About the Author: Anirudha Satapathy from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, talks about his internship at BPCL and his learnings about the rub-off effect.
I was in the dining hall when a friend revealed the news of my selection in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. I thought he was joking since I had already been rejected by 18 companies. When he showed me the email citing my selection, I was shocked. The chicken breast piece I was eating dropped into my biryani and my friend captured the moment naming it ‘The biryani internship’.
It had begun 8 weeks ago when companies started visiting our college and for some reason or the other, I couldn’t bag an internship. I had built high hopes when BPCL came for intern recruitment. The first round of shortlisting was done on the basis of students’ resumes. Being an engineer with good academics, as per their preferences, I got shortlisted. Next up was a telephonic interview. The HR had called the college landline and each shortlist was assigned a time slot. My interview began with casual greetings and my introduction. I told the interviewer that I had an experience of working at TCS for two years. He asked me about my job there; I told him that I was a file transfer developer for Ameriprise Financial, a TCS client, at an offshore location. I worked closely with applications and vendor teams in India, China, UK, and USA to gather their requirements and design solutions accordingly. He asked me if I was up for a difficult job and if I had any location constraints, and I replied in affirmative and negative respectively. Finally, he gave me two minutes to recite a story. I told him about a girl whom I had met while I was volunteering in a school as a part of my CSR activity. She wanted to be a doctor and continued school even after her father died. Her dedication and spirit had inspired me to work harder to achieve my goals.
After congratulatory messages, I planned a trip with my friends to celebrate during which I got to know that I was placed in Mumbai. I was thrilled as I had always wanted to click a picture in front of Mannat (Shahrukh Khan’s bungalow); however, I received a call regarding the change of my job location to Ranchi. I was disappointed, but I packed my bags to start my journey. My family helped me rent a room in Ranchi, book tickets, buy all necessities. My first night in Ranchi was not what I had expected, but I was ready to embrace the challenges. On the first day of office, I met my mentor and the marketing head and verified my joining letter. My mentor explained my job responsibilities and the project I was to work on. My project was To Study the Rub-Effect of Allied Retail Business on Fuel Sales and vice versa. This phenomenon was observed in the US where people visiting gas stations shopped from there. This could enhance the overall sales of the gas stations. The idea was that people visiting gas stations shop at the departmental store and people shopping at the departmental store might get a gas-fill. This idea is known as ‘Shopping momentum effect’ or ‘Rub-off effect’.
During my project, I studied two filling stations by analysing the underlying reason for the ineffective functioning of this model in Ranchi. To study this further, I visited Bhubaneshwar, where the model was successful. I short, I had to increase the sales of departmental stores in Ranchi and display how rub-off effect could help in getting additional revenues. To get started, I visited the field, a fuel station, where I was treated warmly. I did a market research by taking surveys from customers visiting the departmental store and the fuel station.I did a demographic analysis of the locality, did a traffic count study in the fuel station, sketched the entire store, and prepared a retail planogram. Doing customer surveys was particularly difficult.
The city offered a lot of adversities. For instance, I approached a car for my survey and the guy sitting inside showed me a revolver. I ran unabashedly. Another incident happened with me while I was returning home. A person with a revolver was chasing some students. Apart from this, I witnessed a lot of hit and run cases.
My trip to Bhubaneshwar was memorable as I got to spend some quality time with my family who lived nearby in Cuttack. The staff of the filling station helped with my study. After a week, I left for Ranchi. The best thing a public sector offers you is the special treatment and delicious food. My coworkers were cooperative and helpful; I built professional networks and developed my interpersonal skills. The only problem I faced there was being transferred to different locations since I had three mentors. I had to structure my projects respecting the expectations of all three but it gave me an amazing opportunity to learn and make an appreciable report. On my last day, a coworker told me that it was the beginning of my new life. It was a privilege to intern with one of the largest oil and gas companies of the nations. The experience, learnings, and memories are worth cherishing for a lifetime.
Do you also want to intern with big brands? Check out these marketing internships and experience the realm of corporates.
Editor’s note – If you also have an interesting story to share, you can now participate in Your Internship Story Contest 2017 and win cash prizes and goodies worth INR 1 Lac!