Pawan Poona (left-most) interned at Aon Global Insurance Brokers Pvt Ltd this summer and shares his an enthralling story with us. Pawan is an MBA student at Birla Institute of Management Technology. Read on to discover his interesting story here.
AON Global Insurance Brokers (AGIB), the name itself was heavy enough to drive somebody crazy at our campus. A leading insurance broker company and surely has a very professional work culture. I remember our alumnus Mr. Arjun Sharma, who is working there came to our institute for an interaction session. That guest lecture changed everything for me. Working as a Senior manager in Sports, Leisure and Entertainment department, he lit up the scenario well and delivered a lot of good things. He also said that the company doesn’t really have the policy of picking interns or even final placement thing. This meant we had no chance of getting into this firm.
After the session was over, I surely was in a different world. All these years I have had so much of sports and movies rush in me, and now there’s work related to it. I had in mind to make an entry into AGIB. I didn’t know how, but I was pretty adamant about it. It was October itself when I sent my resume to Mr Arjun and started tracking him for my summers. I remember my faculty asking me to stop tracking AGIB and sit for other company who were making visit to the college for summers call.
But patience did yield good result; a call from the company cleared all the low moments in one go. 1st April it was when the mail came and I surely started feeling as the luckiest person alive. AON, Manchester United, Mumbai calling, sports and entertainment insurance, there were endless thoughts playing within me. It took me 6 months to get hold of the final internship call. I remember how very difficult it was. The anxious moments and the amount of patience I had to go by was the toughest of all.
20th April, I landed in the financial capital. Mumbai has always been such a terrific place and it started behaving like that from the first day. Thanks to my cousin Nirmal, I had a place to stay. 3 BHK and 5 bachelors, it couldn’t have been better than this. The opening day was just perfect.
I started feeling good about everything and then came 21st., first day at AGIB. Nervousness was obvious, but the excitement was at par. The head office was located at Dalamal House in Nariman Point, only if that place needs an introduction. Possibly one of the biggest and busiest commercial hub of the country. But to reach there was one crazy task. Kandivali to Nariman point, shared auto, western line local travel followed by shared auto, this is how you reach your office. Shared auto is okay but catching up Churchgate local in the morning is seriously a frightening task. I can say that travelling in Mumbai local in peak hours is the craziest thing one could do. Forget about getting a seat, one could barely move until the train makes it either to Bandra or sometimes Dadar. Somehow with god’s grace I made it to the head office. And yes, on time.
A meeting was scheduled with HR-Director, Ms Sudha Jayashankar, I can say that there have been very few people who have left an everlasting impression on me. She was surely the first in Mumbai. I thought she was a bit rude but then I believe it was more professional gesture from her side to grill me. Honestly, I was not comfortable but waited for that meeting to get over.
About an hour later, I met the man who has been my savior for last 6 months, Mr Arjun Sharma. He briefed me about AGIB and his department Sports Leisure and entertainment (SLE). First day, I was being asked to study about SLE and pick up my project from the three options provided by AGIB itself. After looking into the plusses, we mutually decided on a project titled, “Risk Management of International Cricket Venues”. I could only say wow for this very project. Crazy follower of this game, there was a lot going in my mind. But then this is not how it works in corporate world.
I had to leave that college guy image behind and make a mark and then only I could possibly feel good about my internship. The task was to extract last 15 years matches data from 79 different venues of the world and then analyze as of what were the reasons for cancellation, abandonment and curtailment of matches. And hence I started the proceedings. It looked easy in the initial stages but then they wouldn’t call somebody from thousand miles for such easy task. The project had just begun , the big part was yet to arrive.
A week later entered Mr Abizar Bohra, Assistant Manager (SLE), he was on a leave and thus was unaware about the proceedings. Another young lad in the SLE team, I could sense why this department is one of the top performer. I made Arjun Sharma my mentor and all my progress was to be reported to Mr Abizar Bohra.
