Anurag Patnaik (second from right) interned at very famous Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd this summer, and shares with us the interesting experience of his internship days. Anurag is an MBA student at Xavier Institute of Management. Read his story in his own words.
The SHIP of an INTERN which sailed pretty well…
The First Step – The Summer Internship week was on, nails were almost non-existent on everyone’s fingers. Rejections, failures and a few smiling faces were the order of each day during that week, fortunately or unfortunately the anxiety and tension had not enticed me by then. It was 9:25 in the morning, I was fast asleep, I woke up to thumping noises on my door and with droopy eyes, I opened the door to find out that I was shortlisted for ‘Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd’ which for obvious reasons pulled me right out of my slumber. I didn’t have much time in hand so I got dressed in a jiffy and left for the process. The regular rounds followed the GD, PI and finally, the selection was over. I made it through, although it took me a lot of time to digest the fact that I was placed in one of the best companies on campus but I did realise that something good had happened to me, thanks to the constant references, playful mentions and jokes cracked on me by my classmates using the word ‘Coke’ (short for Coca-Cola and not the drug).
The Real Deal – After basking in the glory of ‘getting placed in a good company’ for around 7-8 months it was time to buckle up and make use of that opportunity. It all started with a mail that was sent from HCCBPL which made me realize that ‘The Winter is coming’ (could not resist the GoT reference) or to put it more subtly ‘IT IS TIME’. The mail was all about the internship details – project topic, schedule and accommodation details. 7th April was the start date of the ‘Golden Threshold Programme’, a name given by HCCBPL to its 2-month internship programme. So I packed all the anxiety, excitement, nervousness and a few clothes in my bag and left for Gurgaon to embark upon that hyped or not so hyped (it was yet to be decided) journey called Summer Internship.
I reached Gurgaon on 6th of April, I was made to settle in a pretty comfortable guest house which was supposed to be my home for the next 2 months and yes I had a roommate too. All the other interns arrived one by one on the same day, the guest house started to seem like a hostel with the fellow interns staying just a couple of steps away. The beginning of this journey had hit the right note, we knew we are in for an exciting joyride.
7th of April, the first day of our internship had finally arrived. It was a customary exercise of getting to know each other, interact with the Senior Executives of the company and also cut a delicious cake which was in the shape of a crown of the Coke bottle. We were briefed about the structure and agenda of our internship, the expectations were spelled out pretty clearly so that slackness could remain out of the scene. Including the 1st day, a total of 3 days were dedicated towards our induction which also enabled us to go for market and factory visits. We had come up with a new motto of ‘Party hard, work harder’ knowing what was in store for us which means we partied almost every day during the first week till it was time for us to get into the real assignment which was the ultimate objective of this internship. My Project was based on HR analytics where I had to get in touch with several HR heads of different organisations, get an idea on what’s prevalent in their organisation in the space of HR analytics and then come up with recommendations after a gap analysis (based on what’s prevalent in HCCB).
Back in Imperial, the atmosphere had turned homely now not because of the friendship we interns had developed also because of the amazing rapport that we had developed with the caretakers of the guest house like the reception guy, ‘Sudarshan Jee’, the cooks in the kitchen, Amit and Pramod and the room service guys Narender and Jeet. In the name of the company, we had friends (fellow interns), guides (our supervisors in the organisation), caretakers of the guest house (mentioned a couple of lines earlier) and last but not the least the IPL 2014. IPL used to be our stress buster for the day, after a long day’s work that’s how we used to unwind, needless to say, there used to be one room where you could find all of us including the caretakers watching the match, it was Room no 101 on the ground floor. The room witnessed useless bets, unnecessary advice to the players which didn’t even reach them (thankfully so) and expert analysis (self-proclaimed) of the match almost every day. Not only the matches, every decision like where to go for dinner or where to go to party was made there, it was a conference room too. Talking about the office premises, we used to sit in 2 places, half of the people in the recreational room and the other half in a common arena inside the office ODC. We used to reach office at 9 a.m. every day and work very sincerely because we had weekly deadlines to meet. The first break of the day for us used to be the soup break, which was at 12:30 noon every day, shortly followed by the lunch break. We loved the food in the office, every day 10-15 minutes would be dedicated to a discussion over the quality of food and whether the previous day’s lunch was better or worse than today’s.
By the end of 3rd week, everyone’s project had caught pace. Discussions changed lanes from topics of movies, parties and cricket to topics like guides being unhelpful, objectives being impossible, numerous hindrances towards the objectives of the projects and so on. Things were getting serious but not as serious which would stop us from making jokes on the weirdly dressed employee in the office or the Nepali accent of the Room service guy. Long walks in the night, searching for ice cream stalls at midnight, sitting in a partially lighted park and cracking jokes were some things which became inevitable for us, more because of the pressure we had to deal with every day in the office and after that too. Work was not just limited to the office hours or even to the weekdays anymore, we literally had to work 24×7 to finish our project.
My internship story cannot be complete without the mention of my girlfriend who also had Gurgaon as her internship location, needless to say, there were meetings, outings and long discussions about what was going on in our respective projects. Her inputs, both in the project as well as in the general dos and don’ts helped me a lot to maintain a sense of sanity and keep working towards the objectives of the project. The internship was coming to an end, things were getting tense, difficult and sometimes irritating. Normalcy was a pleasant sight, if at all.
The D Day – It was the day of final presentation, people were back to their Business Formals, smartly dressed to kill (at least THEY thought so). Slots were decided and so were the panels. A lot depended on this final nail in the coffin. The presentations could precisely be described as a lot of PPTs, the panel and the sweaty us. My slot was in the earlier half, besides the obvious presence of nervousness there was a bit of confidence too, probably because of the hard work that I had put in in the last 2 months or maybe because one of the panellists met me outside the conference room (the real one) just before I was about to go in, smiled at me and said ‘You’re looking smart Anurag’ in an encouraging tone. The presentation was smooth, I could put forth all the points that I wished to and I could portray my work, pretty much to my satisfaction. It felt as if it was a good end to something that was nothing short of an enriching and exhilarating experience.
The Takeaways – A strong bond with the fellow interns within a short span of 2 months, a better and a slightly more mature relationship with my girlfriend, a touch of human connect with the caretakers with whom we sat for a couple of drinks (coke for me) on the last night of our internship, enhanced addiction to Ice Creams, an unchanged opinion about the city of Gurgaon (special thanks to the auto drivers), a Whatsapp and an FB group of the interns (medium to stay connected) and most importantly a hugely increased domain knowledge on HR analytics.
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