About the Author: Tanika Monga is pursuing B.Com from School of Open Learning, Delhi University. She shares how she explored her various interests through internships and created her own roadmap to success.
After facing the brunt of typical Indian percentage tyranny for years, the final blow came in the form of board exams. It wasn’t possible to get admission into good colleges of Delhi University (DU) with my marks. I had always wanted to get into DU and enjoy the regular college – who doesn’t? I was heartbroken and didn’t want to join any other college. I took admission in School of Open Learning, DU, – for a distance learning course – that I hadn’t even set my eyes on. For four months, I just passed time browsing on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. I wasn’t much interested in the B.Com curriculum and other ‘college’ activities, and so the routine was pretty much the same – Eat. Sleep. Browse. Repeat.
One day while talking to my elder brother, I came to know about internships. Before that, I had no idea about what an internship was and why it was important for one’s career. Since I had a lot of free time on my hands, I decided to go for an internship to gain some experience and pocket money. I got to know about The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) from my college and applied for an internship through the ICAI website. After a short telephonic interview, I was hired as a marketing intern. I handled various responsibilities for the Committee for Members in Industry (CMII). The internship lasted for 3 months and I got a fair idea of the corporate life. I decided to explore opportunities in different domains; my journey had just begun.
Next, I was shortlisted for Zomato’s content team as a Photo and Content Moderation intern. I was smitten by Zomato’s digital marketing and design accomplishments and wanted to work with the team behind it. One day, I came across a post on their Facebook page about an opening and I applied. I didn’t have much idea about photo moderation but was shortlisted for an interview. I was asked about my hobbies, future plans, and specifically about why I chose to pursue a correspondence course rather than attending regular college. I answered all the questions confidently and was hired. Zomato’s work culture was pretty amazing. Free food, flexible timings, amazing office, and casual dressing – I enjoyed every bit of it. I put my heart into the work and learned the intricacies of photography, filters, and design & theme alignment along the way. The amazing journey lasted for only 1.5 months as I had to prepare for my exams.
However, my tryst with internships didn’t stop. I had understood that an internship was the medium to follow my various interests. I kept searching for internships in different domains as I still wasn’t clear about my real passion. I came to know about internship opportunities at Nearbuy (previously called as Groupon) through their social media posts. I had a reference and was shortlisted for the role of HR. I was again asked same questions about doing a correspondence course and why I wanted to join as an HR. I answered confidently and was hired. The work was quite difficult in the beginning as I needed to understand the roles and responsibilities of an HR and had many doubts. With time, I cleared all my doubts and the amazing colleagues further helped me. My work included employee engagement, primary screening of candidates through telephonic interviews, onboarding of employees etc. I was the youngest one in the whole office and had helluva time during those 5 months. Apart from these tasks, I also learned about various other things that an HR handles. It was possible because of the mentor that I had; she always encouraged me to learn new things.
In the 2nd year of college, I came across a portal called Internshala which facilitated my quest for internships. I no longer needed to scourge for internship openings on various social media channels; I applied to various internships through one portal itself. Soon, I got shortlisted for an HR internship at Fever 104 FM. After a brief telephonic interview in which I was asked about my learning from previous internships and my future plans, I was hired! I met a lot of new people including celebrities and RJs during this internship. I handled various tasks like maintaining employee database, monthly reward and recognition activities, employee engagement activities (like birthday celebrations, ice-breaking sessions, celebratory events etc.), and sourcing of candidates through job portals. I worked with them for 5 months and got a good understanding of engagement, hiring, and payroll.
I was in touch with my mentor at Nearbuy all this time. They had an internship opening for a short duration in HR, focusing only on recruitment. As I had already discovered that I was more inclined towards the recruitment activities, I decided to join them. This time I learned the intricacies of the hiring process. Maintaining the MIS tracker, interviewing different candidates personally, creating offer letters and relieving letters etc. were some of the tasks that I handled.
After this short stint, I was sure that I wanted to make a career in the field of human resources, specifically in recruitment. I again applied to different internships on Internshala and, on one lucky day, got shortlisted by none other than Ernst & Young! I had to face both telephonic and personal interview rounds. I was grilled about my experience of hiring, engagement activities etc. I was also asked to explain the value that my selection would add to the team. The interviewer also wanted to know why I had done internships in different domains and the reason behind making those switches. Even today I remember that answer because it was, in fact, an honest summary of my short career. I said:
“I wasn’t sure where my interests lied and since internships are for a short duration, I have been balancing my career’s equation through hit and trial method. I’m happy that now I’m not only clear about my passion, but all these experiences have also helped in my overall development.”
And I was hired! The dream of accomplishing something big was finally fulfilled. I’ve been interning at EY since then and enjoying the corporate life. The work here is pretty interesting, and I don’t even need to say anything about the work culture!
In the end, I would like to say only one thing to all the students – Don’t stop learning and don’t let a mark sheet define your career. You might get disheartened if your percentage is low, but it’s not the end! The name of your college or the score on your mark sheet doesn’t matter in the long run; you only hold the key to your success. I’ve seen my fair share of failures too, but I’ve always learned from them. So, whatever you do, wherever you go, always keep learning.
Inspired by how Tanika built her career? Apply to these HR internships and start building your own!