About the Author: Prabhav Chandel, a student of NIT Allahabad, shares how he got an internship at a big brand and how the experience of living in a distant ‘city of dreams’ helped him evolve as an individual.
I was selected for a summer internship at Reliance Infrastructure Limited, Mumbai, after a rigorous selection process. The selection procedure involved two rounds. First, a telephonic interview was conducted in which the interested students were interviewed by the assistant HR. The questions were mostly related to our personal goals and objectives as well as how we could contribute by being a part of their organization. I was asked what weaknesses other students had due to which they should not be selected. I replied that I couldn’t tell what weaknesses they had; I could just tell what strengths I possessed and this impressed him. Then I was asked some questions related to my family and background just to check my communication skills – I did well as I had strong communication skills.
I was among the students shortlisted for the next round, a Skype interview, conducted by the HR head. I was asked about the concepts of management, mostly related to HR as the internship was in the HR department. She asked me how I would handle two workers who had a conflict with each other and would I be partial towards one of them, to which I replied that I won’t be partial to anyone as both would be equal assets for our company. Next, I was asked if a worker came to me asking for a week off, how I would make a decision. I replied that I would consider the merit of his reason for taking the leave and in case he can assure me that the work assigned to him would be completed within the specified time, then I might consider giving the leave. Then she asked me a few questions related to my family and my willingness to go to Mumbai for the internship. As I was the T&P coordinator who had brought the company to college for summer internships, the HR was really impressed. Soon, I got the confirmation that I was selected! The HR made it clear that I wouldn’t be awarded any stipend or accommodation. This was the first time I was going out of my hometown, Allahabad, to a far-off place, Mumbai; however, I didn’t let this fear be a constraint and grabbed the opportunity that was right in front of me, since to me it was clear that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I reached Mumbai after the exams got over. Initially, it was very difficult to settle down. It is rightly said that in Mumbai it is easier to find God than a place to curl up. I stayed in a hotel in the beginning which was turning to be quite expensive. For the first few days, it was quite hectic as I had to go to the office as well look for a PG after office hours. Had I not been mentally strong from the beginning, I would have run back home but it was my determination that geared me to go ahead. Once I found a good place, I started my internship with full heart and soul. My trainer was very kind and understood that Marathi was a foreign language to me as I had come from the north, and so he helped me a lot. He and eventually all those who worked in the HR department started communicating with me or around me in English, which was a big relief since in the starting days I was not able to make out what the people around me were saying in Marathi. However, by the end of the internship, Marathi language was not foreign to me anymore! I had gladly embraced it.
In the first month, I was given the responsibility of preparing the organization chart for two divisions – east and south-central divisions of Mumbai as there had been a major shuffling in these two divisions in the past months. This led me to visit various sites for physically counting the employees as well as ensuring that they were doing the jobs assigned to them properly. All these activities took an entire month. Next, I was given the work of manpower handling and to find out the reason of frequent absenteeism of workers. I did my research and prepared a report which I submitted when the internship ended. My report suggested that the major cause of absenteeism was the attitude of workers. They felt that as they had an affiliation with trade unions, they wouldn’t be removed from their jobs easily. I came to this conclusion after carrying out a structured survey of 500 workers across 5 divisions. In those two months, I learned concepts related to the procedure for disciplinary action, the process of filing a FIR against those workers who committed some crime on premises of the organization, and analysing the psychology of workers as to why they committed various kinds of misconduct. I also got an exposure to how the company makes use of SAP and the modules that were used by the HR department. I had the chance of conducting inquiries, tackling the trade unions, conducting exit interviews, and even going to labour courts for various hearings. In a nutshell, it was a great exposure in terms of the specialization that I had chosen to pursue as a career.
Apart from what I learnt during the internship, the other thing that I would suggest to everyone who goes for an internship is that one should not only confine oneself to learning things at the workplace, rather one should get the exposure and learn new things from the new cities that one goes to. I learnt a lot from the city of dreams and the people who live there. I got to know the taste and preferences of the people along with their tendency of welcoming or neglecting outsiders. I got to make new friends and mentors with whom I would be connected in the future as well. So it was never just about the internship!
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!