10, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Lot more to learn bro… one year of my professional course was simply dissolved in mere 2 weeks as a trainee at job!!!!!

    • March 10, 2017 at 8:25 PM

      How you got that opportunity?

  • January 9, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Regarding summer internship programme in marketing

    Respected sir/madam,

    I am Laxminarayan Sahu, doing my PGDM from RCMA Bhubaneswar , Odisha .I secured in my first trimester 70%. Right now I am in search of a project which is part of my 4th trimester.I choosed my specialization in Marketing stream and I am ready to do the project in any topics. Please guide me if your company can provide me a project.the time duration of my summer internship programme is 45 days. Please help me regarding this.
    Please reply as soon as possible.

    Laxminarayan Sahu

  • January 9, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Regarding summer project programme in HR stream

    Respected sir/madam,

    I am sheela, pursuing my MBA(HR) from DBIT(VT university),Bangalore. I am in search of a summer project (HR stream). please guide me, If your company can provide me a project.
    please help me regarding this project for my partial fulfillment of my MBA course.
    please reply me.

    Sheela M

  • April 8, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    I am interested to internship in your company. I am persuing PGDM 3rd specialisation is marketing and finance. so please sent me reply for this message. thank you..

  • April 26, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    I am Deeksha Sharma doing Mba 1st year and completed 1st semister with 9.5 marks.I am interested Summer internship in Finance from your company in Delhi.So kindly send me reply for this message.
    and oblidge.
    Many Thanks
    Deeksha Sharma

  • May 18, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    I am currently pursuing my Mba at lingayas university and want to do an internship for two months please kindly help me find an internship

  • January 12, 2015 at 12:51 AM

    I am Antara, presently doing my Bachelors 2nd year from TISS. I want to do summer internship in companies providing HR guidance in India. Can you please suggest me where all I can do?

  • January 29, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    I am Deepak Kumar.I am persuing PGDM at siva sivani institute of management.i am in 3rd semister.
    I want to do an internship for two months please kindly help me find an internship

  • May 23, 2015 at 9:16 PM

    sir I want to do internship in your organisation. I am pursuing Masters in social work so please tell me is there any internship programme in your organisation for MSW students?

  • December 12, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    Sir I too wanted to do My summer internship from ITC guwahati. T present m doing PGDM from Indus business Academy, Bangalore. Please suggest me How to proced, How to apply.
    Thank you

  • May 17, 2017 at 6:55 PM

    I am S Avinash currently pursuing MBA from Sri Ramakrishna engineering college Coimbatore. I have taken marketing and logistics as my specialisation as we have dual specialisation. I would like to do internship at ITC so that I can learn many things starting from base and need to understand and learn the organisation structure of your company properly because learning is the base for everything.


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