Pranav did his last internship with full dedication and enthusiasm. His summers were really productive as he ended up interning with one of the best company. He completely justified that there is no age for learning. He didn’t find his dream internship via social sites but genuinely made efforts.
When I told my friends that I will be doing an internship immediately after MBA, they thought I was being silly. I had just finished my MBA, had a job offer with a great brand in hand, and had already spent my summers in a much sought-after FMCG company that even won me an award in MBA summer internship competition. I had exactly three months of time to kill before starting my job, I wanted to learn and earn during this period instead of simply whiling away my time. I wanted to be associated with another excellent employer brand so that I could strengthen my own personal brand.
I spent about two weeks in searching for the right opportunity and I ended up getting an offer from an amazing brand- Schneider Electric. Surprisingly, I did not find this opportunity on an internship portal or via social media. I personally contacted a very senior recruitment personnel of the organisation, went through a telephonic interview and voila; I had the offer in hand. The job-hunting part actually taught me quite a few valuable career lessons:
1) Your dream company may not post all job openings in a job site- but that does not mean that they do not have any openings.
2) Do not shy away from contacting recruiters or other influential people for jobs or internships, you may get rejected or might not even receive a response, but that’s about it. You might also get the offer you were after, like I did.
3) Be very clear about what you want and confidently say no to offers that do not click well with you. All this while I also received offers from some other brands that were either not offering me a great project or were paying very less or were simply not the right fit for my profile.
May 4, 2015- my first day at Schneider. I was nervous and excited as I was commuting towards their Gurgaon, Cyber City office. I thought it would be a normal working day where I’ll meet my manager and start working on some basic stuff. It turned out that there were quite a few new employees that day and they had arranged for a 2-day orientation program for all of us. I was quite surprised and happy that despite being an I intern could be a part of it. I attended several sessions that helped me learn a lot about their business and people processes. Another day passed in orientation and I was all set to join their Noida office on day 3. All this while, my manager was in touch and regularly updated me about the next steps. Day-3 arrived and I felt a mixed bag of emotions. I was happy with the office and the facilities it offered. I enjoyed the company of my manager and other team members. But I was little apprehensive about my project. I had to assist my manager in a six sigma project for simplifying and digitizing several HR processes of the company. I used to hate studying operation management during MBA and this project required me to understand and appreciate at least the most basic concepts of the subject. There was actually no honeymoon period for me as I was allocated tasks and responsibilities right from day 1.
A week passed and I was still struggling with some of the things that I had to do. But my manager supported me by including me in all team meetings related to her project, connecting me with people from other teams who could help me, being very clear about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of my next steps, suggesting me what literature to read, and always being there to listen to my queries and answering them. I soon picked up and started performing. The project taught me several valuable lessons, such as stepping into the shoes of your end customer (or employees in our case) while designing a process or a system, and testing and piloting the solution before implementing it. But the most important lesson it taught me was how to measure the impact on your solution. Typically, HR is considered to be a touchy subject which has little understanding of the business. Most organisations still view the HR department as a cost center which cannot speak the language of the business. But the project helped me understand how each impact, every simple improvement, either it be in terms of reducing the number of steps an employee has to take, or reducing the amount of time they will consume or minimizing errors while carrying out any process can be measured to gain the support from business.
Besides doing things that I initially wasn’t sure of but later started enjoying. I also experienced some things that were of my interest. My manager knew that I have a flair in writing so she also involved me in creating content for internal staff communications. It felt great to see mailers being sent out to all employees which had content written and designed by me. Another great highlight from the internship, the Noida office celebrated kids’ day out and all employees could bring their kids to the office for a fun-filled day. I am extremely fond of kids and that day, I spent the whole time talking to kids, feeding them, playing with them and clicking several photos with them. I really loved that day and think it is such a great way to engage your employees and show them that you care about them and their families.
It was finally time to pack my bags and move on. But I took along with me lots of leanings and knowledge that help me in my current job and will continue to empower me in times to come. The internship clearly boosted my self-confidence due to the positive feedback I received from my manager and other team members. I also felt great that I managed to overcome my fear for operations. I really don’t think so I will be ever interning again in this lifetime so I am glad I did my last internship with a great organisation on a demanding project with a superb manager. I have done so many internships that I have totally lost count but I think I somehow managed to save the best one for the last.
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