Karishma Seth interned at Mattel Development & Tooling, Malaysia and shares with us her exciting story of getting there. Karishma is an MBA student at Prin. L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research. Read her story in her own words.
So many toy cars…so little time!
It all started with an iota of interest in working for Hotwheels, a kiddie version of an automobiles at Mattel, Malaysia! Come let me take you through my story…
“So what is better? Unison of Labour or Division of Labour?” asked my professor for the 2nd time to the students present for the Introductory Round for interning at Mattel; “Unison of Labour” the 150 of us replied unanimously. Our professor had brilliantly showed a simple experiment with ball pens to prove that Unison of Labour is more effective than Division. This application based learning caught my interest and I worked on the challenges put up by my professor and my senior. After all the interesting tasks for a 4 month long timeline, the list was finally out. And what were the results? Any guesses? Yes, I had been selected to intern at Mattel, Malaysia along with 5 other students.
Being in a pensive mood, I looked out of the college window staring blankly outside when Meet called me. “What are you thinking? Why are you so lost?” he started bombarding me with questions. “How will I explain to my mother that I want to go to Malaysia for two and a half months along with my friends?” I murmured to myself. Meet looked at me and said “I know she will be happy to send you. Don’t make assumptions and go talk to her”. As a good little girl, I listened to my best friend and called my mother after gathering some courage. We spoke for like a lifetime on the phone with mother asking me ten thousand questions. She finally said come home and we shall talk. I felt my heartbeats getting faster and reached home quickly. She again asked almost the same questions and said “NO”. I felt as tough a rock hit me and my mother smiled at the same moment and said “Gooooo. I am proud of you!”. I rejoiced and screamed and danced and hugged her. I was ecstatic.
The day finally arrived when we had to bid Goodbye to friends and family for two-and-a-half-months. We arrived at Penang, Malaysia. We were warmly welcomed by Mattel, who provided us with more than everything we needed. The 6 of us stayed in a beautiful flat, with an even beautiful balcony and an amazing view. I instantly made the balcony “My Corner” as I always have at my home. This was my new home.
I was very excited to see a manufacturing plant in full operation and learn everything about it. There were two Mattel plants, MMSB (Mattel Malaysia Sdn. Bhd & MDT (Mattel Development & Tooling). The first day was exhilarating as we were taken to see the MMSB plant after being equipped with our safety equipment. “Safety is no.1“ is their motto and they adhere to it religiously. I was in awe looking at the huge machines and the number of cars they produced each day. The 6 of us tried to learn about all the process on that day asking questions like a professor taking a viva. “We shall continue tomorrow, today is only the first day” Sir chuckled and keeping few things as a surprise for us.
The next day started with process orientation. We worked along with the operators having a first-hand experience at each process and learning something new each time. I had the feeling of making a car for a child who would play with it and which would make him happy. It was truly a great feeling. After a week we were given our respective projects. All my friends were places in different departments at MMSB while I was placed with MDT. MDT made molds for Hotwheels cars. I was happy to learn something new but felt a little sad to be in a separate plant alone. What did it have in store for me?
We all visited the MDT plant the following week to also know its processes. I was the most excited as I was to spend my summer intern-ship here. All the people were more than happy to help and answer our inquisitive minds. It was a relatively smaller plant but technologically more advanced and systematic. My mentor also guided us through the plant.
I was given a project on Quality Assurance. It was my job to see that no defect flows from one process to another. I started with learning each process in depth at the plant practically and going home and theoretically finding more about it. This went on for more than a week. My mentor was very patient and let me learn each process in detail. Once I got a hang of it, he answered all the questions I had and also provided past data to improvise on it.
While I was working on the project, I made a lot of friends at MDT. Each one had a story to tell about Malaysia, a tale to hear from India and take me out to different places for lunch. Being a foodie that I am, I tried all kinds of cuisines; from Malaysian to Thai to Chinese (Not the one we get in India!). We also visited many places in Penang on the weekends, like the Heritage walk or the Beanie theatre. We learned about their culture after visiting the museum and saw their night life at a pub. They were different yet so similar.
“How can I solve this problem, Sir? I have found the root cause but am still pondering on the implementation,” I asked my mentor and guide. He said, “Let us go to the Gemba (which means actual workplace) and find out”. So we headed to the production floor. Because of the wobbling of the tool, defects were being produced at one of the processes. He checked the tool length and almost instantly told the machinist to change the tool length. The problem was solved! I was amazed at the speed with which Sir solved it. I wanted to learn more from him. I stared visiting the production floor more often and getting to the root cause and eliminating the defects and decreasing the flow of defects. Every day was a new challenge and a new learning experience. We did Kaizen (continuous improvement) workshops and get whooping results to increase our productivity.
As much as I was enjoying my work, I also explored Malaysia. We went to islands, did para sailing, under water diving and feeding the eagles. We also travelled to hills, had different fruits and saw different animals while the temperatures got below 20 degrees. Our friends also took us for long drives and short snack halts.
The project was going good when I took up 3 mini projects along with my project and completed them successfully. Days passed by too quickly. It was our final week at Malaysia. The 6 of us were preparing for our final presentations. While packing our bags, to last minute shopping to meeting all out friends and colleagues, the last week proved to be the most happening week. Amidst all the chaos, we gave our presentations to the management. Girls were in Indian wear, saris and the boys suited up. They were happy with our work. I was content at knowing this.
We were happy to go back home, but sad to leave this beautiful country, from where we learnt so much. Most of our friends came to bid adieu to all of us. It was a nostalgic moment; all the good memories came flashing to me. I had truly considered it my home.
“Sister!!!! We are here,” my brother screamed on top of his voice while he saw me coming out of the airport. All my family members had come to pick me. It was a huge surprise for me. After sitting in the car, they wanted to know all my stories & I started with; “So what is better? Unison of Labour or Division of Labour?…”
If Karishma’s experience motivates you, you can view the latest international internship.
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