Wildcard Entry for: – 27th July 2012
Name of the intern: – Sowmya Swaminathan
Institute: – SDNB Vaishnav College for Women
Organization interned with: – Money Wizards
As I hold the brown package which contains my first ever stipend in my hands, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for an internship that seemed as elusive as ever.
After waiting for nearly a year, I found a suitable internship with Money-Wizards, an IIM-B alumni start-up. The enterprise basically aims to impart financial literacy to all. And in this internship, the intern was supposed to conduct “Money Champ Summer Camp” for kids aged between 10-13. After an informal interview with my mentor/boss at a CCD outlet, I was selected. I gleefully accepted their offer. I had to teach my students about money management and make them “Money Champs”. Everything from budgets to business strategies were covered in the syllabus. I was sent the teacher’s manual early, so that I could have a look at it beforehand. I went through it earnestly. I discovered that I had done all of those concepts in high school and hoped that it would be easy. My work began on May 1st and ended on the 25th. I was assigned the T.Nagar camp. I had to handle two batches and for each batch, the camp was for ten days. My class was from 2.30pm till 4pm (but it went on till 5pm mostly!).
The commute was difficult initially, but I soon learnt to accept it. I had to drive to the nearest railway station. Then I took a train and got down at Mambalam. From there, I had to walk for fifteen minutes to reach my camp place. I had to find my way through the “eternally crowded” Ranganathan street and North Usman Road. I passed through all those hawkers and vendors, my eyes darting from the colorful outfits to the mouth-watering juices. They were my only source of distractions in that otherwise blistering climate. I covered myself with a dupatta and tackled the summer somehow. My first impression of the T.Nagar camp place was that it was colorful and pleasant looking, decorated with Tom-Jerry, Dora and the like. I ended up enjoying them more than the kids there!
But the most beautiful part of my internship was not the cartoon characters or the commuting experiences. It was the people there – my mentor, my colleagues and my students. You might go to any organization in the world, but I bet you wouldn’t find people nicer than them. My mentor was a professional in the truest sense of the word. He always invited me to give my feedback and clarify my doubts, however silly or childish they sounded. He valued my opinion and gave me valuable insights on various issues. My colleagues were so good at heart. From conducting games to concocting coffee during the break – they gave me a helping hand whenever I needed it. They also helped in making me feel comfortable, but they needn’t have tried much – I automatically fit in there. It was a natural process.
Ah, how can I forget to write about my students here? Playful and imperfect, yet observant and intelligent – my students were the best! I handled two batches, with five students in each batch. The two batches were poles apart! The first batch was the naughtiest gang I have ever seen. And the second batch was just the opposite. They were the biggest set of nerds I’ve ever met. I had much trouble with the first batch. From pulling each other’s legs (including mine!) to cracking jokes during my classes, they were such a fun-filled batch! But when you have loads of work to do and concepts to cover everyday, it tends to give you a real headache. Eventually, I learnt how to handle them. We also had our daily dose of interactions before, during and after the classes, where we discussed everything from spooky stories to (Chennai) Super Kings. We also had a blast playing games during the classes (yes, here the concepts are taught through games and activities, an innovative departure from the conventional teaching methods).
The camps for both the batches ended in style. The students had to make their own products on the last day. As you have guessed, it was aimed at bringing alive the spirit of entrepreneurship within the kids. Lemonades, sandwiches, bhel-puri, chocolate milk shake, home-made chocolates, paintings, handicrafts, photo frames, painted sea shells, Mother’s Day greeting cards – oh, their urge to be creative and innovative made me feel so proud of them! We arranged the stalls for them and they displayed their products with radiating smiles. They fixed their own prices, made charts and wrote tag-lines for their products. Everything was sold within half an hour! I purchased the maximum, consumed with an insatiable urge to encourage my kids. And they gleefully showed me their profits! This internship has given me the best summer ever, friends for a lifetime, and memories to look back for the rest of my life. Above all, it has also taught me that professionalism is not just a word, but a way of life. I wish to sign off by sharing my cloud nine moment during my internship: on the final day of the camp, a parent (who was present in my classes most of the time) told me about how enthusiastic I was, towards my work, and how I handled the children effectively yet lovingly. That was the most gratifying feedback I’d ever received.
As I hold the brown package which contains my first ever stipend in my hands, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards Money Wizards for giving me the best internship ever!