Couple of weeks passed by and I was now heading on the right track for my project. Extracting data was one hell of a job. To first design a template and then fill up the statistics as per the design was what my phase 1 had. 2450 matches data was what I needed to bring on in a solid way, then only my analysis would look good and worthy. Meanwhile, I almost forgot that I am actually in the city which never sleeps. I didn’t explore which was surely to be done.
Coming of Mr Abizar meant that, i couldn’t use his workstation. There was some space on the opposite side. Of the 2 workstations, we could see only one being occupied, I was instructed by Mr Abizar to use that space. Installed my stuffed there and the very next moment I was being greeted by the person sitting next to me, Mr Bhavesh Dalal, Manager, Strategy. Bhavesh was one cool guy. Marathon runner, trekker, traveler and moreover a humble guy he was. Believe, this is how strategy people are, but it didn’t matter what profile he’s carrying, he’s like this only.
Next day entered Mr Bhupesh Kumar, National Head, SLE. I can say that I haven’t met anybody as dynamic as he was. A big name in this industry and surely his personality was something which did hit me. Mr Bhupesh had a style of its own, he doesn’t believe in 9-5 office culture, that’s the reason one can’t spot him in the office easily. He would hardly come to the office, but whenever he arrives, he makes thing carry pace. I have seen the office going live every time he’s there.
Mr Arjun introduced me to Mr Bhupesh. “How’s it going young boy” said Mr Bhupesh.
“Very good sir”, came out of me.
“Is it ?” said Mr Bhupesh with a puzzled look.
“Oh Yes sir, Absolutely! ” I replied.
“Let’s track your status then. Arjun, let’s go for lunch. Take this new guy along ” said Mr Bhupesh while he walked outside.
A lot started sprawling in my head. And then Arjun sir asked me to chill and accompany them. For those who have worked with Mr Bhupesh would know that he doesn’t carry lunch. He would always have something from outside. Never from the pantry, never order something from outside and have it in his cabin, He’d always go out and have his stuff. It’s during the lunch time only that he discuss things with Arjun and Abizar sir and take updates. That day we went to some bakery shop in the Trident hotel. For obvious reason I had the best sandwich of my life. Mr Bhupesh took me 10 years back when he started this department and how he along with his team swayed away all the challenges and placed SLE to new heights. It was indeed very motivational shift from his side. Believe that’s the reason why he’s in that position.
Next day Bhavesh sir gave me a list of places to visit in Mumbai. By then I started gelling up well with him. Though he was in his 30s, but one could never figure out after seeing his physique. He looked like a college boy every day. Such was the glow in his face. Despite knowing the fact that I am working as an intern, he’d always show his interest on my project. He’d always ping me in middle and ask for my status.
Mondegar at Colaba, ferry ride, hanging around at Kala Ghoda etc, these were the few hangout activities I did with my classmates who were in Mumbai too for their internship. Despite having 2 days off in a week, I could hardly make it out with them as I majorly devoted my weekend in having good rest and picking up more on my project. This annoyed my friends, I tried to explain them my situation as of how my project has shaped up, but why should they listen? “Even we are working as interns and still available for friends”, this happened to be there choice dialogue and deliberately made me feel bad.
Every Monday had something new in my mind, the same was with Arjun and Abizar sir too. This showed about their interest on my project. The reason behind was that there was no such study carried out before and moreover my analysis would serve as a research tool for AGIB. This was what made them excited and the same did the trick on me too.
Phase 1 ended with me finishing data extraction. 11 countries, 79 venues, 2450 matches, Phew! I couldn’t believe that we now have everything which happened in the cricketing world in last 15 years be it tests, ODIs or even T20s. This data in abundance called for a proper analysis procedure.
Before stepping up in phase 2, there was a new entry in the AGIB family. Mr Sachin joined as an operation analyst, which meant that I had to relocate again. For the month, I was sitting next to Bhavesh sir, there was an attachment with that cubicle. But then I was not leaving office but shifting space.
Interestingly, the space crunch happened to be a big issue. There was not even a single workstation or a free place where I could carry out my work. I had 2 options, either to work in the reception area or in the pantry. It was not a good feeling to think and pick from the two.
