Summer Internship with ConAgra Foods Inc. – Rahul Sharma from IIFT

Rahul Sharma (second from right) shares his experience of a wonderful internship which he aced through campus placement. Interned with a global foods company–ConAgra Foods Inc, Rahul is an MBA student at IIFT. Here’s his internship story.

A typical night during my summer internship, yeah right- not the day, would consist of scrambling through heaps of data and excel files to find sourcing opportunity for one of the world’s biggest and most reputed foods company based out of USA. I never experienced working in a start-up before, but now I can very well relate to the experience having to chart out every objective and every strategy to tackle it, on my own. Since I was tasked to find out the most economical supplier of a particular agricultural commodity with the best possible quality, there were no quantifiable goals set for me by my mentors. “Welcome to the club! Global Sourcing is a really niche function where you will be untangling a labyrinth of filters and sub-filters as to why NOT to choose this supplier or that. If anything survives those filters, you just got your million-dollar supplier!” I remember these words told by one of the previous interns–with characteristic solemnness–on phone during my first week of internship. He couldn’t have been more correct.

Talking about my first week of the 8-weeks long summer internship, much part of it was consumed by the Induction Program organized by the HR department of the company. It included sessions taken by representatives from all major departments, pep talk from top management, and various funny but, at times, imaginative group activities conducted by the assigned HR personnel to ascertain group dynamics of summer interns. Not to mention the exquisite lunch at venue of these activities!

But, that was it. Probably, the honeymoon period of what was to come during the course of my internship. I started with a fuming boss of my mentor for having threw away an entire week and being behind in the project at the very start. There was certainly some confusion regarding duration of my SIP between the Global Sourcing department and the HR department. However, all charged up and raring to go I was all in for the job at hand. I was supposed to update my mentors regarding progress of my project every Friday. After my first weekly presentation, my mentors were laughing hysterically. I knew from previous interns that my mentors were tough taskmasters and some of them had to sob through their presentations. So, what was happening with me that day was definitely worse. After making me feel like a cute Cinderella trying to fix an F1 racing car, they gave me some suggestions. I noted readily.

One of the best part of my internship was my 50 minutes metro commute from Hauz Khas metro station in Delhi where my college was located to Vodafone Belvedere Towers station in DLF Cybercity, Gurgaon right in front of my company office. In the sweltering heat of May, reading one of the pink newspapers in comfortably air-conditioned train cars was a big respite. I also had a cozy camaraderie with two other co-interns in the Global Sourcing team. As the time went by, due to huge dependency of my work on a good internet connection and a strict company policy for not allowing interns to use company’s broadband or wifi network eventually dished out work-from-home option for me by my mentors. Substantial precious time, however, had gone by then. In my following presentations, despite my best intentions I was only able to pull up a nod of satisfaction from my mentors. Maybe they were generous with that too!

Right into middle of my SIP, my mentor resigned, having worked in the company for 8 long years. He was a perfect example of how George Clooney would have worked in corporate. Most of my time in the office was spent in observing and emulating him and I naturally was a bit disarrayed at the news. His parting words were–”Keep reading, and never quit your company unless you have worked long enough like me.”

Afterwards, I kind of let myself sink in the labyrinth which I was supposed to untangle. I think I was more amazed to see how a corporate functions. I could now very well equate it to an organism. 8 weeks passed like a whiff. It was my first stint at any kind of job ever in my life and I can’t sum it in words, the huge experience and lessons I take out of it.

I am raring again. This time for a long haul!

Editor’s note- Have you got an internship story to share? A chance to win cool Internshala T and other cash prizes by sharing your internship story here.

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