Akritee Bahal interned at Gulfic Biosciences and shares her days of internship with us. Akritee is an MBA student at Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. Read on to discover her story of internship.
Due to my unreasonably late exams all I got was just one day to pack my bags, shift my room & catch my train. I was going to my very own home town, Delhi. In this bad weather of heat going home in AC Rajadhani was my only relief. I had big plans of catching some sleep…Wait, did I just describe sleep as something big! (Read XIMB never sleeps & so not you) but thanks to Indian Railways- the AC of my coach broke down for around 3 hours & even after repair it was just running okay!
As soon as Delhi came, I pulled up my socks for partying, meeting friends & family, and having fun because I was just informed that my joining got a week late. Woohoo! But as it is rightly said, all good things are short lived, I was introduced to a new culture of ‘work from home’ through a long email describing what exactly I have to do. I had to understand and gauge retailer perception towards the flagship brands of the consumer division of Gufic Biosciences limited, my SIP organization. The two products were Shapers (sanitary napkin) & Stretchnil (pregnancy stretch marks prevention cream). As of now, I was given some material to read to gain better knowledge about the company & submit a research proposal.
It appeared like I really cannot get rid of my Economics teachings even during the summer. My internship was really becoming more than ever like a business cycle. A boom had manifested itself in week one only! Yes, it was Market research which I was asked to carry out. Well to me, I was still figuring out what I wrote in market research paper!
Nevertheless, I somehow managed to submit my proposal & joined office in Delhi after a week. Upon arrival I was promptly introduced to my mentor who had already contacted me by email, and was ushered straight to my desk. Met about 40 people, remembered 80% of the names (yeah, that’s where ALCOMM training helps remembering names of strangers), and that was it; work began. I sat down, and realized that I didn’t have access to pretty much anything except email.
Before I could even make myself feel comfortable, I was summoned to a team meeting. It was organized, intellectual, and full of numbers & targets. That’s when I realized I am interning in sales.
Another week started with some terrible news, I got to know that one of my friends at XIMB passed away. It was difficult to cope up with the situation & accept that this time when I will go back to hostel I won’t be seeing him anymore. As they say, death is the new beginning, I tried to assimilate into society right away. Gave myself enough time to deal with the blow of grief.
The same week, I started travelling on my own to the rural hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh & Rajasthan. Travelling alone gave me confidence; it was fun to spend with myself. Now I exactly know for what Uttar Pradesh roadways are so popular–the buses’ made more noise than the horns. And how can I forget to mention the suspicious & weird looks I got in bus, if someone managed to find out I am all alone.
Going Mawana, Aligarh, Firozabad (I was completely smitten by colorful bangles there, happened to buy some), Chomu, Bandikui, Dausa etc around 13 cities in total was a roller coaster ride. I was introduced as “Madam hain, Bombay se aayi hain” but to be true I don’t even know how Mumbai looks like. It was incredible (as I love appreciating myself), & hilarious how I made up stories about Bombay. “Talk,” yes, that’s the keyword if you want to pursue a successful career in sales. I came across retailers who, on the name of giving information related to survey, talked about anything and everything (read Modi, being a hot issue). At some places, I have waited for like half an hour or so just to get some handful amount of information. Surveying also helps you to get free lunches & free Chai at some retailer’s shop or distributor’s office, believe me I have experienced that. They say that’s how sales & marketing works.
You need to have good relations with the market players & food is something which every other Indian loves. I perceive that’s how the whole concept evolved. These sumptuous lunches which were free of cost were more like a lollypop given to a kid as I had to cover all the markets on foot in these small areas. A major problem that I faced was talking to male retailers about sanitary pads as it was one of products I was covering. Whenever the question about sanitary pads popped in the questionnaire, I was given a look of ‘are you kidding me!’
Finally the tour was over & I was back to numbers & data given by more than 500 retailers. Transferring data into excel is the most vella (idle) job on this planet. After that, the big job comes–’Analysis’, where you have to prove that you have really learned all those software, analytical tools & techniques, and not just prepared the last year’s exam to score. I suggested innovative ideas like cooperating with beauty parlors, mobile ads, advertise in women magazines, campus agents, highlighting cream’s preparation, helplines, knowledge sessions, point of sale display, gift sets etc. Thanks to my colleagues & friends I did a decent job in my report & presentation.
Doing a market research project under vice president of sales & marketing helped me become a skilled relationship builder, who is savvy about customer’s willingness to buy or not. I learned to keep moving. I became used to rejection which did not depress me. So, in one line, I will say Interning in sales thrills but grills. Hope you enjoyed it reading, as much as I loved doing my SIP.
FYI! You can view the latest Internships in Delhi here.
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.