Mr Xavier Marshall, Senior Manager, Administration came up with the idea to pick the workstation of people who are on leave. This means, now every day I need to check the register and decide on where to sit. Luckily, I was in head office and there were many personal cabins as the entire top management team used to work from there.
Luckily the law of averages in AGIB states that there would be at least one person on leave eaveryday. That was something I cheered about, also I had one backup fixed – Bhupesh sir’s cabin, as he doesn’t up every day. I now started rotating to different places. But the major concern was analysis part. Since the matches were largely affected due to rain, thus I had to make an entire study on the weather pattern of 79 different venues. I got the feeling that it’s going to be a mammoth task ahead.
Things changed for no good, I started devoting more time on the project. Late hours work became normal now. I would now stay as late till 10 pm in the office. The project surely got over me. The best thing about working late was that I used to travel in empty trains back home which surely used to give a good feeling.
During this course, I met with Miss Mallika Gangam and Miss Maria DSouza, both handling the operations work and were very nice to me. Also every day I would see Miss Sudha and pass her my greetings. Depending on her mood I used to get my replies. The tuning with her was still bad, I wanted that to be good but did nothing.
Some weekends were good, I’d party with my cousin and other jackers. We would continue late night talks and would hardly break an inch in the morning. I remember our maid making two rounds on weekends, as she wouldn’t get to do her job in one go on weekends, lazy us.
The project did reach to its end with my analysis report. The detailed analysis of all the venues definitely served the purpose. We now have the weather patterns of all the venues along with the rain forecast in coming years. This couldn’t have been possible without the help of my friends and faculty who were being completely thrashed by me over the research methodology.
During the two months, I can remember of the numerous lunches offered by Arjun and Abizar sir. Also I had the luxury to watch an IPL elimination match at Brabourne stadium from the members area stand. I didn’t make much on sightseeing but that’s okay when I see my project.
For the issuance of internship certificate, I had to meet Miss Sudha. The meeting was scheduled on my second last working day. Before entering into her cabin, I was being wished luck by the entire office as they knew I would be grilled for sure. Even I was prepared for it, the project built a lot of confidence in me. I was ready for everything. Unexpectedly, Miss Sudha started with a very soft tone, she was actually being nice to me. I was amused by her reaction, she was going through the entire report. But why would she go through the entire 100 page report.
“Good work Pawan” said Sudha ma’am. I was surely happy to hear that.
And then she started questioning about the different venues and some logical queries, I was surprised by her technical hold over this sport and it was then she told me that how big cricket follower she is. The conversation then went in a beautiful manner. She was continuously smiling and was happy about it. To be honest I thought if she’s the different Sudha Jayashankar I am interacting with.
And then all of a sudden she said, “Would you like to work with us?”
Woah!!! I was surely taken a back. I couldn’t utter a single word. I wanted to say a big yes, but the query put me in the different world. Was it a PPO she just made? Yes! Surely she just did that. But they don’t have policy to pick fresher. A lot was crumbling in my mind.
“I would love to, Ma’am,” I replied calmly.
She asked me to take time and let us know when my placement season starts.
Oh boy, this happened to be one crazy session. All were so happy to hear this. The employees there were surprised to what magic did I do to make her behave this way. Even they weren’t expecting this. Maybe she was like this only and it could have been her work which made her act the other way.
Meanwhile, I felt extremely happy about the project. On the farewell day, I gave the presentation to Mr Bhupesh. It wasn’t a cake walk like the earlier day, but yes there were numerous new things which he shared with me along with the possible improvements which could be done.
I handed over the analysis to them and they took me to for the farewell lunch. There was a lot which happened in these 2 months. From the boys staying at Kandivali to employees at AGIB, from making it to Brabourne Stadium to Kala Ghoda, from starting early morning churchgate local to late night work at office, from missing out fun with the classmates to placing more time on my project, everything has engraved a space in my heart. All these things made my project click.
I now proudly say that AGIB uses my report as a research tool. The experience has been enormous.
But a big credit to Arjun and Abizar sir, I asked them to be my mentor, but they made me their brother.
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