Bishal Hazarika interned at Cocla-Cola this summer, and shares his experience of working with this famous brand. Bishal is an MBA student at Narayana Business School. Read on to explore the interesting projects he undertook with Coca-Cola.
A Truly Unforgettable Experience
Every student who is pursuing a degree in management, is compulsorily needed to work in a company for a short duration, which lasts for 8-10 weeks, during which a student applies all his theoretical knowledge as well as his skills in practical world. It is an integral part of any management course, which is termed as “Summer Internship Program” or commonly referred as “internship”. Here, a student gets a chance to explore the corporate world and its ups and downs.
Being a management student I too had a chance to do the same. And finally the day came for which our mentors had been training us from past few months which included mock interviews, personality development, subject guidance, etc and then, the internship dates were declared and so were the companies.
It was 14th March, 2014, when the well-known beverages MNC, Coca Cola Hindustan Pvt. Ltd. came to our college i.e. Narayan Business School. And I was scheduled for the interview the same day in my college. I reached there on time, very well dressed in formal attire, short hairs, neat and clean. I was much tensed as it was my life’s first interview and that too with a big and well-known MNC. I remember I could feel butterflies in my stomach. I practiced a lot with my teachers in mock interview, but this feeling was different, as it was not mock, it was for ‘real’. So, finally the name was called and I was the first one to be interviewed. I entered the room and greeted the HR, and then the interview was started. For the next 15 minutes, questions were shot one by one, and I answered them quite good. And then it was over.
I was not very satisfied with my performance in it and was also not confident about my selection. As I was waiting for the reply, I received an email in the evening that I am selected. I never expected it and so was on cloud nine, very happy. The starting date for the internship was 1stApril, 2014.
On the first day i.e. 1st April, we were called in main office of the company, where a meeting was scheduled for all the selected interns. Being a marketing intern, we were allotted our areas, where we were supposed to work. I was allotted East Ahmedabad, which included areas like Vatwa GIDC, Bapu Nagar, and Maninagar. My main assignment was to look after all the retailers and manage supply and demand chain of the products of Coca-Cola in these particular areas, with the help and guidance ofMarket Developers (MD) for that area. For me that guidance came from a person naming Vipul Shah. When I first met this person at the time of induction I thought he would be very introvert and dominating person, which actually made me worry about few things. But, I was wrong, this person was actually opposite of what I thought off. He was very friendly and knowledgeable. On the very first day, he made me and the atmosphere so comfortable that I never thought that I am in a new place. I really learnt a lot from him, from basics of marketing till how to enjoy my work, everything.
My training was divided mainly in three areas. First was Vatwa, a rural area, where consumers priority was very up to the point, they never allowed us to sell any extra product, they bought only what they want. Second was Bapu Nagar, a semi urban area, where people were very dissatisfied with the company, they were always complaining. Lastly, it was Maninagar, an urban area, where the supply was less, and due to which retailers were very furious. At all the places where I worked, I mainly emphasized on branding and merchandising our products and tried to overcome all the challenges I faced. I communicated with retailers as well as with consumers, and took their feedbacks on the products. I even helped the retailers to set their refrigerators in their shops, sticking labels and posters, etc. Sometimes, I also helped the labor to unload the crates of soft drinks from the truck. Actually, for all those weeks I worked on ground level. I tried to understand the requirements and strategies of a person working at level zero. I mean, how can we expect a manager to satisfy his team or understand them if he don’t know the feelings of person working under him. How can that manager guide those people and achieve the results, if he don’t know how to work at that level? So here I was learning all those things, so that in future I can tell my subordinates how to do those things efficiently and effectively.
But internship is not only about work, there is also some part of fun in it. And that part of fun I received when I was posted outside the stadium, for an IPL match. I really enjoyed a lot while working there. As the official sponsor of IPL was PepsiCo, we people were not allowed to sell our products in the stadium, but being the competitor, how can we lose to them? We had a canopy outside the stadium and I was selling cold drinks like a tea seller on railway station. But that was the most amazing part. There were lots of hooting and everybody was shouting and was trying to sell their products. But even there I did my best, I sold the maximum number of bottles that day, and with the highest collection among our interns.
Finally, after few days of IPL match our internship was about to get over, and then that was the part which I call ‘sadness’. I was really not happy, as I was enjoying it with my new friends, and at the same time was working hard to learn new things and applying my theoretical knowledge to practicality. But, who can hold the time? Days and weeks passed and then the day arrived. Our internship was over!
For me internship was one of the best experience in my life, in which I was really very satisfied, the combination of work and fun at the same time. The learning and experiences in internship, I can never forget it.
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