Daily Winner for: – 22nd August 2013
Name of the intern: – Swapnil Surve
Institute: – VJTI
Organization interned with: – Religare Invesco Asset Management Company
I was a summer intern at Religare Invesco Mutual Fund working on a marketing-based project which was centred around social media. Bagging the internship itself was quite a bit of a struggle for me since I was looking for a non-technical internship despite being an IT student from VJTI, an engineering college. I used to send my resume across to all these companies and start-ups which would publicize about internship positions on various online portals. I went through as many as 6 interviews, all at different companies, some of which didn’t want an engineer who didn’t specifically want technical work while the work offered by the other companies was not what I wanted to do. I even tried using contacts, as was advised by most of my VJTI seniors for getting a management-based internship. But nothing was working out and I had almost lost hope of getting a decent acceptable summer internship since my engineering exams were approaching and I didn’t want to waste any more time.
Then one day, I got a call from Religare Invesco in the middle of my exams for an interview. I wasn’t very excited about it as I was almost sure that even this wouldn’t work out. So, I scheduled the interview on the day of my last exam. I was so chilled out about the interview that I didn’t even bother to wear proper formals. And there is more. I was in such a hurry while leaving for my exam in the morning that I accidentally wore two different slippers on my feet. And I didn’t realize this until I was waiting for the interview in the lobby of Religare!
The interview was casual and even though my boss taunted me about not wearing formals, luckily he didn’t notice the mismatched footwear. And I was offered the internship there itself, but, without a stipend as I had expected. They wanted me to work on a project called ‘Leveraging Social Media For Mutual Funds’. It was more like a work-from-home internship where I had to report to my mentors once or twice a week so that they could give feedback and show me the way ahead. Just as the name suggests, the project was about using the power of social media for marketing mutual funds. I was basically told to conduct extensive market research and propose a social media strategy for Religare Invesco MF. Social media as a platform might sound a bit unusual for marketing something as serious as financial services like mutual funds. But this perspective changes completely when we start looking at social media as something other than just a virtual world of networking with friends.
Most of my work was done at home, browsing through hundreds of blogs and statistics about social media websites and drawing inferences from all the research. I was told to look up things like social media penetration statistics and various successful as well as failed global practices. Then, after all the inferences, I had to apply my own ideas and propose a social media strategy to be implemented by Religare Invesco on each of the social media platforms.
I started using my Facebook and Twitter accounts for more than just sharing funny photos and putting up status updates. I would track the all financial services companies in India and try to analyse their social media campaigns and determine their strongest as well as weakest aspects. Every week, I would go to meet my two mentors and they would tell me where I’m going wrong and how I could make my final presentation as crisp and effective as possible.
Over this period of time, most of my perceptions about social media changed and its immense power and potential completely encapsulated me. I now believe that it is the future of networking and marketing where brands would fight for capturing the consumer’s attention while he’s busy browsing his daily timeline. I also got a sneak-peak of how the corporate world works and got to meet my mentor who turned out to be one of the most inspiring persons I have ever met.
I finished the project in about one and a half months. My mentor was satisfied with my work and surprised me on my last day with a minor stipend calling it a ‘token of appreciation from Religare Invesco’. I was so not expecting my life’s first salary to come completely unexpected. The internship couldn’t have ended in a better way.
As a whole, my advice to anyone seeking internships would be to keep looking for the work that you want and never losing hope. You will surely get it after some struggle and once you get it, it could just turn out to be that life-changing moment for you. Work with dedication just for the learning experience. And never say no to snacks and beverages offered to you by your mentor!
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