Subhankar Chatterji, interned with Risk Management Advisor Pvt Ltd, talks how his desperation of getting a client helped him to survive in his internship in the start-up law firm. Subhankar is an MBA student at TAPMI. Read on to see what steps he had taken.
I, very finely remember that on the last day of exams of my 3rd semester, was very excited and probably that’s why I came out of the exam hall half an hour early. I went straight into my hostel room to check the last minute packing and wrapping-up of all things. It was time to leave for a journey of two months, full of fun and some learning too, for my internship. Finally, a group of seven people from my college left for the railway station, all relaxed and thinking of all the fun we would be having there. We boarded the train and left for our destination. Most of the planning of where to go, which all places to visit were googled and the time tables were fixed, with weekends being a must for outings and city tours.
At eight in the morning, we arrived at the City of Dreams, the financial capital of our country- Mumbai. The temperature was very hot but still people were very busy and nobody had time to wait, everyone looked so engaged, no one had any idea of what was happening next to them. We all planned to talk every day and embarked for our respective places, where we were provided lodging from our organization. I and my friend reached our room, and after some quick washing, which cannot be called taking a shower, took out our MBA costume. Yes! The black suit, and all dressed-up, we left for work.
Being the first day, we decided not to take the most dreaded local train and preferred to take an auto. The roads were jam packed and no sign of relief from the climate, and the auto-meter beeps was making us all even more impatient. With every beep, the meter and our BP, both were going up. Finally we reached our organization. As against our expectations, it was situated on the third floor of a mall. It was a start-up consultancy firm and we had an initial introduction and a small round of interview, followed by assigning the mentor and who will report to whom, I was fortunate that the CEO was my mentor for the next two months and I was supposed to work with him and assist him. I was given a fancy project title ‘Risk and Fraud Management in an Organization’. Our work started and on the same day, I was asked to meet a prospective client and convert the lead. I was asked to accompany the CEO. So we left the office, we went straight to the parking and then I was imagining which car would be his. With our typical Delhi style of judging a person by his car, we kept on moving and I realized that we had crossed almost all the cars and we were heading to some other direction. It was the time of first reality check: all entrepreneurs are not big and do not have fancy cars. 10 minutes later I was sitting again in auto with my CEO, going to meet the client. The meeting was successful and the feeling of achievement was great. I felt like being a consultant who has just cracked a deal. Finally we reached office and it was time to leave for home, sorry back to room. After reaching the room, we cancelled our plan of going out.
The next day was the most important day, as we were expecting the confirmation call from the client and more importantly, I prepared myself whole night that I need to travel by local train tomorrow. To my surprise, it was not that difficult and probably the most beautiful means of transport in Mumbai, if you wish to reach a place on time. People were helpful and I somehow managed to use the transport for the next 2 months of my stay in Mumbai. I entered the office and a bad news was waiting for me. The client had actually refused our offer. So, the second reality check: things are not as good as they look like and in corporate world, it is difficult to know what you can land into the very next minute.
Being a start-up firm, the next job after the refusal was to go and meet the same person again and again and pitch him for the project. Every day we went there, sat for hours and then back. We eventually offered the client to work for free, which meant no stipend for me but still we didn’t get the project. Finally, after a week, it was clear that we won’t get the project. I was without a project even after a week and therefore, had nothing to boast of, as my other friends did.
I realized how difficult can it be to be a part of a start-up firm. I was given the task of finding new clients for the firm. So from finance project, it suddenly changed to sales project and I realized there is only one thing which happens in a start-up firm- sales. I was given a geographic area between two stations Malad and Andheri and I was asked to pitch and get some new customers for the firm. One more truth I realized was that a branded firm is important in today’s world. I somehow managed to get a couple of clients, tried to arrange a meeting and finally, I was able to find one client who was looking for some consultant for risk management and fraud prevention consultancy firm. But the problem was that a consultancy firm had already approached him and the deal was more or less fixed. It is very rightly said: “When you do not have anything to lose, you can be the greatest winner”. So I took permission from my CEO and offered to work for him at “no cost commitment basis”. Honestly speaking, it is same as working for free, but this time we got the project and I understood the meaning of branding and also that choosing words can be very important.
One month was already over and only a month left. I tried to start working on the project as early as possible and now I knew the importance of the project as now I understand, how difficult it is to get a project than doing a project. My work was appreciated by the client, though we were not paid anything by the client but while leaving the firm, we were actually in talks about working with them on some more projects as he, probably had built a trust upon us. So everybody was benefited. It’s just that I did not get my stipend but learnt some of the very important things which I probably could not have learnt being in a big or multinational firm.
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