About the Author: Nikhil Mote from Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, Research, and Entrepreneurship Education (SIMSREE) recounts how he got an opportunity to intern in the solar industry and how he handled distributorship in Western India.
Solar energy is the way to meet our energy requirements in a cleaner, greener, and sustainable manner. India is world’s third largest energy producer; its solar industry is in the growing stage and being a part of is totally fascinating. Panasonic Corporation is the pioneer in the solar industry having 40 years of experience and has the highest solar cell efficiency level.
As I’m an electrical engineer who worked for three years in the core industry, I was inclined to do my internship with an engineering company. Luckily, I got notified through our Placement Committee that Anchor Electricals (a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation) – Solar Division was coming for placements. I applied for it and got shortlisted for an interview. I went through all the important articles and research reports on solar industry and studied the annual reports of companies related to the solar industry. I gave my best shot and the hard work paid off; I got my dream internship.
I was given responsibility to appoint distributors in Western India (Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Goa). My previous experience and the electrical background gave me the added advantage in understanding the business in and out. In first fifteen days, I studied extensively about the product offerings, my region, and the solar policies of the states. I also designed the advertisements, with the help of in-house branding team, for the regional newspapers calling out applications for distributorship. Also, I did several meetings with the in-house legal team to design the contract agreement.
I handled all enquiries from the western region. There were days when I got calls even late in the night. Answering those calls and noting all the details was my duty. I got around 300 applications across all the states. I designed the distributorship selection model based on various criteria. Based on them, I shortlisted 50-60 applications. I travelled across 5 cities, sometimes through trains and sometimes through buses, to meet those shortlisted applicants. Moving around in an unknown city with the help of Google Maps and having your meals at a new restaurant/kiosk every day was an altogether different experience. I had prepared detailed presentations and answered all their queries about terms and conditions of the distributorship. While doing this work, I also got an opportunity to meet some consultants and to answer their queries. In these meetings, luckily, I got 2-3 project enquiries too. Understanding the concerns of prospective dealers and getting their commitment to the business was the most critical part of this process. Then, I assessed shortlisted applicants on various technical, financial, and legal parameters and gave the final recommendation to senior management.
The best part of this internship experience was that I learned to come out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I understood how the overall business is done and how to interact with different people. I worked with a brilliant, passion-driven team. The varied tasks that Anchor manages, provided an environment that was both exciting and challenging. I feel lucky that I got an opportunity to work towards changing the way energy is produced.
I believe, an internship is a great opportunity to learn something new, to get familiar with something you already know, and to find out what you are truly passionate about by exploring new paths.