Summer Internship with Godfrey Phillips India Limited – Ritu Jhajharia from Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad (MICA)

Daily Winner for: –  4th August 2013Ritu

Name of the intern: – Ritu Jhajharia

Institute: –  Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad (MICA)

Organization interned with: –  Godfrey Phillips India Limited

That Smoking Hot Summer in Delhi (literally!)

When I was selected to intern at Godfrey-Phillips India Limited, the house behind legendary brands like Red & White and Four Square, everyone who knows me, was funnily baffled.

A staunch anti-smoker is going to innovate ways to market cigarettes. Someone who can’t even stand in a smoking zone or near friends, who’re smoking, is going to market those same cigarettes. I joined amidst so much speculation and was totally unclear about what could I do to work for a product which is not just alien to me but which I would never use myself, even remotely.

All that seems to be a haze now.Since then, every moment had been such that I could not wait to hit the office every morning. First thing, my boss asked me, wasto find out “what a good cigarette is”. My friends could not stop laughing. And I deconstructed it exactly in the same manner I deconstructed my first computer during engineering (yes, I’m a true blue Computer Engineer).

The treatment doled out was no less than a luxury at office. There was no such thing as “just an intern”there. The office location was one of the coolest parts, everything was right there in the complex, right from loads of restaurants serving almost every possible kind of cuisine, to multiplex, to consulates; and add that happening crowd to all of it.

So the dream internship starts with my reporting straight to the General Manager (Marketing). Then I get one more mentor. So I get to work on two live projects simultaneously and reported to two mentors. One made me conceptualize new product launches, marketing strategies and another pushed me to do a lot of creative things.

First day, I got the best brief I could imagine, in fact beyond my expectation. It was too good to be true. But hell, it was true.

“The purpose to take you is to infuse newness, freshness and whackiness in the system. You’re not part of system and we expect you not to become one during your stay here for internship. Don’t understand the system and tell us same things that we already know. Give us a piece of your mind (Yes, he said exactly that). Do all the crazy things that you can. Don’t be afraid. Be free and let your creative wings fly. Do the new. You’ve complete freedom to devise concepts as you want. Present them, wow us, get approvals and it goes straight to market. The banner that you dream, events that you plan, teasers that tease and tempt grey cells of your brain, they’ll be right there in market. So just go, start rolling and have fun.”

‘Holy smoke!Wow!!’

GM gave me international bestsellers to research and conceptualize new brands. I had complete freedom to dream it. So officially I was researching and living luxury and treating myself to understand it so deeply that I could offer a product never been presented to Indian consumers, who have such an acute taste and hunger for luxury. I was researching at DLF Emporio (India’s first exclusive luxury mall), making awesome presentations and developing a new brand. I was being invited to present my concepts in front of big-shots and accolades were just pouring on my way.

And finally the excitement of the launch event that I had been planning and managing for a while (it’s my forte). I got to work with a hottie from a leading advertising agency for that event and many more that followed after the astounding success of this one. He messaged me the evening we got done with our first event “It was a pleasure working with you, Ritu. I hope there were many more people like you I could work with.” The pleasure was actually all mine. Ever heard of ‘Aam ke aam, guthliyon ke daam’?

Oh! Speaking of hotties, I’ve to mention the hottie sitting right next to my desk with whom I shared my cubicle and later on lunches, parties, trips, laughter, tears and a solid bond of friendship. The guy apparently used to be the lead guitarist of a Delhi-based rock band. So just imagine enjoying your summer in company of a cool and hip rocker who also happens to be very caring. Talk about the perks of internship.

This was the internship, better than dreams and I lived it to the hilt every day. As they say you stop working and start living the moment you start doing what you love. It’s not work anymore, it’s the dream coming alive. The only complain I can make is why it’s gone in a puff of smoke (quite literally) like all good times.

For once, ‘Thank you for smoking!’ (pun intended)

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