G. Aparna interned with CavinKare Pvt Ltd this summer, and shares her an interesting tale of Chikki (a sweet manufactured by the company). Aparna is an MBA student at IBS Hyderabad. Read on to explore her story of internship.
“Hey stop! Hey Stop!” I was screaming at an auto, standing in the middle of Anna Salai, one of the busiest places of Chennai. I was sweating immensely, I tried waving hands, but not a single one stopped. My throat was dried up and falling weak on knees. It was peak summer time. I reached for the water bottle kept inside my bag and ahhh…Again, I woke up sweating as another day had dawned. I was in my third week of my internship and today I had to explore an entirely new area which totally was an alien area for me.
Let me take you back to the memory lane. I joined ICFAI Business School-Hyderabad in June 2013. I was on cloud nine as I knew I had made it to ICFAI after a great difficulty and clearing IBSAT and GD/PI. I came to the campus and was mesmerized by its breathtaking beauty. I was in love with my subjects and my favourite was Marketing. The Freshers day introduced me to the culture of IBS and slowly I got rolled into the routine and the grinding began.
We were told to apply for companies to do our internship for three months during the summer break. I applied in quite a few FMCG companies to pursue my passion for marketing. I got a call from an FMCG company at Chennai Office. The company had successfully transformed itself from a pure Personal Care player to an FMCG conglomerate with interests in Dairy, Snacks, Food and the Beverages businesses.
So fully prepared, after the formalities were done, I ventured into their office at Teynampet, Chennai. I met the Sr Brand Manager –as I had to report to him. With great expectations and anticipations. I was nervously waiting at the lounge. My mind was flooded with questions like: Will I be given a cabin –like the one over there? Will I be given a companion or I will be alone? How will my boss be-strict, friendly? I was literally nervous with these thoughts. I was observing things around me and I saw flurry of activities going on. Young girls, boys, men, women of all age groups were busily moving hitherto, absorbed in their own work. I could smell the aroma of coffee coming from the canteen there. I started thinking-“May be I will tell mom not give me anything to eat as I have a clean eating place at my work place.” And suddenly I heard my name being called .I entered a well lit room with sober interiors and I saw my senior sitting on the chair behind his work table. He smiled and made me comfortable and told me about the company.
He then introduced me to few employees. He said “ You will be working on a very interesting product.” My heart raced to hear what that product was – will it be milk product? Will it be cosmetic product? Suddenly I came out of the reviere-with a jolt.
“You have to work upon our –Chinnis Chikki (peanut candy)-Singles.”- He said.
“Ahh”– I thought, “Simple”. Then the SIP project began. A hypothesis was worked out. I was given a Time line to work with. I began with the broad understanding of the whole category followed by questionnaire designing, pilot testing and the consumer visits (door to door visit) and retail visits(kirana stores) across Chennai.
As days passed by, I started visiting shops nearby to check availability of this Chikki and to utter dismay I found they were found only in small petty shops which sold paan (beetel leaves). As I was given the singles category– only people with low income group were known to buy this product. The entire plan of action was charted out and my mission began.
I am a girl who had never gone out on my own, being pampered by my father. And here I was, visiting every small shop and house in the areas which I would have never gone. It was scary, but it was adventurous. I loved to talk to people with various tastes and likings. What bothered me the most was travelling to every nook and corner of Chennai which I had never done before in the peak summer. Sometimes by auto and sometimes by bus. The sweltering heat and Chennai’s climate really took upon my health and I got dehydrated and was advised rest for 3-4 days.
By now, I had learnt to become friendly with people and my Tamil language showed real improvement! In the mean time, I was made the coordinator for Chennai region by my college Professor. The final presentation date of my Summer Internship project was nearing.. Sigh!
It was finally the D-Day with all the nervousness and anxiety I went to my office to present my work which I had done for three long months. I started it off pretty well, and to my surprise, everything went really well. My professor and my guide were impressed and my hard work finally paid off! And there…it was an “A” grade. What I learnt in these three months, apart from the product Chikki, is that people who live in slums are more generous than people living in bungalows. And the kids, they shower their affection whether you give them goodies or not. Human moral nature includes a propensity to be empathetic, kind and good to visitors.
The product CHIKKI given to me taught me- The sweetness in life comes only after the caramelising of hard work and patience. You can add ingredients like kindness, empathy, laughter etc to have various flavours of life.
FYI! You can view the latest Internships in Chennai here.
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