28 Jul 2017 20:02 IST

Ending a project on a high note

Working with musicians in Nagaland to market a traditional instrument was an enriching experience

It all began with a mail from the placement team of Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) stating that the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) was interested in recruiting interns. I had never heard of NIF until I received that e-mail.

The interview process was just a phone call from one Tushar Garg (a senior executive at NIF); it wasn’t much of an interview, rather a discussion with him. I was happy when, a few days later, I heard that I was selected to be a part of a business development team of 42 interns, shortlisted from 720 candidates across business schools in India.

NIF – India, was founded in March 2000 based on the Honey Bee Network (HBN) philosophy with the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology. The main purpose of creating NIF was to work intensively to improve grassroots innovations and innovators by diffusing them widely through commercial and/or non-commercial channels, generating material or non-material incentives for them and others involved in the value chain. The Land of Innovation would be a perfect title for NIF since one can discover innovations in a wide variety of areas such as farming, medicine and even music. The organisation strives to make India a rank-holder in the Global Innovation Index.

Set in the North-East

The best parts of my internship were the project and the location, not to forget the amazing people I met. My project, based in Nagaland, was on the business development process of the bamhum, a musical instrument invented by musician Moa Subong that can be played just by humming.

For an individual who has never participated in musical activities, except for listening to songs, all of this was new to me. But when it came to the project, I was exposed to the real market, which included company incorporation, doing market research, understanding the feasibility analysis of the bamhum, gathering requirements for setting up a factory, coming up with marketing and advertisement strategies, finding potential markets and dealing with financials. I stayed in Nagaland for 45 days and worked along with Moa, who is the co-founder of a band called Abiogenesis with his wife Arnela Subong, for the project. How often does one get to intern with musicians!

Another reason I was posted in Nagaland was because I don’t know Hindi — Nagaland’s official language is English! The project was not confined to Nagaland. I travelled to Shillong in Meghalaya and Diphu in Assam, two cities I never dreamt of visiting, to research how customers really felt about the bamhum. Experiencing music with the locals was a delight; I was amazed by the talent I saw.

Everlasting memories

The internship itself was an amazing experience and it had a few surprises for me. The people in Nagaland ate only twice a day. Lunch was served at 8 am and dinner at 5 pm. As a foodie, these revelations dumbfounded me. A majority of the eateries closed by 6 pm but this did not colour my experience of the State. Every time I stepped out I was treated like a prince. Nagaland is usually referred to as the ‘Land of festivals’ but for me it was more a ‘Land of good food and good people’!

I was lucky enough to get a chance to explore Delhi and Ahmedabad as well as part of my project. I have made a good set of friends at every city I visited, and everlasting memories. Above all, I was exposed to a wide variety of food and exquisite delicacies that I absolutely enjoyed. My internship with NIF has been one of the best experiences in my life; I was exposed to the practical understanding of business and, more importantly, the struggles and challenges involved in starting a new business.

(The writer is a student at Loyola Institute of Business Administration.)

Recommended for you